Molly Schlemer and Ariana Elegado kept the Cal Poly women’s basketball team on pace for one of the top two spots in the Big West Conference, and the Mustangs blew out Cal State Fullerton in the second half en route to a 72-47 win Saturday.
Schlemer registered game highs with 16 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 7 for 11 from the field, and Elegado dished out six assists and scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers, for the Mustangs (18-9, 12-4 Big West), who remain one-half game behind Pacific for first place and one-half game ahead of Hawaii for second.
The top two seeds in the women’s draw in this month’s Big West Tournament get automatic byes to the semifinal round.
Cal Poly led by just one at the half, 33-32 on a buzzer-beating steal and layup by Jonae Ervin, before stringing together a 13-0 run to take a double-digit lead early in the second half.
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Elegado started the run with back-to-back 3s, Schlemer scored a layup, Ervin converted another steal into a score and Kayla Griffin followed another Ervin steal with a spot-up 3.
Ervin came off the bench to score eight points with three steals and three assists in 25 minutes. Griffin finished with nine points, seven rebounds and five assists, and in only her second start of the season, Nwamaka Ofodu provided a lift with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting in 16 minutes.
The Mustangs truly pressed their lead over the eighth-place Titans (9-19, 5-11 Big West) when Cal State Fullerton slogged through a six-minute scoreless streak that allowed Cal Poly to go up by 28 in the final minute.
Chante Miles led the Titans with 14 points, and teammate Alex Thomas scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers. Cal State Fullerton shot just 3 for 15 from 3-point range, and during the second-half drought, the Titans missed five straight shots and turned the ball over three times.
Cal Poly has won four straight and seven of eight with just two regular-season games remaining.
The Mustangs will host UC Irvine on Thursday at 4:40 p.m. and Long Beach State on Saturday at 4 p.m. before the start of the following week’s Big West Tournament.