UCI can't stop run

IRVINE — In a conference in which one-upmanship regularly jostles the standings, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo did itself one better to earn a series split with UC Irvine on Thursday at the Bren Events Center.

The Mustangs followed an 11-2 run to end the first half with a 13-0 surge to begin the second. By the time the Anteaters ended a scoring drought of 7:15 with 15:21 left in the game, Cal Poly had a 46-32 advantage that never dipped below 10 the rest of the way.

The result was a 76-63 Big West Conference women's basketball triumph that further complicated the conference tournament seeding scenario for UCI (11-15, 7-6), which has just three regular-season conference games remaining.

Cal Poly (12-12, 8-3), meanwhile, remained one-half game behind conference-leading Cal State Northridge and gained further separation from the Nos. 3-7 teams in the standings.

UCI, which posted a 62-60 win at Cal Poly on Jan. 14, remains in fifth place, one-half game behind UC Davis and Pacific. Davis and Pacific lost on Thursday and are both 7-5, tied for third.

Long Beach State, which defeated UC Davis, pulled closer to UCI at 6-6 in conference, while UC Santa Barbara, a winner over UC Riverside on Thursday, improved to 5-6 in conference play.

UCI plays host to UCSB on Saturday, hoping to halt a two-game losing streak. The Anteaters, who have lost three of their last four Big West contests, then close out the regular season with road dates at last-place Cal State Fullerton (Feb. 25) and eighth-place UC Riverside (March 1).

With three wins, UCI could possibly earn a top-four tournament seeding, which would mean a first-round home game. But anything out of the top four would create a first-round road date.

Cal Poly shot 50% from the field and 75% from three-point range (six for eight) after halftime to pull away Thursday. Senior Kristina Santiago, who came in ranked sixth in the NCAA in scoring at 22.9 points per game, had eight of her team's first 10 points on her way to 22. She was 10 for 20 from the field, while adding a team-best seven rebounds, as well as four assists and four steals.

Santiago, the conference player of the year in 2010 who sat out last season with an injury, is now 68 points away from becoming the program's all-time leading scorer.

But she had plenty of help, including 17 points, seven assists and four steals from sophomore point guard Jonae Ervin.

Junior Anete Klintsone led four UCI scorers in double figures with 13, but she was four of 13 from the field.

Senior Kassandra McCalister was four of 15 from the field and had eight turnovers while finishing with 11 points.

Cheyenne Cathey was five for six from the field to post 11 points for UCI. UCI's Jacquelyn Marshall had 10 points.


Twitter: @BarryFaulkner5


Big West Conference

Cal Poly SLO 76, UC Irvine 63

CPSLO – Santiago 22, Ervin 17, Burns 12, Griffin 6, Reeves 2, Woodward 9, Martin 5, Elegado 3.

3-pt. goals – Burns 4, Ervin 1, Elegado 1, Martin 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

UCI – Marshall 10, Onomoguho 4, Klintsone 13, McCallister 11, Belen 7, Cathey 11, Hanson 4, Meggs 3.

3-pt. goals – Klintsone 3, Cathey 1, Meggs 1 .

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

Halftime – 33-30, CPSLO.

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