Jan. 5, 2012
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FULLERTON, CA - Cal Poly's Kristina Santiago finished with game high's of 29 points and 14 rebounds while teammate Kayla Griffin also finished with a double-double Thursday night as the Mustangs used a pair of second-half runs to pull away from host Cal State Fullerton for a 76-69 victory at Titan Gym.
The loss evened the Titans' record at 7-7 overall, but dropped them to 1-2 in Big West Conference play. Cal Poly, which has now won four-straight in the series dating to last season, won its second-straight contest to open conference play, improving 5-9 overall and remaining unbeaten in the league at 2-0.
Redshirt sophomore Mya Olivier finished with a team-high 14 points - 10 of those coming in the second half - to go with five rebounds and three blocks while leading three teammates in double figures. Freshman Kathleen Iwuoha added 11 points and a career-high nine rebounds while Tailer Butler (11 points) and senior Megan Richardson (10) were also in double figures.
Fullerton battled back from a four-point halftime deficit to tie the game on an Alicya Crisp three-pointer with 16:25 remaining in the second half, but a 10-1 burst by the Mustangs gave them their largest lead since an 11-point advantage late in the first period. The Titans kept Cal Poly within striking distance, but could not find the go-ahead basket, using an 11-4 run, capped by a three-point play by Lauren Bushong to cut the deficit to just two points with 9:49 to play.
Four quick points by the Mustangs forced a Fullerton timeout, but the Titans never let Cal Poly stray too far, trading baskets before Richardson tied the game at 66-66 to cap a 6-0 spurt with 4:13 to go.
That's when the Mustangs buckled down as Santiago scored four-straight points to kick-start a 10-3 run over the final four minutes - including the final six points of the game -- as the Titans were held to just three free throws by Lauren Chow and finished 0-for-7 from the floor in that span despite trailing by only a single point at 70-69 with 1:57 to play.
Griffin finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for Cal Poly, hitting 6-of-10 from the field, while Jonae Ervin added 10 points in the win. The Mustangs shot just under 48 percent from the field for the game, including a 54 percent clip in the second half to hold off the charging Titans, who hit just 35 percent for the game, but just 28 percent in the second half.
Cal Poly also held a slim 40-39 advantage on the boards behind the inside play of Santiago and Griffin, but could not keep the Titans off the offensive glass, leading the Mustangs, 20-12, in that category.
Cal State Fullerton will try and even up its Big West record with a Saturday matinee (Jan. 7) against UC Santa Barbara at 3 p.m.