The two teams played up-tempo basketball in the first half with Cal Poly shooting a sizzling 62% from the floor including 2 of 4 3-pointers. The Vandals were likewise hot from the floor shooting 54% and 55% on 3 pointers. Idaho scored the first 5 points of the game, but the rest of the first half was a battle. The game was tied twice and there were 3 lead changes before the Vandals, leading 26-25 with 7:52 remaining, went on a tear outscoring Cal Poly 10-1 in the next 2:13 to build their lead to 37-26.
The Mustangs, though, continued their high-speed attack and whittled the lead down to 3 points at the half, 42-39, and scored the first 5 points of the second half to take a 44-42 lead. The game was tied on 6 occasions and remained tight until the Vandals finally gained control of the tempo and then went on another run stretching a 71-67 lead into 9-point advantage in a little over 2-1/2 minutes.
The clincher came with the Vandals running time off the clock. Mitchell ran the shot clock down and fired a 3-pointer that didn't draw iron with 47 second left. With about 1 second remaining on the shot clock, Summers grabbed the offensive rebound and sank a jump shot to make it 77-68 Vandals with 42 seconds remaining.
Divilbiss, commenting on the Vandals' holding the Mustangs to 32% shooting from the floor (0-6 from 3-point range), said, "I just thought the girls did a great job executing and staying within the framework of what we do. I thought that we did a really good job of getting control of the tempo of the game. It took us a long time, but in that second half I thought we got control of the tempo of the game with our motion that we were running and set really good screens.
"Heather set a great screen one time and Karly got a basket off of it, but making them defend for stretches of time I thought really helped slow their break down, and then we went back to secondary break and got some really good flow things," he said. "Emily made some great reads. There was a really good flow to things once we got control of the tempo of the game. (Cal Poly) did a great job, I thought, in the first half of pushing the tempo and making us play us play a little bit at their pace. It's like we've talked about: One of things that we feel is really important is that we can play the game in the 50s or we can play it in the 80s. As long as we make people play against five set defenders, we don't care what the score is or what the pace of the game is so to speak or how many possessions there are in a game because we feel like we're balanced enough as a basketball team to be able to play either way. " Thoelke added, "I think we switched up on them a lot. We changed defenses and that threw them off. I think we did a good job of packing it in and slowing down their tempo which helped out."
Summers played a tremendous second half for the Vandals coming up with 9 rebounds and 13 points in the final half. Asked about halftime adjustments, the freshman from Blaine, Washington said, "Well, I just got told that I needed to pick it up, and I knew I did anyway because I get frustrated when I do not do what I'm supposed to do; so just to be good to our team and help out as much as I could I just stepped it up."
Faurholt elaborated. "Jessica did exactly what we asked her to do. We went in at halftime and said, 'Hey Jessica. We really need you to do these things,' and she just went out there and did exactly what we asked. When Jessica gets her hands on the ball there aren't many people who can take it from her. I think (Cal Poly's Jessica) Eggleston is probably one of the best rebounders that I've ever played against and Jessica took it from her a couple times. That presence is so awesome to have, and it's just really nice to have when you play with somebody who can grab that rebound. That's big. That's big for our team, because rebounding is definitely not our biggest strength."
Explaining the key play, Summers said, "She (Leilani) shot it and nobody boxed me out; so I just ran, and when she (missed) it nobody was beside me; so I shot it and it went in...it's just one of those plays...I think...it kept us going, kept up excited and in the game. I don't really think about plays before I do them, like 'Oh, I hope this goes in.' I just go with it."
Summers is averaging 5 points and 7 rebounds on the season, and in conference play she's averaging 5 points and 8 rebounds as she continues to gains experience playing in the Vandal system against Division I talent. "It took me a while in the beginning to remember plays, to remember to box out, or just play hard," she said, "but now that I'm starting to get the plays down and know how people want me to play it's a lot easier for me to just go out there and just play basketball."
Divilbiss, besides being pleased with the scoring balance, felt everyone seeing action contributed to the victory. "They made their contributions," he said. "Everybody contributed their gifts that they bring to the team. Karly did well defensively and made a good basket off the shuffle cut for us on an inside play. She's good at doing that. Sax hit a 3 for us. Those kids contributed too even though they didn't score. Karly is kind of becoming the defender for us on the perimeter, and then the other four - when they have this kind of balance and this kind of scoring we're very, very difficult to defend. You can't leave anybody open any more. Emily gets lots of 1-on-1 situations and …you can't guard her with one defender. I haven't seen anybody guard her with one defender successfully."
The Vandals, now 14-6 and 9-2, ended a four-game home stand and will travel to face UOP Thursday in Stockton and travel to Cal State Northridge Saturday. The Vandals had played 7 of 9 games on the road before the two weeks at home. "It came at a perfect time allowing them to recuperate from the extensive travel. Now I'm ready to go on the road again," said Thoelke, the only Vandal senior. "We got home after our last trip and we were just exhausted, but having these two weeks I think helped us a ton."
In other BWC action Saturday UC Santa Barbara, down 38-34 at the half, rebounded to defeat Utah State 67-59 in Logan to go to 9-2. The Aggies dropped to 6-5. Long Beach remained one game back in the standings at 8-3 beating Pacific (2-9) 74-48. Northridge improved to 7-4 with a 68-58 win over UC Irvine (2-9) and UC Riverside defeated UC Davis 64-57 in nonconference action. Cal Poly is now 3-8.