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Sisterly bond leads Mustangs' charge

The UCSB Gauchos traveled just a couple hours north to their rival school, Cal Poly, only to go back home empty handed. This game truly was a battle for these rivalry teams, but the Mustangs ultimately secured the win over the Gauchos, 66-60.

Photo by Matt Aguirre

San Luis Obispo, CA -- The energy was flowing through Mott Gym as the two teams of the legendary Blue- Green Rivalry matched up. This was the Mustangs' last home game of the season, but for the graduating seniors, this was their last home game ever, which put extra determination on the court.

"It was awesome, it kind of scared me for a minute in the fourth quarter, but I'm glad that we were able to pull it out. It was a good way to end our careers here," said graduating senior, Beth Balbierz.

The Mustangs were hot out of the gate and held onto the lead for most of the first half. Dynn Leaupepe kicked it off for Cal Poly with the first shot of the game, but UCSB's Makala Roper came in with a three-pointer that got them ahead, but not for long. Cal Poly's Balbierz came back and did what she does best; hit a three that put the Mustangs back in front.

The second quarter is where things really started to pick up. UCSB's Chaya Durr made the first shot, but Cal Poly really stepped it up from there. Hannah Gilbert hit back-to-back shots, followed by success from Lisa Marie Sanchez and Dynn Leaupepe.

Dynn Leaupepe made two three-pointers back-to-back, followed by an assist on a third consecutive three-pointer right at the buzzer to her sister Lynn, going into halftime, 37-24. What a connection to have, one twin gets the rebounds, passes to her sister, who gathers momentum for the team going into half by draining the three.

It was clear that tensions built up in the second half of the game base on both teams performance -- defenses were stronger, and both offenses fought harder. As the saying goes, good defense, better offense.

Balbierz made an impressive shot that spun backward off her hands and straight into the bucket.

Dynn Leaupepe continued to have success at the net along with sister, Lynn Leaupepe. Dynn posted 20 points, four steals, six rebounds and two assist. Twin sister Lynn also filled the stat sheet with 13 points, four steals, five rebounds, two assist, plus one block.

The Gauchos were fighting hard to grasp a comeback with extraordinary shots from Jasmine Ware, Makala Roper and Chaya Durr.

Just when the Gauchos were beginning to catch up, Balbierz hit a three with 36 seconds left in the game that brought the Mustangs a little more time.

The Mustangs sealed the deal with a couple free throws, and Cal Poly secured their win against Santa Barbara, 66-60.