SAN LUIS OBISPO — UC Davis sophomore Celia Marfone grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds on Thursday at Cal Poly, but it was her six straight points down the stretch that were the key as the Aggies upset the Mustangs, 77-69, at Mott Athletic Center.
With three regular-season games left, UCD (12-14, 7-6 Big West Conference) moved to into a three-way tie for fourth place in the league standings by knocking off a Cal Poly squad (15-12, 9-5) that entered the day tied for first. The win also snapped the Aggies’ five-game losing streak in San Luis Obispo.
For UCD, junior Sydnee Fipps led the way with 23 points, sophomore Alyson Doherty added 22 points and 10 rebounds and Marfone scored 12 points to go with her huge night on the boards.
But despite the big performances, the Aggies needed to make clutch plays down the stretch — and they did.
After Mustang Beth Balbierz nailed two straight 3-pointers to put UCD down by five, Fipps and Kelsey Harris matched the long-distance success to put the locals back up by one. Balbierz, however, came right back to drain a trey and give Cal Poly a 67-65 advantage with 3:09 remaining.
That would be the last time the Mustangs would hold the lead, as the game’s next points came on Marfone’s clutch 3-pointer with 1:24 left. She added an old-fashioned three-point play on the Aggies’ next possession, and UCD made six straight at the line to seal the victory.
When it was over, the locals had finished the game on an 18-5 run, using a big-time defense that held Cal Poly to just 1-of-6 shooting down the stretch.
The double-double was Marfone’s second of the season, while Doherty logged her third such outing and her fourth 20-point performance of the campaign, hitting 8-of-14 from the field including only her second 3-pointer of the year. Coincidentally, her other trey also came at Mott Athletics Center in a November tournament game against San Francisco.
Fipps finished 6-of-13 from the floor and was 8-for-8 at the line, pouring in 20 or more points for the sixth time in the past seven games to move past Colleen Turnbull (1999-2003) for 10th on UCD’s all-time scoring list. Fipps needs just four more points to pass a pair of former Aggies — including head coach Jennifer Gross — for eighth on the list.
For Cal Poly, Ariana Elegado scored a team-high 22 points — including six 3-pointers — to pace three players in double figures. However, she was held to just five second-half points by the stifling UCD defense.
Notes: The Aggies are at The Thunderdome at 2 p.m. Saturday to take on UC Santa Barbara (8-19, 3-10). The Gauchos fell at home to UC Irvine, 77-71, on Thursday. … In other Big West scores Thursday, Cal State Northridge beat visiting Cal State Fullerton, 79-59, and is now alone in first place at 10-4. Hawaii held off Long Beach State, 82-71, in Honolulu.