Mar 15, 2013 1:32 AM by Andrew Masuda
The Blue-Green Rivalry takes center court at the Big West Conference Tournament in Anaheim on Friday afternoon.
The 2nd seeded Cal Poly women face 4th seeded UCSB in the semifinals around 2:30 pm on Friday in the Honda Center in Anaheim.
"We have to have that mentality that if we get pushed around we're going to be the losers. We have to be able to hold our ground and get that first punch in if we can," said Cal Poly head coach Faith Mimnaugh.
It marks the third time, and the first since 2009, the two rivals are meeting in the postseason. The previous two times, UCSB beat Cal Poly in Big West championship games to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The women have been in the title game three times, but fallen short each time. Last season as the number one seed, the Mustangs lost to Long Beach State in the semifinals.
Cal Poly, which went 19-10 in the regular season and 13-5 in Big West play, seeks its first-ever Big West Tournament title. UCSB is looking to repeat last year's magic when the Gauchos became the first 6th seed to win the Conference Tournament and the Big West's automatic bert to the NCAA Tournament. It marked the 14th time the Gauchos captured the conference tournament crown.
UCSB held Cal State Northridge to 24 percent shooting in a 45-31 victory in Wednesday's quarterfinals. Sweets Underwood led the Gauchos with 16 points and Nicole Nesbit added 12 points.
The Mustangs swept the regular season series with UCSB for the second year in a row. Cal Poly pounded UCSB 66-47 in Mott Gym back in January behind 22 points from Big West Player of the Year Molly Schlemer. She added 18 points and 13 rebounds in a 65-56 win in the Thunderdome in February. Underwood recorded a double-double for UCSB in the second matchup with 15 points and 12 boards.
"We just have to go in there knowing that if we play our game nobody can stop us. So that will really help us out if we keep that mindset," said Schlemer.
The Mustangs and Gauchos play around 2:30 pm on Friday in the semifinals at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
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