The Mustangs travel to No. 2 Stanford in Fresno State this week | Tech US News



SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Beginning its toughest stretch of the season, playing two of the nation’s top-ranked teams in its next three games, Cal Poly hits the road this week for a pair of games.

The Mustangs (1-1) head north to face No. 2 Stanford on Wednesday to tip off an 8 p.m. The game will be streamed live on

They then head east to face Fresno State on Friday at 6 p.m. That game will be broadcast on the Mountain West Network.

Links to watch both games and follow live stats can be found on the schedule page.

Last week, Cal Poly opened the season with a road loss to UCLA. The Mustangs then picked up their first win of the season a few days later against Simpson in the opener.

Through the first two games, senior forward Julia Nielacna leads the Mustangs in scoring with 12.5 points per game. Sophomore guard Annika Shah leads the team in assists with 4.5 per game and junior forward Natalia Ackerman paces the team in rebounds with 6.5 per game.

For the first time in 25 years, the Mustangs will have a new head coach at the helm as Shanele Stires enters her first year as head coach. She was hired in April following the retirement of Faith Mimnaugh, the winningest coach in Cal Poly women’s basketball history, after 25 seasons with the program.

The team’s top three scorers return from last year and eight total winners. In addition, the new coaching staff brought in seven new players. These consist of four true freshmen and three Division I signings.

After Friday’s game, the schedule doesn’t get any easier as the Mustangs host No. 1 South Carolina at the Mott Athletics Center on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 5 p.m.

Scouting Stanford: The Cardinal is 4-0 so far this season. The 2021 national champions return 10 players from last year’s team, including All-Americans Haley Jones and Cameron Brink. The last time the Mustangs played Stanford was on November 24, 2020 and the Cardinal won 108-40.

Fresno State Scouting: The Bulldogs enter the week 1-1 so far this season with a win over Fresno Pacific and a loss to CSU Bakersfield. Last year, Fresno State went 11-18, losing in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament. Their three best scorers from last season are gone and this year’s team has nine lower category players on the list.

Returning Mustangs: Despite losing two starters from last year, Cal Poly returns a lot from last year’s team. The team’s top three scorers are back this year.

Senior guard Maddie Vick led the team in scoring, assists and minutes last season.

Senior guard Maddie Willett returns after being second on the team in scoring last year with 8.9 points per game while leading the team in three-pointers and three-point percentage.

Senior forward Julia Nielacna also returns after averaging 8.3 points per game last season while playing in 24 of 25 games and starting 11.

In addition to these three, there are five players this season who played at least 22 games last year.

New points: Cal Poly added eight freshmen, five freshmen and three Division I signings to this year’s team. The three transfers consist of graduate student Nikola Kovacikova, graduate student Oumou Toure and junior Taylor Wu.

Kovacikova comes to Cal Poly after previously playing at both Penn and Georgetown. Last season at Penn he played in 19 games with eight starts. Off the court, she won Penn’s Norman J. Goldring Award and the George H. Frazier Award, given to the senior student-athlete with the highest GPA. He spent his first two college seasons at Georgetown. As a sophomore in 2019-20, she appeared in 27 games with 12 starts and was the Hoyas’ third-leading scorer, averaging 7.9 points per game.

Touré comes to Cal Poly after spending the last three years at Butler. He played his freshman season before missing the next two due to injury and the COVID pandemic. As a freshman in 2019-20, she was named to the Big East All-Freshman Team. That season, she appeared in 27 games, making 20 starts and ranking second on the team in scoring with 9.1 points per game while shooting 46 percent from the field to go along with 6.1 rebounds per game. He also led the Big East and ranked 45th in the NCAA in steals per game at 2.33.

Wu spent the last three seasons at California Baptist University, where he played in 70 career games. He set his mark as a freshman in 2019-20, averaging 6.6 ppg, 1.7 ppg, 1.7 ppg in 18.4 minutes per game. She tied the program’s single-game freshman scoring record after dropping 37 points against Ottawa (AZ) and in the same game tied the program’s three-game scoring record with 10.

As a sophomore, he started 19 of 27 games, averaging 8.9 ppg, 1.7 ppg and 21.9 minutes per game. She scored in double figures 11 times, including a season-high 15 against Pepperdine.


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