San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Three Spartans scored in double figures, led by Brittany Johnson's 20 points and San Jose State put together possibly its most consistent performance of the year, but hot shooting from behind the 3-point line by the Cal Poly Mustangs (3-2) in the second half sent the Spartans to a 71-55 loss on Sunday afternoon.
"Today we played well, but we still have yet to put together two halves of consistent play," head coach Tim La Kose said. "Due to a couple of injuries, we had to juggle our lineup. Ta'Rea (Cunnigan) was moved to the two and Rachel (Finnegan) played the point. It worked well."
Johnson, who in two games in the Cal Poly Invitational, averaged 23.5 points and six rebounds, was name to the all-tournament team. This is the sixth time this season that she has been the Spartans leading scorer and the third game this week that she has scored at least 20 points.
"We are getting better every day," Johnson said. "I happened to be the person who got to the hoop more this weekend, but we are just trying to score as much as possible and get that first win. It will come and all the hard work we are putting in will pay off."
In the first half the teams traded the lead four times with neither able to establish more than a five-point advantage. The main difference after 20 minutes of action and a 35-33 Mustangs' lead, was on the boards. The Spartans were outrebounded 25-to-19 and that translated into a 10-to-2 advantage in second-chance points for Cal Poly.
After a Johnson layup with 16:13 to play made the score 41-39 in favor of the Mustangs, the Spartans went cold. San Jose State made just one bucket over the next seven minutes, a layup by Sara Plavljanin who would finish with 16 points. Cal Poly scored 15 points to take a 56-41 lead.
Rachel Finnegan, who led San Jose State with 10 rebounds, hit a bucket to make it 56-43 with 8:34 to play. Ta'Rea Cunnigan's layup on the next possession cut the lead to 11, but the Spartans would get no closer.
Cal Poly hit a 3-pointer on each of its next five possessions, with Ashlee Burns nailing two of her five on the day. Burns finished the game with a team-high 17 points. Over the two-minute spurt the lead went from 11 to 23 and with 4:22 to go the score was 71-48. San Jose State closed out the final four minutes by scoring the last seven points of the game to make the final score 71-55.
Christine Martin, who spent the 2007-08 season at San Jose State, before transferring to Cal Poly, scored 15 points and Molly Schlemer grabbed 17 rebounds for the Mustangs.
The Spartans return to action on Thursday, December 1 when they host the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in The Event Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Walt McPherson Court.