“Vanessa is a great player, so I understand why she plays, I just want to be able to help when I have the chance,” Starling said. Cal Poly interim coach Michelle Fortier said that the Broncos let Starling get to the line too much. “We needed to pressure the ball more, and we left Ally (Smith) in a bad position,” Fortier said. It was a tight game throughout the second half, and the controversial moment came with 46.4 seconds remaining in the game, the Coyotes (13-6 overall, 9-5 California Collegiate Athletic Association) protecting a 54-52 lead and inbounding the ball underneath their own basket. One official whistled a five-second call and awarded the ball to Cal Poly (5-14, 4-10). San Bernardino appeared to call timeout after the five-second call, and the Broncos didn’t find out that the timeout was awarded to San Bernardino until after they went into their huddle. “No. 44 (Starling) stepped up her game and took Wilt’s place basically,” Cal Poly junior Porsche’ Kirksey said. Starling, a senior, was 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 10-of-15 shooting from the free-throw line. SAN BERNARDINO – The mission for most teams when facing the Cal State San Bernardino women’s basketball team is to shut down leading scorer Vanessa Wilt. Cal Poly Pomona did exactly that by holding her to 10 points, but Mariqueta Starling filled the void, scoring a career-high 22 points and grabbing a game-high nine rebounds off the bench to lead the Coyotes past Cal Poly Pomona 57-53 at Coussoulis Arena on Tuesday night. “It’s frustrating because I thought we had put ourselves in a position to tie it,” Fortier said. Cal State coach Kevin Becker said the official closest to the Coyotes bench, Debbie Kotani, heard his timeout request before the official on the baseline gave the five-second call. After retaining possession, the Coyotes’ Ashlee Ford scored on a layup with 27.3 seconds to play, making it 56-52 and putting the Broncos into desperation mode. A trio of players led Cal Poly in scoring, with Jessica Hopkins, Ashley Moody and Lauren Kitaguchi scoring 10 points apiece. The game started off sluggishly for both teams, who just finished a grueling trip to Humboldt State and Sonoma State on Saturday. Cal Poly shot 22 percent from the field in the first half, Cal State just 29 percent as the Coyotes led 24-19. Cal State held Cal Poly scoreless for more than eight minutes after Cal Poly led early by nine points. “They’re athletic. They gave us trouble with their pressure and took the lanes away,” Becker said. But it was Starling, Wilt and the Coyotes who were able to avenge a loss at Pomona in December. Becker, who missed the trip north after breaking bones in his face two weeks ago, was glad to have Starling. “She (Starling) has sacrificed more for this team than anyone else and she has done it with a smile on her face,” he said. “We told her she would have her time.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
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