With the loss the Mustangs fall to 3-9 with the Aztecs improving to 6-4. For the Mustangs its was the team's final non-conference game before opening the Big West Conference play on Dec. 31 against Central Coast rival UC Santa Barbara. Cal Poly will host the Gauchos in Mott Gym for a 4 pm tip.
Cal Poly's rally from a six point deficit in the final two 2:05of play fell short after pulling within one with 49 seconds remaining. Sophomore Jonae Ervin grabbed a rebound with 17 seconds remaining and down by one, but was not able to get off a shot and turned the ball over with five seconds left.
Santiago improved on her previous career-best of 36 points that she set earlier this season at San Francisco on Nov. 16. The forward converted 16 of 23 shots from the floor including a three pointer and was 11 of 14 from the line. She also led the team with eight rebounds and four steals.
Courtney Clements led SDSU with 24 points while Kiyana Stamps scored 17 points.
Cal Poly shot 50 percent from the floor and made five of 15 shots from long range while the Aztecs shot 51 percent and made five of 12 from beyond the arch.
The Mustangs committed only 14 turnovers compared to 18 by SDSU, but were outrebounded 38-28.
The Mustangs held a 41-40 advantage at the break in half that saw seven tie scores and eight lead changes. Santiago dominated the first half, scoring 24 points while hitting seven of 10 from the floor.
The opening minute of the second half, Cal Poly gained a four point lead on a three by Kayla Griffin.
With 18:03 left in the game SDSU capped a 6-0 run and gained the lead 46-44.
The Mustangs gained a seven point lead (55-48) on a layup by Santiago and their own mini-run of 5-0 with 13:55 on the clock.
Cal Poly extended the lead to eight (60-52) on a three by Elegado with 11:05 left in the game.
San Diego State battled back and tied the game, 70-70, with 4:47 on the clock on a layup by Chelsea Hopkins and took the lead at 3:53 on a layup by Khristina Hunter.
With 2:05 left on the clock SDSU held a six point lead (78-72) when the Mustangs mounted their comeback.
Santiago made a jumper at 1:58 (four points). She then made a pair of free throws at 1:13 (two points). On SDSU's next possession, Santiago committed a foul on Clements, who made one of two free throws (three points, 59 seconds). For Santiago it was her fifth foul of the game.
With Santiago out of the game, Ervin took over and on the Mustangs next possession hit a jumper (one point) with 49 seconds left in the game.
With 17 seconds on the clock, Cal Poly gained possession of the ball after a pair of misses by SDSU when Ervin grabbed the rebound.
Cal Poly never managed to get off a shot as Hopkins stole the ball with five seconds left in the game.