SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – In saying goodbye to its pair of seniors – Kelsey Adrian and Emilie Johnson – the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team also said goodbye to Long Beach State's chances with a dominating defensive effort on Saturday.
The Gauchos held Long Beach State to just 25.5% shooting in the Thunderdome, including a paltry 16.0% in the first half in the 47-35 win. It marked the fifth win in six games for UCSB, which improved to 13-14 overall and 7-7 in the Big West. Long Beach State falls a spot below the Gauchos in the standings at 11-16, 6-8.
Despite committing 27 turnovers, the Gauchos made up for it defensively by holding the entire 49ers team in check. The 11 first-half points allowed by the Gauchos is the fourth-lowest tally in a half in program history.
Johnson led all scorers with 13 points while Adrian finished with six in a balanced scoring attack by UCSB. Nicole Nesbit had 10 points and five assists off the bench while Angelei Aguirre added six points and seven rebounds. Kirsten Tilleman and Sweets Underwood each pulled in nine rebounds.
That final stat was also hugely important in the victory – UCSB outrebounded Long Beach 46-17. In doing so, UCSB also did not allow a single second-chance point by the 49ers.
UCSB led by as many as 14 on Jackie Luna-Castro's baseline jumper with 15:16 remaining and kept the lead in double figures the rest of the way. Long Beach threw a full-court defense at UCSB for the entire second half and although UCSB turned the ball over 13 times in the final 20 minutes, it never came back to haunt the Gauchos.
Long Beach did score 17 points off the Gauchos' turnovers, but the game never seemed in doubt. The Gauchos went on a 19-4 run early in the first half and kept the 49ers at bay the rest of the way.
UCSB will travel north next week to face Pacific and UC Davis in the final regular season games of the season. Listen live on AM 990 in Santa Barbara or online by clicking here with the pregame show starting a half-hour before tip-off.