SEATTLE, Wash. – The third time proved to be the charm as UC Santa Barbara defeated Washington, 54-46, on Saturday afternoon in the teams' third ever meeting at the Huskies' Alaska Airlines Arena.
With the victory, UCSB improves to 4-5 on the season while Washington drops to 6-2. Both of Washington's losses this year have come at the hands of Big West programs; its first was to Long Beach State on Nov. 18. After handing Loyola Marymount its first home loss of the season, the Gauchos continued once again spoiled a home win streak, knocking the Huskies' home record down to 3-1.
The Gauchos' were led by the reigning Big West Player of the Week, senior Sweets Underwood, who had her fourth double-double of the season and 12th of her career. The forward posted 15 points to go along with a season-high 13 rebounds. She also tied her season-high with three assists while adding a steal.
After leading by as many as 17 points in the first half, UCSB had its lead whittled down to one with 9:33 to go in the game after Washington opened the second half with a 16-7 run, which was punctuated by three-pointer from Talia Walton.
The Gauchos quickly put the brakes on Washington's comeback as they went on a 9-0 run, fuelled by four points from junior Nicole Nesbit, to once again hold a double-digit lead. The Huskies were able to get back within five points at 48-43 with 52 seconds to go, but UCSB held on behind perfect free-throw shooting by Nicole Nesbit to take the 54-46 victory.
UCSB had opened the game with an 8-0 run before building its lead to as many as 17 points at 25-8 with 4:27 to go in the half. Underwood had 12 of her 15 points in the stanza and seven of her rebounds to lead the Gauchos to a 27-17 advantage heading into the locker rooms.
The Gauchos held the Huskies to just 18.8% shooting (6-for-32) during the opening 20 minutes and Washington made just 2-of-12 from the three-point range. The Huskies finished the game shooting just 21.3% (13-for-61), made just 7-of-24 (29.2%) from beyond the arc.
UCSB had its best rebounding performance of the season as they posted a season-high 47 boards versus 36 by the Huskies. The Gauchos shot 40% (12-for-30) in the first half, but finished the game at 35.3% (18-of-51) from the field. They made 16-of-19 free-throws, led by Nesbit, who was flawless, sinking 10-of-10 from the charity stripe.
Senior Destini Mason posted a career-high 10 rebounds to go along with a season-high-tying three assists and eight points. Nesbit finished with a career-best six rebounds to go with 14 points.
In her first game back after a three-game absence due to a foot injury, Kirsten Tilleman chipped in six points and six boards, including four in the opening five minutes alone. Melissa Zornig had eight points, including both of the Gauchos' three-pointers.
Jazmine Davis led the Huskies with 20 points and two assists. Aminah Williams had 10 boards while Kristi Kingma posted 10 points and seven rebounds.
This marks the Gauchos' first win over a Pac-12 team since Carlene Mitchell took the reigns of the program last season. The last win over a program from that conference was at Oregon State on Dec. 5, 2009.
UCSB will conclude its current road swing on Tuesday at BYU. The game, which is scheduled for a 1 p.m. tip-off (Pacific Time) will be broadcast live on KZSB AM 1290 and online at UCSBgauchos.com.