DAVIS, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara was able to withstand a second-half surge by UC Davis on Thursday evening in the Pavilion to capture its second win of the season over the Aggies, 60-52.
The win marked the Gauchos' third straight road victory. UCSB improves to 10-12 on the year and to 6-4 in Big West play. The Aggies fall to 9-12 and 4-6 in league games.
Senior Sweets Underwood, who posted her eighth double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds, led the Gauchos. She went 6-for-10 from the field and made all three of her shots from the free-throw line. Junior Nicole Nesbit had 13 points and led the squad with five assists. Senior Angelei Aguirre, meanwhile, had 12 points and five boards.
Senior Kirsten Tilleman had eight points and seven boards in a strong team effort by the Gauchos. She also extended her free-throw streak to 12 straight after hitting 4-of-4 attempts.
After leading by as many as 11 points during the first half, the Gauchos saw the Aggies whittle their deficit to just one point twice in the second stanza. With 2:58 to go in the game, Cortney French stole the ball and scored on a fastbreak to cut the Gauchos' lead to 52-51. Tilleman and Nesbit were able to get to the line down the stretch and combined to make 6-of-6 in the final 1:12 of the game to keep the Aggies at bay.
UCSB had gained the lead early in the first half behind a 9-0 run that put them ahead, 19-8 with 12:05 to go. UC Davis countered with a 12-4 run to make it a three-point game at 23-20 with 5:48 remaining, but the Gauchos posted six unanswered points to once again distance themselves from the Aggies. Behind 59.1% shooting from the field (13-of-22), the Gauchos took a 31-24 lead into halftime.
UCSB shot 47.8% for the game (22-of-46) and made 100% of its 13 attempts from the charity stripe. The Gauchos struggled with turnovers, tallying 22 to UC Davis' 16 – with 14 in the first half alone – but they beat them in the board battle, 34-24.
UC Davis was led by Sydnee Fipps' 16 points and Molly Greubel provided 14 points off the bench.
"It was a gritty win," head coach Carlene Mitchell said. "We had to buckle down and make stops late in the game when they went on a run and we were struggling offensively. Any time you can win on the road, you have to be satisfied with that, even though it wasn't a pretty 40 minutes."
UCSB will conclude its Northern California road swing on Saturday, Feb. 9 when it travels to Pacific for a 4 p.m. match-up with the league-leading Tigers. The game will be broadcast live on KZSB 1290 AM, the Santa Barbara News-Press radio station, and online at UCSBgauchos.com. A live video stream is available at BigWest.tv.