March 2, 2013

Gauchos Bounce Back with 62-42 Win in Riverside

Riverside, Calif.– UC Santa Barbara won their final road game of the regular season in overwhelming fashion as they downed UC Riverside 64-42 on Saturday.  

The Gauchos followed Nicole Nesbit's lead who matched a career-high with 20 points in the game, shooting 10-18 from the field. 

"It was great to see her shoot well today," head coach Carlene Mitchell reflecting on Nesbit's performance. "She was able to shake off a bad game [against Fullerton] and it shows how she has matured mentally since last year." 

Nesbit scored four straight points to give UCSB their second lead of the game at 10-8 with 13:50 left in the first half. And from there, the Gauchos never looked back.

UCSB closed the first half on a 13-3 run, capturing the 32-17 lead going into the locker room. Nesbit led the run with eight points, including four unanswered in the final three minutes. 

In recent games, UCSB struggled with starting second half play on a strong note. But against the Highlanders, they had no problem picking up right where they left off at the end of the first.

The Gauchos fired off on a 10-4 run in the first seven minutes of second half action, topped off by Nicole Nesbit finding Destini Mason for an open jumper making the score 42-21.

"I told the team to think like it was still zero-zero," Mitchell recounting what she told her team during the halftime break. "That's the mentality that we always need to have no matter what the score actually is." 

Nesbit also led the floor with four steals, contributing to the Gaucho's 11 total. That is the most takeaways UCSB has recorded during the Mitchell-era. 

Overall, the Gauchos forced the Highlanders into 19 turnovers and capitalized on them for 14 points. 

Also with a career game, Destini Mason notched in her first double-double as Gaucho with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

"I didn't even know that I had a double-double when I was playing," Mason said after the game. "I was just happy to contribute to the win for my team and was able to bring high energy on the floor for us."

Led by Mason's 12, UCSB outrebounded UCR 36 to 27, including 10 offensive boards.

The Gauchos put those second chances to good work as they found 13 points off those opportunities. 

Coming off the bench, Melissa Zornig was on target for 10 points, including two three-pointers.

It was the first time Zornig registered multiple three-pointers since UCSB's win over University of the Pacific on February 9th when she hit three from downtown. 

Together, the Gauchos shot an efficient 46.7% from the floor and were lights out in the first half, knocking down 53.6% of their shots. 

Natasha Hadley led the Highlanders with team highs of 15 points and nine rebounds. She also led UCR last time against UCSB with 20 points and eight rebounds.

The Gauchos' defense limited the Big West's fourth-leading scorer Brittany Crain to just 10 points and only allowed her to shoot 3-13 from the field.

UC Santa Barbara will return to the hardwood next week to host the Long Beach State 49ers in the Thunderdome. The game will be the first of the final two home games for the Gauchos this season.

Tickets to UCSB women's basketball games are available by visiting the Ticket Office in the ICA Building, by calling (805) 893-UCSB or online by clicking here.

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