SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UCSB battled Arizona down to the wire, but it was the Wildcats who came up with the narrow win with the 51-49 final score.
As the game was tied 49-49, LaBrittney Jones sunk two free throws with 11 seconds left to take the late advantage. The Wildcats, with two fouls to give, fouled UCSB on back-to-back inbound passes, stopping the clock with 6.8 seconds left.
Melissa Zornig took the ball and put up a physical shot from the right side of the key, but the shot would not fall.
Zornig finished with eight points, six rebounds, and a game-high five assists.
The Gauchos were led by Nicole Nesbit in overcoming a seven-point second half deficit to tie the score at 49, setting up the nail biting finish.
Nesbit finished the game with a game-high 18 points off an 8-19 shooting performance. Only scoring six points in the first half, Nesbit found her offensive rhythm early in the second when UCSB jumped out ahead with an 8-2 run.
After garnering all of her first-half points mostly with lay-ups, Nesbit knocked down a pair of mid-range jumpers to help UCSB garner the 32-26 lead with just over three minutes played in the second.
Always playing physical basketball, Nesbit a minute of play in the second half after taking an elbow to the face. She was able to gather herself on the bench and reentered the game to give UCSB a late offensive push.
With 2:22 left in the game, Nesbit hit her second three-pointer of the game to put the Gauchos within four. On UCSB's next scoring play, Nesbit kicked the ball out to the left wing where Melissa Zornig drained a long look for two, making the score 49-47 Arizona. To finally get the tie, Nesbit took the ball herself on a drive and finished with a tough lay-up.
In the first half, the Gauchos played the Wildcats to a 24-24 draw. Going into the locker room, UCSB outrebounded their Pac-12 opponent 18 to 16, as Zornig led the team with four.
Onome Jemerigbe earned the first start of her collegiate career against the Wildcats. The freshman point guard added seven points, three assists, and a team-high two steals.
The Gauchos kept the score tight, but their early fouls sent the Wildcats into the bonus starting at the 8:15 mark. Though just making 57.9 percent of its free throws, Arizona came up with 11 points from the charity stripe compared to UCSB's three.
The Gauchos will return to game action next week as the team takes its first road trip of the season to St. Mary's (11/21) and Santa Clara (11/23).