UCSB Rallies Back from 19 Down in 78-75 Win Over Seattle

UCSB Rallies Back from 19 Down in 78-75 Win Over Seattle

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Gauchos rallied back from a 19-point deficit to defeat Seattle 78-75 in a thrilling comeback victory. UCSB snapped a four game losing streak and also picked up its first win at the Thunderdome since Nov. 26.

After allowing the Redhawks 49-first half points, the Gauchos stifled them to 28.6 percent shooting in the second half for just 26 points.

Santa Barbara moves its record to 5-7, while Seattle falls to 5-8.

"I didn't say a word at halftime," UCSB Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. "I just wrote down some key stats on our board to let the players know what they needed to focus on. 

One of those stats was from Seattle's Kacie Sowell who dropped 20 points off a nine for 10 shooting performance in the first half.

The Gauchos received their coach's message and kept Sowell to a quiet three points in the final 20 minutes of play.

Nicole Nesbit led the contest with 24 points and a career-high tying eight assists. Melissa Zornig also added 19 points and five rebounds, while Destini Mason finished with 12 and six boards on her stat sheet.

On the offensive end, the Gauchos improved their shooting percentage from 40.6 in the first to 55.2 in the second half, including 16 points in the paint.

Aside from the senior class lighting up the scoreboard, the Gaucho reserves put up 23 points and were led by Mi'Chael Wright who finished with a career-high nine points.

After the Redhawks outrebounded UCSB in the first half 22 to 11, the Gauchos finished even with Seattle at 36 rebounds each.

Claire Watkins led the way in the second half with 10 boards, finishing with 11 overall. Sylvia Shepherd captured the game-high of 14 rebounds to go along with her 16 points.

In the first half, Seattle scored at will with its 65.6 percent shooting. However, the Gauchos doused the Redhawks' hot offense in their 26-9 run to open the second half.

Mason knocked down a jumper to kick-start the comeback effort, while Zornig picked up eight points during that span.

The Gauchos clawed their back from a 15-point halftime deficit, and took the lead for the first time in the game when Nesbit launched a pass from the top of the key to a wide open Wright whose layup put UCSB ahead 60-58 with 8:53 to play.

Seattle would pull out in front again at the 4:42 mark at 68-67, but it would be a short lived lead as Wright again found an easy basket in the low post just 18 seconds later.

From that point on, the Gauchos never gave up their lead. 

Nesbit followed Wright's lay up with a three-point play as she split two defenders on a hard drive to the hoop.

UCSB will travel to Utah on Monday to wrap up its nonconference schedule. The game will be featured online at UCSBgauchos.com.