NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Despite Melissa Zornig's first career double double, UC Santa Barbara suffered a 78-54 loss to Cal State Northridge in the Matadome on Saturday.
Zornig's season-high 21 points and career-best 11 rebounds gave the senior her first double double in a Gaucho uniform. She is also now just 17 points shy of joining the 1,000-point club with six games left in the regular season.
UCSB falls to 7-16 on the year and is 2-8 in Big West play, while CSUN is now 13-13 overall and has taken hold of first place in the league at 9-3.
Following Zornig's game-high, Nicole Nesbit was behind her fellow senior with 14 points and two rebounds.
While Destini Mason was second on the Gauchos with five rebounds, CSUN dominated the boards with a season-high 55 compared to UCSB's 28.
Camille Mahlknecht led the floor with a career-high 22 rebounds and also paced her team with 21 points. Overall, four Matadors reached double figures in scoring.
To open the game, CSUN went on a 17-4 run through the first five minutes.
Zornig put up her a three-pointer as a response, but the Matadors continued on their run and eventually garnered a 17-point advantage at 28-11 with 8:05 left in the half.
After the succeeding media timeout, the Gauchos struck back with a 12-2 run, ignited by a Zornig layup.
From there, it was a senior scoring affair as Nesbit and Mason accounted for the three following made jumpers. Nesbit made both of her from 15 away, while Mason delivered her shot off an athletic spin move in the paint.
Mi'Chael Wright chimed in with her first baskets of the night by capping off the run with back-to-back layups.
With four minutes left, the Gauchos found themselves down just 30-21 after trailing by 17.
CSUN, however, would regain its double-digit lead before halftime at 39-28.
Facing the large deficit, the Gauchos looked to their seniors to pull them out of the hole. Zornig and Nesbit took on the challenge and put UCSB on an 8-2 run to get within nine.
Nesbit started the stretch with a pair of free throws, while Zornig buried a big three from the left corner in response to a Matador layup.
Zornig knocked down 4-6 of her three-point looks, which makes it the eighth straight game she has made at least two triples.
Nesbit closed out the run with a bruising run through the lane to make the score 57-48.
With similar attacking efforts, the Gauchos improved their shooting from 35.3 to 39.1 percent in the second half.
Despite the comeback effort, the lead would prove to be too much for the Gauchos to overcome as CSUN pulled away to finish on top by 24 points.
UCSB will return to game action next week as they visit UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. Both games will feature audio broadcasts that can be accessed at UCSBgauchos.com.