January 4, 2007

UCSB Defeats Long Beach State 71-60 As Mark French Collects 500th Career Victory

Jan. 4, 2007

Final Stats

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Junior center Jenna Green scored a game-high 20 points and freshman forward Jordan Franey added 16 off the bench as the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team posted a 71-60 Big West Conference victory over visiting Long Beach State Thursday night in the Thunderdome. The win, which was the second straight for the Gauchos, was the 500th of head coach Mark French's career.

In their first meeting of 2006-07, the Gauchos improved to 6-8 overall and 2-1 in Big West play after defeating the conference co-defending champions. The 49ers, who saw their two-game winning streak snapped to open league play, fall to 3-12 overall (0-1 Big West).

Less than three weeks after earning his 400th victory as the head coach of the Gauchos with UCSB's 78-67 win over Pepperdine December 18, French reached another milestone Thursday night. His 500th win came in his 800th career game, giving him a career mark of 500-300, a winning percentage of 62.5%. French is in his 20th season at Santa Barbara and has a record of 402-186 (.684) at the helm of the Gauchos. He spent four years at Pacific from 1979-1983 and four years at Idaho State from 1983-1987 and posted a record 98-114 as head coach of the Tigers and Bengals.

Green made 9-of-20 shots and led UCSB in scoring for the sixth consecutive game. She also hauled in nine rebounds, which was a team-high. Franey had an excellent night from the floor, connecting on five of her seven field goal attempts, including going 2-for-4 from behind the three-point arc. The 16 points was her second highest total as a Gaucho. Jessica Wilson also had a strong performance from downtown, draining 3-of-5 threes and finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, while Chisa Ononiwu chipped in with 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting.

LBSU was led by Junior guard Tyresha Calhoun who shot 6-for-12 from the floor and scored a career-high 14 points. Sophomore guard Lakin Saucedo made 6-of-9 attempts and finished with 12 points, while fellow second year player Karina Figueroa added 11.

Trailing 6-2 roughly four minutes in, the Gauchos embarked on a 12-0 run capped off by a Wilson three-pointer to take a 14-6 lead at the 10:10 mark. Santa Barbara's lead swelled to 16 at 24-8 with 6:54 to play in the first half as the Gauchos scored 10 of the next 12 points, including five straight from Franey. The 49ers went scoreless for over four minutes as UCSB built its commanding lead. Long Beach State then closed the opening period on a 14-6 run capped off by Saucedo's jumper with five seconds remaining to cut the deficit to nine, 31-22 at the half.

The visitors continued to try climb back into the game in the second half, but the Gauchos were able to respond each time they made a run.

Calhoun's fastbreak layup made it 38-32 with 15:31 left, but Ononiwu hit a jumper the next time down to give UCSB an eight-point cushion once again. After Wilson hit her second three-pointer and made it 47-36 with 13:06 left, the 49ers went on a 10-2 run to close to within 49-45 with 9:46 on the clock after a driving layup by Figueroa and a free-throw from Madison Pagani. The Gauchos answered once again, as sophomore guard LaShay Fears hit a shot from just inside the arc, Green connected in the paint, and Ononiwu hit a baseline jumper to put Santa Barbara on top 55-46.

LBSU would get no closer than four the rest of the way.

UCSB shot the ball well from the floor for the second game in a row, making 27-of-63 attempts, 42.9%. LBSU finished 34.3%, hitting 23-of-67 shots. Santa Barbara made 6-of-15 three-point attempts, 40%, while Long Beach State went 0-for-7 from downtown.

The Gauchos also out-rebounded their opponent for a second consecutive game, holding a 45-41 advantage on the glass, and took care of the ball, committing just 13 turnovers. UCSB registered 17 assists on 27 made baskets, one off the team's season-high.

Coach French got a strong performance from his bench, with 19 points - 16 of which came courtesy of Franey - coming from non-starters to just 11 for the 49ers. Eight of the nine players that played Thursday reached the scoring column.

Big West action continues for UCSB this Saturday, Jan. 6, when UC Irvine visits the Thunderdome for the first of two meetings this season. The Gauchos and Anteaters will tip-off at 2:00 p.m.