January 10, 2009

UCSB Wins Fifth in a Row, Defeating Fullerton, 60-54

Jan. 10, 2009

Box Score

FULLERTON, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team used its trademark defense to limit Cal State Fullerton on Saturday night at Titan Gym, but this time also got a lot of scoring throughout the lineup as four players finished in double figures. It resulted in a 60-54 win, the Gauchos' fifth overall and second straight on the road.

UCSB improves to 8-6 overall and 4-0 in the Big West while Cal State Fullerton falls to 5-8 overall and 2-1 in the Big West.

Margaret Johnson tied her career-high with 14 points while Lauren Pedersen, Sha'Rae Gibbons and Jordan Franey all chipped in with 10 points apiece. It was just the third time this season the Gauchos scored at least 60 points.

The victory was the 31st in a row over Fullerton by the Gauchos, who held the Titans to just 26.9% shooting from the floor.

Toni Thomas led Cal State Fullerton with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Lyndsey Grove added 12 points and 11 boards. Sharpshooter Lauren Chow, who came into the game averaging close to 13 points per game, was held scoreless.

UCSB led by as many as 14, taking a 55-41 lead with 3:54 left in the game on a layup by Ashlee Brown, who started in place of Jenna Green. The sixth-year senior missed Saturday's game with back trouble.

However, the Gauchos' lead wouldn't last as Fullerton chipped away. The Titans rattled off nine straight points, capped by Megan Richardson's layup with 1:32 left, to make it 55-50. The lead stayed that way with under a minute left until Gibbons hit three out of four free throws to ice it.

Without Green and without Kat Suderman, who has missed the past five games with back trouble of her own, the Gauchos had to lean heavily on Brown, Franey and Johnson down low. It didn't help that Brown picked up two quick fouls 1:40 into the game.

"With two quick fouls for Ashlee, I knew I would be put into a position where I would be playing a lot," said Franey, who totaled 35 minutes. "I felt that it's something that I can do and I've proven that I can do."

Franey finished with four assists, two rebounds, a steal and 4-for-5 from the free throw line. Brown had four points, three rebounds and a block in 12 minutes. Johnson had six rebounds while going 4 of 6 from the floor and 6 of 8 from the line.

"We asked people to be in situations that they're not 100% comfortable with and we asked people to play major minutes and step up in a tough conference game and they did," coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "I thought it was a really good team effort, even if it wasn't the prettiest. I'm excited about the fact that we didn't play our best basketball and we got two wins (also vs. UC Irvine on Thursday). Any road conference wins are really good wins."

The Gauchos return home on Wednesday, Jan. 14 for a non-conference game vs. Portland State at the Thunderdome at 7 p.m. Tickets are available by calling (805) 893-UCSB, visiting the Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office located on campus in the Intercollegiate Athletics Office or by clicking here.