Jan. 11, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Jessica Wilson led four players in double figures with her third consecutive outstanding performance, finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and seven steals to lead the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team to an 86-58 victory over Utah Valley State Thursday night in the Thunderdome. The Gauchos have now won four games in a row, which is a season-high and matches the team's streak from a year ago.
With the non-conference victory, UCSB improves to 8-8 overall (3-1 Big West), while UVSC falls to 10-8 overall after losing its fifth consecutive game.
Wilson followed up a pair of stellar performances last week that earned her Big West Player of the Week accolades with another balanced game against the Wolverines. The junior guard made 6-of-11 shots for a game-high 18 points, marking the fifth straight game in which she reached double figures. Wilson was the only player in the game to record 10 or more rebounds to collect her first double-double of the season and third of her career. Her seven steals tied a career-high and she also finished with a team-best five assists.
Juniors Chisa Ononiwu and Jenna Green continued to shoot the ball well, making a combined 10-of-19 attempts from the floor for 15 and 13 points, respectively. Green tallied seven rebounds, three blocks, and a pair of steals, while Ononiwu added six boards and four assists. Freshman forward Jordan Franey added 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
The Gauchos held one of the nation's top scorers in sophomore center Robyn Fairbanks, who was averaging 25.3 points per game entering Thursday's game, to just 16. Fairdbanks made 7-of-15 shots from the field. Junior guard Rebekah Peterson also scored 16 off the bench to lead Utah Valley State.
Santa Barbara came out of the gates firing and quickly built a seven-point lead at 23-16 after an offensive rebound and bucket from freshman forward Ariana Gnekow with 10:53 remaining in the first half. UVSC responded with a 7-0 run of its own over the next two minutes, capped off by one Petersen'a four three-pointers on the evening, tying the game at 23-23.
Sophomore point guard LaShay Fears then hit a mid-range jumper and Green knocked down a pair of free-throws keying a 16-2 spurt for UCSB to close the half. Santa Barbara took a 39-25 lead into the locker room at the break.
As they have done in their three previous wins, the Gauchos controlled the second half and put distance between themselves and the visiting Wolverines. Adding to the run at the end of the opening period, UCSB out-scored UVSC 30-14 in the first 10 minutes of the second to build its biggest lead of the evening at 69-38. Wilson scored seven of her 18 points during the decisive run, including a pair of steals that she took all the way to rim for layups.
The Gauchos led by no less than 28 points the rest of the way and went on to win by that same margin, 86-58.
The Wolverines held their only lead at 11-9 with 14:29 on the clock in the first half.
Continuing to shoot the ball exceptionally well from the floor, UCSB made 33-of-69 shots, 47.8%, including a 4-for-8 performance from downtown in the second half. The 33 field goals made was a season-high. Utah Valley State shot 37.3% for the game, making 22-of-59 attempts, but was successful on seven out of eight shots at the free-throw line.
The Gauchos dominated the rebounds again as well, hauling in 52 to just 32 for the Wolverines. 23 of those came on the offensive glass for Santa Barbara, a new season-high. As UCSB has continued to improve on the backboards, the team has set a new high mark in that category in four out of the last five games.
Utah Valley State turned the ball over a total of 27 times leading to 38 points for the Gauchos. UCSB gave the ball away just five times in the second half after turning it over 13 times in the first.
The Gauchos will now travel to UC Davis for a 7:00 p.m. match-up with the future Big West members this Saturday.