Jan. 19, 2008
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara outscored Cal Poly 11-3 over the first three minutes and never looked back, defeating Cal Poly 75-58 in a Big West showdown Saturday afternoon in Mott Gym. Ashlee Brown was a perfect 6-for-6 and scored a career-high 15 points to lead the Gauchos to their sixth consecutive victory.
UCSB's success in San Luis Obispo continued as the Gauchos won for the 11th time in their last 12 games at Mott Gym. With the victory, Santa Barbara claims sole possession of first place in the Big West standings with a perfect 5-0 record and improves to 10-6 overall this season. Cal Poly lost for the first time in league play and falls to 4-1. The Mustangs are now 7-11 overall in 2006-07.
Brown was one of four Gauchos to reach double figures, scoring a game-high 15 points to establish a new career-mark for the second time in the last five games. The native of Good Year, Ariz. scored 10 points in UCSB's win at Long Beach State January 3. In addition to making all six of her shots from the field Saturday, the freshman forward was 3-of-4 at the free-throw line.
Junior guard Lauren Pedersen also finished with a career-high, scoring 13 points on 3-of-6 shooting. She was 2-of-3 from behind the three-point line and went 5-for-7 at the stripe. Pedersen also tallied three rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Her previous career mark was 10 points that came in games against Ole Miss and Cal State Northridge earlier this season.
Kat Suderman was excellent in her return to her hometown, finishing 5-of-8 from the floor for 14 points to go with a game-high six boards and three steals, which a new career-high. The junior forward has now scored in double figures in six straight games and 10 of the last 11.
Sha'Rae Gibbons scored 13 for the game, with most of that coming at the free-throw line where she was a perfect 8-for-8. She also added four rebounds and three assists.
Junior guard Jessica Wilson struggled from the floor, finishing 3-of-13 for just nine points, but she chipped in with a season-high six assists, five rebounds, and two steals.
UCSB was in control from the opening tip and led by as many 20 points. The Gauchos came out of the gates hot, making seven of their first 13 shots, 53.8%, to build a 19-11 lead a little less than eight minutes in. Pedersen hit a three-pointer on the Gauchos' opening possession and Wilson knocked down a triple of her own a minute later to give Santa Barbara an early 6-2 advantage. Sha'Rae Gibbons hit a jumper on the baseline to put the Gauchos in front by eight (11-3) with 16:54 remaining and Pedersen's long two at the 10:27 mark pushed the lead to 21-11.
Santa Barbara took its biggest lead of the half at 34-21 with 1:28 to play after five consecutive points from Wilson. Cal Poly trimmed four points off the deficit in the closing minute on a pair of free-throws by Megan Harrison and a Kyla Howell jumper and the Gauchos took a 35-25 lead into the locker room at the break.
The Mustangs shot just 25% (7-28) in the first period.
UCSB scored the first four points of the second half to push the lead to 14 at 39-25, but Cal Poly used a 9-2 run over the next seven minutes to close within seven (41-34) with 11:53 remaining.
It was all Santa Barbara from there. Pedersen answered with another three and Brown scored on back-to-back possessions to spark a 13-4 Gaucho run over the next 3:14. Two Brown free-throws gave UCSB a 54-38 advantage with 8:39 left to play.
The Mustangs cut the deficit to 12 on three occasions, but each time Santa Barbara had the answer. With just over four minutes to play, Suderman scored inside, Gibbons sank two free-throws, and Pedersen found Suderman for an easy bucket once again to give UCSB a commanding 66-47 lead with 2:03 left on the clock.
The Gauchos took their biggest lead at 75-55 with 12 seconds remaining before Sparkle Anderson hit triple just before the horn for the final margin.
For the game UCSB shot 47.9% (23-48), while Cal Poly finished at 35.7% (20-56). The Gauchos held a 36-31 advantage on the glass and won the turnover battle, 20-17.
Anderson scored 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting to lead the Mustangs, while Harrison added 10.
Santa Barbara returns to the court this Thursday at UC Davis. The Gauchos will take on the Aggies at 7:00 p.m. before traveling to Pacific for a clash with the Tigers Saturday at 4:00 p.m.