January 24, 2008

Gauchos Shake Off Poor Second Half, Defeat UC Davis 62-53 In Overtime

Jan. 24, 2008

Box Score

DAVIS, Calif. - After scoring just 15 second half points and giving up a 14-point lead, UC Santa Barbara was able to weather the storm and outscored UC Davis 14-5 in overtime to record a 62-53 Big West victory Thursday night at the Pavilion. Jessica Wilson scored a season-high 20 points to lead the Gauchos to their sixth consecutive win in conference play.

After UC Riverside's loss to Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday night, UCSB is now the only remaining unbeaten team in the Big West, improving to 6-0 with the victory over the Aggies. Santa Barbara's current winning streak - which began against Ole Miss on Dec. 29 - reached seven games overall and is the Gauchos longest such run since they won 10 straight towards the end of the 2004-05 campaign.

Davis falls to 10-8 overall and 4-2 in the Big West this season after having its winning streak snapped at four.

Playing in front of a number of family and friends from her hometown of nearby Sacramento, Wilson responded with her best performance of the season, finishing with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds, both of which were season-highs. The senior guard was 7-of-12 from the field, including 2-of-5 from the three-point arc, and 4-of-4 at the free-throw line. Wilson scored nine of her points in overtime.

The 20 points eclipsed her previous high of 18 that came in the Gauchos' 95-82 win at Santa Clara Nov. 29. UCSB is now 8-3 when Wilson reaches double figures in 2007-08. She also recorded 11 boards at Portland State on Dec. 6 and against Cal State Fullerton Jan. 12.

The double-double was Wilson's third this season and the 10th of her career.

Meagan Williams and Jordan Franey each scored eight points off the bench and Sha'Rae Gibbons chipped in with seven points and dished out a game-high five assists.

After shooting 46.4% in the first 20 minutes and taking a 33-21 lead into the locker room at halftime, the Gauchos struggled against the Aggies zone defense in the second half. Davis rallied to within 34-29 with just under 15 minutes to play after a layup from Anna Harp and then used a 7-2 surge to pull within 42-40 with 8:02 remaining in regulation. Jessica Campbell knocked down two foul shots a little more than a minute later to tie the game, 44-44 with 6:37 left and the Aggies pulled in front 47-44 following a Paige Mintun free-throw and a Campbell layup with 5:31 on the clock.

Despite giving up the big lead and shooting just 30% in the second period, the Gauchos refused to roll over and tied the game at 48-48 on a big offensive rebound and put back by Whitney Warren with 3:52 remaining.

Santa Barbara then turned to its defense, forcing Davis to miss its final five shots. The Aggies had an opportunity to win the game in regulation after a Gaucho turnover with 43 seconds left, but Campbell missed from three and failed to get a shot off at the buzzer after Kristen Commins had secured the offensive rebound. UCSB was outscored 27-15 in the second half and Wilson missed all three of her shots in the second stanza.

Playing in overtime for the second time in the last three games, the Gauchos raced out to a 52-48 lead 1:15 in following consecutive baskets from Williams. The first came on an offensive rebound in the paint on Santa Barbara's first possession and the second came on a nice pass from Warren.

Wilson hit a three less than a minute later to put the Gauchos on top, 55-48 and she went on to add a jumper, a layup, and two free-throws in the extra session to lead Santa Barbara to the 62-53 victory.

UCSB shot a blistering 62.5% from the field in overtime, while limiting Davis to just 1-for-7 shooting, 14.3%. The Gauchos finished above 40% shooting for the seventh time in the last eight games, making 24-of-56 shots, 42.9%. The Aggies went 16-of-51, 31.4%.

With Wilson leading the way and Warren adding a season-high eight boards of her own, Santa Barbara out-rebounded Davis 45-27.

Campbell scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Aggies, finishing 7-of-15 from the floor and 9-of-10 at the foul line. Genevieve Costello was the only other player to reach double figures for Davis, finishing with 13 off the bench.

UCSB led for the duration of the first half and took its biggest lead of the game (33-19) following a pair of Wilson free-throws with five seconds remaining.

Santa Barbara completes its Northern California trip this Saturday with a stop at the University of Pacific. The Gauchos will battle the Tigers at 4:00 p.m.

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