Jan. 28, 2006
STOCKTON, Calif. - In its closest game of the 2005-06 season, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team pulled out a 64-62 victory over Pacific in the Spanos Center on Saturday aftyernoon.
The win improves UCSB's overall record to 10-8, as well as 5-2 in Big West Conference play. The Gauchos are two games above .500 for the first time all season. The Tigers, meanwhile, fell to 5-14 and 2-5 in league following their seventh straight loss at the hands of the Gauchos.
Santa Barbara opened up a seven-point lead with 4:05 remaining in the second half when senior guard Karena Bonds knocked down a three-pointer. However UOP tallied the next seven points, and when guard Kelsey Lavender knocked down the second of her back-to-back three-pointers with 1:35 to play, her squad went back on top 62-61.
On the ensuing possession, Bonds misfired from long range but the rebound was corralled by Gaucho freshman guard Whitney Warren, who calmly sunk a pair of free-throws at the 1:04 mark. The two teams then traded missed opportunities before Lavendar's three-point try drew iron, and Bonds was fouled after hauling down the long rebound. She buried the second of two from the charity stripe with 11 seconds to play, and Pacific called a pair of timeouts to try to draw up a potential game-tying or winning shot.
With the clock approaching zero, Lavendar launched a 15-foot jumper from the right wind, which spun around the rim but would not fall. Warren came up with the ball as time expired to preserve the Gauchos' second straight hair-raising victory.
Bonds established a new career high with 18 points, while Santa Barbara sophomore center Jenna Green scored in double figures for the 16th time this season with 12 points. Fellow sophomore Kat Suderman contributed 10 points and six rebounds to the winning effort.
Lavender tallied 17 of her game-high 19 points after halftime, while Tiger senior forward Carolina Ruiz amassed a double-double of 17 points and 15 boards. UOP committed 15 second-half turnovers and finished with 25, although the Gauchos weren't much better with 22 miscues.
UCSB continues its season-long five-game road swing at Cal Poly on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 2:00 p.m.