Feb. 11, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - On a night when UC Santa Barbara inducted another legend in its inaugural "Legends of the `Dome" class - this being former women's basketball coach Mark French - a legendary performance from Mekia Valentine was not enough for the Gauchos to overcome UC Riverside.
The Highlanders outlasted UCSB, 60-54, in overtime on Thursday at the Thunderdome to improve to 11-13 overall and 8-3 in the Big West. The Gauchos fall to 8-15, 5-6. The 15 losses secures UCSB's first losing regular season since 1989-90 and the Gauchos six conference defeats are the program's most since going 11-7 in the 1993-94 season.
Valentine, however, did her best to prevent those ignominies from happening. The junior center had 26 points and 22 rebounds - both career highs - to go with five blocked shots. Her 22 rebounds are second-most in school single-game history behind Leslie Ford's 25 set on Jan. 21, 1977 vs. Cal State Northridge. Valentine's 22 boards are the most by a Gaucho since Amy Smith had 20 at USC on Dec. 19. 1996.
"A lot of that (rebounding) comes from playing defense," said Valentine, whose layup with 0:07 left in regulation tied the game at 49-49.
UCSB did a good job of playing defense. The Gauchos allowed UCR to shoot just 33.9% from the field. But the one place they couldn't match the Highlanders was at the free throw line. UCR was 15 of 20 from the charity stripe while the Gauchos were just 7-for-16.
UCSB will travel to face Long Beach State on Saturday in the Pyramid at 4 p.m. The game airs live on AM 990 and will stream live online at UCSBgauchos.com.
All men's and women's basketball games will be broadcast live on AM 1490 and AM 990 again this year, and those games will also be available online, by clicking here.. And, UCSB Athletics is proud to announce that the baseball team will have over 20 games broadcast live on the air and through our website, UCSBgauchos.com.
UCSB Athletics has a new weekly radio show called Talk'n Gauchos which airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1490 KIST. The show is broadcast live from State & A Bar and Grill, located on the corner of State Street and Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara. Fans are encouraged to attend the show for free gear and ticket giveaways or to even e-mail a question in to one of the guests and have it read live over the air. The show also airs live online via audio streaming and fans can click here to check out the entire lineup of live audio streaming online.