Four Score in Double Figures as UCSB Buries UCR

Feb. 12, 2011

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Yes, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team still remembered very well what happened last time they played UC Riverside.

And, yes, the Gauchos took out their month-long frustration on the Highlanders.

After a 33-point defeat a month ago in Riverside, it was the Gauchos' turn to do the embarrassing. Four players scored in double figures and UCSB held UCR to just 23.1 percent shooting in a 59-37 victory on Saturday, the team's fourth win in five games.

The Gauchos improve to 14-10 overall and 8-4 in the Big West while UCR falls to 13-10, 6-4. The victory moves UCSB into at least a second place tie depending on the outcome of the UC Davis-Long Beach State game.

"I couldn't be more proud," head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "As a regular season goes, this has to be up there one of the best in awhile - for reasons people outside our locker room don't even know. We had a struggle down there. To come back and beat them today doesn't just happen today. It speaks to the commitment and the players sticking together. We've had some bumps along the way, but they've been dialed in."

Nicole Nesbit and Sweets Underwood each had 15 points off the bench to lead the Gauchos while Mekia Valentine had 13 points and 18 rebounds and Emilie Johnson added 10 points.

For Valentine, it was her ninth double-double this season and the 18 rebounds tied a season-high. She has grabbed double-digit rebounds in five of her past seven games and is averaging 10.2 boards per game this season. In conference play, it's an even better 12.5 per game.

UCSB made sure not to just avenge its 81-48 defeat to UCR, but to get revenge from it. The Gauchos brought an intensity from the opening tip and turned it into a double-digit lead midway through the first half. Santa Barbara went up by 13 on Valentine's layup with 6:32 to go and Nicole Nesbit's three-pointer at the buzzer gave UCSB a 30-17 lead at halftime.

"This shows we can play with anybody as long as we play as a team and play with energy," sophomore forward Sweets Underwood said. "We can still get better. There's a lot of areas we can still improve. But we're playing some of our best basketball."

UCSB pushed its lead to 20 points on an Underwood layup with 7:23 to go and had a double-digit lead for all but one possession of the second half.

Nesbit scored 10 of her points in the second half in setting a new career-high. Johnson had four assists, two blocks and two steals and Underwood added nine rebounds.

UCSB outrebounded UCR, 50-28 and had 15 second-chance points. The presence of Valentine and Underwood in the post also helped UCSB score 18 of its points in the paint.

Santa Barbara travels to Cal State Fullerton next Thursday for a 7 p.m. tip-off. Josh Suchon will be broadcasting the pregame show live online by clicking here and on the air at AM 990 KTMS.

The Gauchos return home with a 2 p.m. game vs. Seattle on Sunday, Feb. 20 in what will be the team's annual Pink Zone game. Please click here for information on the event.

Tickets are available online by clicking here or by calling (805) 893-UCSB (8272).