February 16, 2008

Gauchos Get It Done In Overtime Again, Defeat Cal Poly 74-72

Feb. 16, 2008

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Jessica Wilson tallied 20 points to lead all scorers, Lauren Pedersen finished with a career-high 15, and Sha'Rae Gibbons was one assist shy of her fist career double-double as UC Santa Barbara defeated visiting Cal Poly 74-72 in an overtime thriller Saturday afternoon in the Thunderdome.

The Gauchos' 13th consecutive victory wasn't easy, but they made plays down the stretch to knock off a hungry Mustang team and improve to 11-0 in the Big West in 2007-08. Santa Barbara, which held a record of 4-6 on Dec. 28, is now 17-6 overall this season.

Cal Poly had won the two previous meetings at the Thunderdome coming in and nearly pulled off a third, forcing overtime after trailing by as many as 10 points in the second half. With the loss, the Mustangs fall to 9-15 overall and 6-5 in the Big West.

Wilson reached the 20-point plateau for the third consecutive game, finishing 6-of-14 from the floor and 6-of-7 at the foul line, while dishing out three assists. The Sacramento, Calif. native was coming off back-to-back 21-point performances against UC Irvine and Cal State Bakersfield.

Kat Suderman scored 19 points on 8-for-17 shooting to go with eight rebounds and a career-high four blocks.

Pedersen had another outstanding performance against Cal Poly, eclipsing her previous career mark of 13 points that came in UCSB's 75-58 win over the Mustangs in San Luis Obispo last month. The junior guard was 6-of-10 from the field and tallied a season-high six rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and three steals in a career-high 36 minutes.

Gibbons tallied 11 points, a game-high 11 rebounds, and nine assists, finishing just short of the program's first triple double in several years. Both her rebound and assist totals were career-highs, shattering previous marks of five boards and six helpers, respectively. Gibbons has now scored 10 or more in four of the last six games.

UCSB is 6-0 this season when four or more players reach double figures.

Santa Barbara took a 49-39 lead with 12 minutes to play in the second half following a Wilson three pointer, but Cal Poly answered with seven unanswered points to pull within three with 9:12 remaining in regulation. Lisa McBride corralled an offense rebound and scored less than two minutes later to tie the game at 50-50 and Ashlee Stewart knocked down a long triple to give the Mustangs their largest lead of the game (53-50) with 6:38 left.

The Gauchos responded as Wilson converted a runner down the lane, got fouled, and made the free-throw to knot the score once again. The Mustangs held a 58-55 advantage a minute and a half later, but Pedersen knocked down back-to-back jumpers to give UCSB a 59-58 lead with 3:30 to play.

The teams traded baskets until Pedersen hit a free throw to put the Gauchos on top 65-62 with 57 seconds to play. After a timeout, Megan Harrison sank a three from the left side to tie the game at 65-65 with 14 second remaining. Santa Barbara had a decent look to win it regulation, but Jordan Franey's jumper was just short and the game went into overtime.

Tied at 69-69 after 2:23 in the extra session, Gibbons found Whitney Warren for an easy lay-up in transition to give UCSB a two-point advantage. Sparkle Anderson then sank Cal Poly's fifth three pointer of the afternoon on the next possession and the Mustangs took a 72-71 lead with 1:13 remaining.

Wilson and the Gauchos would not be denied however, and the senior guard hit a jumper from outside to put the home team on top for good, 73-72 with 35 second left on the clock. Ashlee Brown came up with a big steal on the ensuing possession and Pedersen converted one of two free throws to give Santa Barbara the final 74-72 advantage with 11 seconds remaining.

Anderson missed a jumper as time expired and UCSB held on for its 11th straight win in conference play.

The Gauchos are now 4-0 in overtime contests this season, with three of those wins coming on their home floor. UCSB came back to defeat USC 69-63 on November 11 and knocked off Cal State Fullerton 59-58 January 12. Santa Barbara also recorded a 62-53 overtime win at UC Davis on January 24.

Freshman forward Kristina Santiago had a career game, leading the Mustangs with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Harrison finished with 13 off the bench, while McBride and Rebecca Tratter chipped in with 10 points apiece.

The Gauchos shot just under 43% for the game, while the Mustangs finished at 37.3%. Cal Poly held a 51-46 advantage on the glass with Santa Barbara allowing 19 offensive rebounds. UCSB had out-rebounded its last seven opponents entering Saturday's game. The Gauchos were just 17-of-31 at the free throw line, 54.8%, missing 10 shots in the second half, while the Mustangs finished 11-of-14, 78.6%.

Santa Barbara's homestand continues next week when Pacific and UC Davis visit the Thunderdome in week eight of Big West play. The Gauchos will take on the Tigers Thursday at 7:00 p.m., before squaring off with the Aggies Saturday at 2:00 p.m.