Gauchos' Winning Streak Reaches 14 With 62-51 Victory Over Pacific

Feb. 21, 2008

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Sha'Rae Gibbons scored 14 points and Jessica Wilson added 11 along with a career-high eight steals to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 62-51 over visiting Pacific Thursday night in the Thunderdome.

The Gauchos swept the season series with the Tigers for the fifth consecutive year to keep their impressive unbeaten streak going. UCSB has won its last 14 games to improve to 18-6 overall this season and remains flawless against Big West competition at 12-0. The 14-game winning streak is the program's longest since the 2001-02 squad went 16-0 in conference play and won 22 straight overall.

The Tigers had won three of their last four entering Thursday's contest but met a Santa Barbara team that has had their number in recent years, claiming the last 12 match-ups. With the loss, Pacific falls to 11-15 overall and 6-7 in the Big West.

The Tigers last win over the Gauchos came on January 18, 2003.

Gibbons scored 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting to lead the way for UCSB, reaching double figures for the fifth time in the last seven games. She was a perfect 5-for-5 at the free-throw line and grabbed four rebounds, but had 10 turnovers in the game.

Wilson finished 5-of-13 from the floor on the way to her fourth consecutive double-digit scoring effort and tallied seven rebounds, two assists, and a block. Her eight steals was a personal best and led the way for a Gaucho squad that tallied 17 for the game. Wilson's previous high was seven that came against Utah Valley State January 11, 2007.

Lauren Pedersen finished with nine points, a game-high five assists, and four steals, while Margaret Johnson hauled in a game-high eight rebounds and scored seven points in her third-career start.

Wilson opened the game with back-to-back jumpers and then hit another one four minutes later as Santa Barbara raced out to a 12-4 lead after the first 5:20. Pacific scored six unanswered points to pull within two, but Pedersen found Wilson on the wing for a triple and Gibbons converted a three-point play to push the lead back to eight, 18-10 with 12:29 remaining.

Ashlee Brown converted two free-throws to give the Gauchos a 30-20 advantage with 3:48 left in the half, but Amy VanHollebeke scored eight points during an 11-3 Tiger run to close the period and UOP cut UCSB's lead to just two (33-31) at the break.

Kelsey Lavender then hit one of her five threes to open the second half, giving the Tigers their only lead of the game, 34-33.

Johnson scored on the next two possessions, however, and Gibbons followed with consecutive baskets as the Gauchos scored 11 unanswered to take a 44-34 advantage with 16:06 remaining. Santa Barbara then opened up its biggest lead of the game at 55-40 following a Brown lay-up with 9:14 left.

Pacific was able to pull within seven (56-49) with 4:11 left to play after the Gauchos went over five minutes without a field goal, but Wilson came up with a big steal and took it the distance to stem the tide. Gibbons hit two free-throws two minutes later to give the home team an 11-point cushion and UCSB held on for the 62-51 final margin.

Santa Barbara limited UOP to just 20 points in the second half and outscored the visitors 26-16 on points off turnovers. The Gauchos shot 40% for the game, while the Tigers finished at 35.3%. UCSB controlled the glass, 43-29, and held a 17-4 advantage in bench scoring.

Lavender led all scorers with 17 points, finishing 5-of-11 from the field. All 11 of her shots were from behind the three-point line. VanHollebeke scored 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting to go with six rebounds and four assists.

The Gauchos will look to keep rolling when they entertain UC Davis Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome. UCSB needed overtime to defeat the Aggies in the first meeting of the year on January 24.