Feb. 26, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A junior stole the show on Senior Day in the Thunderdome.
Emilie Johnson had 27 points to lead UC Santa Barbara past Cal State Northridge, 71-52, Saturday afternoon, extending the Gauchos' winning streak to a season-best six games.
Johnson had 19 points in the first half for UCSB, 17-10 overall and 11-4 in the Big West, as CSUN's defense held Meka Valentine in check for the first half. Johnson helped the Gauchos close the first half on a 15-4 run and take a 15-point lead into the locker room.
She scored the team's first nine points, pushing her past 1,000 for her career, becoming the 23rd member of UCSB's 1,000-point club. The Loomis, Calif. native finished 10 of 18 from the floor and 7-for-10 from beyond the arc, tying her career-high in three-pointers.
Valentine recovered, though, finishing with 12 points and 15 rebounds in her final regular-season game at the Thunderdome. She and Margaret Johnson were honored before the game, but the two of them will play once more in their home building as UCSB will have a first-round Big West Tournament game on Tuesday, March 8.
The Matadors (4-24 overall, 4-10 in the Big West) hung close with UCSB for a good portion of the first half, trailing just 19-18 with 8:14 to go. But, consecutive three-point plays by Nesbit and Angelei Aguirre helped UCSB get some breathing room before the team rattled off its impressive run to close the half.
Santa Barbara's defense held CSUN without a field goal in the final 4:33 of the first half to build its lead.
The lead ballooned to 30 with 4:30 to go, allowing head coach Lindsay Gottlieb the opportunity to take her seniors out of the game one at a time to a standing ovation.
UCSB finishes its regular season next Saturday at Cal Poly with a 4 pm game. The game will be aired live on AM 990 and online by clicking here with the pregame show starting at 3:30 p.m.
The Gauchos will then find out who they host on Tuesday, March 8 in the first round of the conference tourney. Tickets are available by clicking here or by calling (805) 893-UCSB (8272).