March 15, 2007

Gauchos Defeat San Diego 75-63 in WNIT First Round

March 15, 2007

Box Score

SAN DIEGO - Jenna Green scored a game-high 25 points and Jessica Wilson added 17 to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 75-63 victory over the University of San Diego in WNIT First Round action Thursday night in the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Gauchos shot 46.2% in the second half and outscored the Toreros by four to claim the postseason victory.

With the win, UCSB improves to 19-13 overall and will advance to face Oregon in the WNIT Second Round Saturday night in Eugene, Ore. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The Gauchos will look to avenge an 85-77 loss at the hands of the Ducks November 17 in the Thunderdome.

The win was Santa Barbara's first in postseason play since defeating No. 3 Houston in the second round of the NCAA Tournament March 22, 2004.

San Diego's season, the most successful in program history, comes to a close at 21-9 overall. The loss was just the Toreros' fifth this season on their home floor.

Green had another outstanding shooting performance, finishing 9-for-17 from the floor for her third consecutive game with at least 20 points. The junior center was 7-of-8 at the free-throw line, hauled in five rebounds, with two steals, and a block. Wilson was 6-for-11 from the field, including 2-of-3 from three-point range, to go with seven rebounds. Freshman guard Meagan Williams had a great game off the bench, scoring nine points on 4-of-7 shooting, while grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds in 25 minutes.

Freshman forward Morgan Henderson was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and 6-for-10 overall for 20 points to lead the Toreros. WCC Co-Player of the Year Amanda Rego added 10, as did senior Ashley Voisinet to round out the scoring leaders for USD.

The Toreros jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead in the first 1:16 on a pair of baskets from Kelly Winther and a Voisinet jumper. UCSB made just one of its first nine shots, while giving up three offensive rebounds on San Diego's first five possessions, all of which led to second chance points. UCSB would get it going however and quickly shook off the rust. Trailing 8-2 two minutes later, the Gauchos used a 13-1 run over the next 5:00 keyed by eight points from Green to take a 15-9 lead at the 11:44 mark.

Santa Barbara then extended its advantage to seven at 23-16 after a Wilson offensive rebound and put back with 7:16 left to play in the half. UCSB's cushion reached 10 - the highest of the opening half - at 28-18 with 4:25 left aftet a jumper from LaShay Fears and a Jordan Franey layup, but the Toreros responded with a 7-0 spurt keyed by a three-pointer and pair of free-throws from Henderson to pull within three, 28-25 less than two minutes later. Wilson answered with her second triple of the evening and the Gauchos scored eight of the final 11 points of the half to take a 36-28 lead into the locker room at the break.

Green scored on the Gauchos' first two possessions after intermission propelling Santa Barbara to a 40-30 lead less than a minute into the second half. The Toreros would not go quietly though, as Henderson's second hit from downtown at the 16:08 mark cut the deficit to just six, 44-38.

After UCSB got baskets from Green and Williams to push the lead back to 10 at 48-38, Amber Sprague scored inside and Henderson connected from deep again to cut the deficit in half, 48-43. The Toreros would close to within one (50-49) after a Kiva Herman jumper with 10:08 remaining before the Gauchos rattled off 11 straight over the next 5:31, including four points apiece from Williams and Green, to take a 61-49 advantage and put the game out of reach.

The Toreros continued to fight, answering with a 7-2 run capped off by Henderson's fourth three-pointe of the game to pull within seven at 63-56 with 3:19 left on the clock, but Green and Franey made a combined 10 free-throws down the stretch to put the game on ice.

UCSB shot 40.3% (25-of-62) for the game and made three of its eight three-point attempts, 37.5%, while USD shot 37.3% (25-of-67) and made six of 18 threes, 33%. Santa Barbara out-rebounded San Diego 45-40, despite 17 offensive boards from the Toreros. The Gauchos turned the ball over 18 times to 22 USD miscues.

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