March 16, 2006
FRESNO, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos women's basketball team fell to Fresno State 78-59 Thursday in the preliminary round of the Postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament at the Save Mart Center.
The Gauchos, making their 11th consecutive postseason appearance, conclude their 2005-06 campaign at 16-14, while the Bulldogs improve to 23-7 and host UNLV in first-round WNIT action on Sunday afternoon.
UCSB jumped out to an early 5-0 lead before the Bulldogs made their first basket at 17:55. The Gauchos lead would be short-lived after the Bulldogs kept UCSB scoreless for four minutes, kicking off an 11-3 Fresno State run. In the midst of the Bulldogs' scoring streak Tierre Wilsons two-point bucket at 11:51 gave FSU the lead.
Fresno State would take 13-12 lead and run with it. In the final six minutes of the first half, the Bulldogs went on a 19-4 scoring rampage, which was assisted by a turnover-plagued Gaucho squad who handed the ball over 17 times. FSU headed into the locker rooms leading the Gauchos, 41-24.
The 17-point first-half deficit was too much for UCSB to overcome and the Gauchos would eventually fall to the Bulldogs, 78-59. Fresno State,s largest lead of the game came when Wilson knocked in a three-pointer, giving the Bulldogs a 27-point advantage. UC Santa Barbara drops to 2-2 in WNIT action, and holds an overall postseason record of 9-13.
Turnovers were the difference in tonight's game with Fresno State scoring 34 points off of Santa Barbara's mistakes. The Gauchos were only able to chalk-up eight points the Bulldogs' 13 errors.
For the game, the Gauchos shot 39.0 percent (23-of-59), while the Bulldogs made 41.8 percent (33-of-79). FSU held a 44-43 advantage on the boards.
Freshman guard Whitney Warren led UCSB with a career-high 12 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds, a total matched by sophomore center Jenna Green. Tierre Green led the Bulldogs with 19 points, followed by Mirenda Swearengin's 15.
UC Santa Barbara earned a spot in the WNIT by virtue of winning a share of the Big West Conference regular season championship and then earning a No. 1 seed in last week's league tournament. The Postseason WNIT expanded to 40 teams in 2006 to accommodate a specific goal - to give more playing opportunities to schools which win their regular-season conference title but don't capture an NCAA Tournament automatic bid or at-large berth.