Nov. 6, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - In its only exhibition tune-up for the 2005-06 season, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team fell 74-72 to Cal State Bakersfield in the Thunderdome on Sunday afternoon.
The Gauchos led 14-9 at the 16:39 mark of the first half following Jenna Green's layup, but the Roadrunners - who play at the NCAA Division II level - whittled away at their deficit and pulled ahead 17-16 three minutes layer on a basket by Gillian Lillich. CSUB would not trail the rest of the period, while the home team negated its 53.6% shooting performance before halftime by committing 21 turnovers. Bakersfield led 44-41 heading into the locker rooms.
UCSB came out a much more focused team following intermission, embarking on an 8-0 run capped by freshman forward Shantel Thomas' three-pointer. The Gaucho led again by five at 54-49 with 12:39 to play, but the visitors rallied once more. The Roadrunners enjoyed their biggest advantage at 65-58 with 6:08 remaining, and the best Santa Barbara could do from that point onward was even the score on three occasions.
Rhonda Johnson's layup at the 1:43 mark made the scoreboard read 74-70, however Green whittled UCSB's deficit to two on the opposite end of the court. Each team then misfired on its next possession, giving CSUB the ball under the Gaucho basket with 2.1 seconds remaining. Santa Barbara freshman guard Whitney Warren made a quick steal, but had the ball knocked loose before she could attempt a potential game-tying shot at the buzzer.
Sophomore guard Jessica Wilson led a quartet of Gauchos in double-figures with 15 points, followed by 11 from Green in her first game back after suffering a major knee injury last season. Thomas and senior guard Karena Bonds each tallied 10 points, while senior forward Autumn Nichols was UCSB's top rebounder with 10.
Lillich was the game's leading scorer with 16 points, doing a bulk of her damage from the free-throw line where she sunk eight-of-nine attempts. Meanwhile Johnson sunk nine-of-12 freebies en route to a 15-point performance, and matched Nichols' game-high 10 boards. Bakersfield won despite being out-shot 41.9% to 35.3% and out-rebounded 54 to 43.
The Gauchos will now have an 11-day break prior to their regular season opener at defending national runner-up Michigan State on Friday, Nov. 18. Due to an overscheduling of permissible preseason competition, UCSB was forced to cancel its second exhibition game against Cal Poly Pomona, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.