Nov. 23, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The University of Richmond overcame a five-point deficit late in the second half Wednesday night in the Thunderdome, spoiling UC Santa Barbara's home opener with a 61-55 win.
The loss means UCSB has opened a season 0-3 for the first time since 1993-94, and owns its longest losing streak (four games) since the year before that. Meanwhile the Spiders ended their two-game skid and improved to 2-2 on the young season.
Neither squad led by more than four points until UR broke open a 26-26 tie with 3:11 remaining in the first half by closing the period on an 8-0 run, the last six coming courtesy of senior guard Saona Chapman.
The visitors then scored the first basket after halftime before the Gauchos responded with nine unanswered points, pulling within 36-35 at the 15:16 mark. Richmond ended its drought with a three-pointer from senior point guard Araceli Gil - a Santa Barbara native - but the next four minutes would see two ties and an equal number of lead changes. Knotted 43-43 with 11:32 to play, the home team embarked on a 6-0 run, sparked by Jenna Green's layup followed by an Erin O'Bryan three-pointer.
The Gauchos' cushion would increase to 53-46 after Green again hit paydirt with 7:15 to play, but that was their last basket for over three minutes as the Spiders crept back within 53-50. Sophomore forward Kat Suderman bumped UCSB's lead back to five points on a jumper from the free-throw line at the 4:01 mark, however the 10-time defending Big West Conference champions would not score the rest of the evening.
Chapman nailed three straight baskets down the stretch, including a three-pointer from the right wing with 50 seconds left that put UP back on top 57-55. That clutch shot was preceded and followed by Santa Barbara turnovers, while Gil and Chapman buried a pair of free-throws to seal the comeback win. Richmond closed on a 16-2 run and scored the game's final 11 points.
For the third straight contest, UCSB was led in scoring by Green who finished with 17 points. The sophomore center also added seven rebounds, three blocks and a career-high five assists with no turnovers. O'Bryan also reached double-figures for the third straight game with 11 points, draining three-of-six from three-point land. Forward Autumn Nichols led all Gauchos with nine rebounds, while fellow senior Karena Bonds led all players with six assists.
Chapman tallied a game high 21 points, while the Spiders got a double-double from Mirna Mazic in the form of 13 points and 11 boards. While she struggled offensively, Gil made six steals, had five assists and an equal number of boards in her homecoming. For the third straight game Santa Barbara suffered a double-digit rebounding deficit as Richmond won the battle of the boards 50-34.
The Gauchos will seek their first win of 2005-06 during a two-game roadtrip to Utah which begins on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 3:00 p.m. PST against BYU (2-0 overall).