November 24, 2006

Gauchos Come Up Short Against No. 24 Louisville

Nov. 24, 2006

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - No. 24 Louisville used a 10-5 run in the final 5:01 of the game to hand the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team a 72-66 loss Friday night in the Thunderdome. Sophomore guard Whitney Warren led four players in double figures with a career-high 18 points in the loss.

Forward Angel McCoughtry scored a game-high 25 points to help the Cardinals remain unbeaten at 5-0 and win their first-ever game as a ranked team. The Gauchos, who lost for the third time in as many games, fall to 1-3 after winning their season-opener November 10.

Trailing 53-44, UCSB went on a 17-6 run to pull ahead for the first time in the second half, 61-59 after a driving lay-up from Warren with 5:20 left to play. Louisville responded on their next trip when McCoughtry drained a three-point shot to put the Cardinals ahead for good.

The Gauchos had their opportunities down the stretch, but missed a pair of free throws and two shots from behind the arc. Clinging to a 66-63 lead in the final minute, Louisville sealed the deal when McCoughtry put in an offensive rebound and was fouled on the play. She made the free throw to give the visitors a 69-63 advantage with 40 seconds left.

In addition to Warren, who returned to the starting lineup after missing last week's contest against Oregon with a head injury, three other Gaucho starters scored in double figures Friday. Junior center Jenna Green recorded a double-double in the first half and finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds, junior guard Jessica Wilson reached double figures for the fourth-straight game with 11, and freshman guard Jordan Franey chipped in with 10.

Warren had a previous career-best of 12 that came in UCSB's final game of the season a year ago, a loss at Fresno State in the WNIT Preliminary Round. The Lawndale, Calif. native finished one rebound shy of her career-best with nine.

Jazz Covington scored 15 points for Louisville.

"We definitely took some steps in the right direction tonight, even though we struggled shooting the ball," head coach Mark French said. "We crashed the offensive glass well, we had 14 assists on 24 made baskets, and we hung in there with a talented, tough team. As a young squad, we can definitely learn from games like these."

After making just one of their first 16 shots, the Gauchos trailed 9-2 at the 14:05 mark. From that point Santa Barbara made 9-of-11 to climb back into the game and knot the score at 19-19 following a Warren jumper. Freshman Meagan William's three pointer gave UCSB its biggest lead at 33-28 late in the first half.

The Cardinals closed the period on a 6-0 run, however, capped off by a Covington three-point hit to take a 34-33 lead into the locker room at halftime.

UofL opened the second half with an 8-0 spurt and built a 53-43 lead at the 12:47 mark, but the Gauchos answered with a 10-0 run of their own and tied the score following two Warren free throws. The score was tied eight times, and the lead changed hands a total of six times during the game.

Louisville made 49.1 percent of its shots, while UCSB shot just 36.4 percent. The Gauchos were aided by 17 offensive rebounds, six by Warren to 12 for the Cardinals, but lost the overall rebounding battle 39-38. Santa Barbara turned the ball over 14 times, while Louisville coughed it up 18 times.

ACC member North Carolina State is up next for UCSB. The Gauchos host the Wolfpack in the Thunderdome this Sunday with tip-off slated for 2:00 p.m.