Dec. 19, 2010
QUEENS, N.Y. - To witness how much they've grown in just a month, all the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team needs to do is compare box scores against the two top-25 teams they have faced this season.
A month ago against then-No. 15 UCLA the Gauchos lost by 14 points in a game that didn't prove to be even that close.
On Sunday UCSB faced off against No. 18 St. John's in the championship game of the St. John's-Chartwells Holiday Classic, and though the Gauchos lost 56-47, there was a lot of optimism the team can carry with them for the rest of the year.
"I really liked our effort," UCSB head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "We shot ourselves in the foot, at times. When you play the 18th ranked team in the country, with that kind of talent, you have a small margin of error. Some of our mistakes came at critical times. We just didn't knock down enough shots and we had a few critical turnovers."
Though shooting just 32.0% from the field the Gauchos were in the game for its entirety, playing terrific defense against a Red Storm team that won the day before by 31 points. St. John's shot just 35.6%.
UCSB rallied from a 13-3 early deficit and eventually took a 21-17 lead on Emilie Johnson's three-pointer with 3:41 to go in the first half. However St. John's stormed back and scored the final eight points of the first half and then opened the second half by scoring the first four baskets to take a 29-21 lead with 18:51 remaining.
The Gauchos cut it to five points, 32-37, on a free throw by Sweets Underwood, but couldn't get closer than that the rest of the way. Yet, UCSB did keep the game within single digits for much of the second half, proving that a quick spurt offensively might have led to a victory.
Underwood and Johnson were named to the Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team. In the two games at Carnesseca Arena Underwood tallied 22 points and 17 rebounds while Johnson had 29 total points.
Kelsey Adrian led Santa Barbara with 10 points on Sunday, the only Gaucho to break into double digits. She also pulled down a team-best seven rebounds.
Underwood and Johnson each had eight points with Underwood grabbing six boards. Nicole Nesbit had six points and six rebounds to go with three assists.
The Gauchos finish their east coast road trip on Wednesday at Siena with an 8 a.m. PDT tip-off. The game will be broadcast live online by clicking here as Josh Suchon, as with every game, opens a pregame show 30 minutes before tip-off.
Santa Barbara does not return home until Jan. 6 when it hosts UC Davis.
Tickets to women's basketball games - and any home UCSB athletics event - can be purchased by calling (805) 893-UCSB or online by clicking here.
The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the Ticket Office, are also available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.