Dec. 30, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A 10-day break from competition did little to slow down the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team, which defeated Pepperdine 70-60 Friday night in the Thunderdome for its third consecutive victory.
Following an 0-5 start to the season, the Gauchos will now take a 4-6 overall record into the New Year as they begin defense of their 10 straight Big West Conference titles. Meanwhile the Waves lost their fourth consecutive contest - all on the road - to fall to 4-10 in 2005-06.
The first half was a hotly-contested affair, with 14 lead changes, nine ties and neither squad amassing more than a three-point cushion. The visitors built an early 8-6 lead before UCSB scored five unanswered points ignited by sophomore Kat Suderman's back-to-back baskets. Santa Barbara again held a three-point advantage with just over 10 minutes before halftime until Sherrie Bond answered the challenge by connecting from beyond the arc and Teiosha George tallied a layup. The see-sawing continued down the stretch, when Gaucho sophomore Jessica Wilson erased a two-point Pepperdine advantage with a trifecta at the 1:29 mark, giving her squad a 35-34 lead that would ultimately be the score at intermission.
Both teams came out cold to open the second period, with nobody scoring until Daphane Kennedy hit paydirt at the 16:27 mark to put Pepperdine back on top. A LaShay Fears free-throw on Santa Barbara's next possession ended the home team's drought, and ignited an 8-0 run that included baskets from Suderman, Wilson and freshman Shantel Thomas. UCSB's lead swelled to 52-40 with 8:36 remaining on a Karena Bonds three-pointer, but the visitors tallied 12 of the next 13 points to pull within one as the clock ticked down to 6:22.
Foul trouble, however, halted the Waves' momentum, as Santa Barbara went to the charity stripe repeatedly down the stretch. Following the Pepperdine rally the Gauchos' drained five of their next six free-throw attempts - including three straight from sophomore center Jenna Green - to gain some breathing room at 60-52 with just over four minutes left. Meanwhile the Waves could pull no closer than six points on several occasions while being whistled for a whopping 17 infractions after halftime.
For the second time in the last three contests, a quartet of Gauchos scored in double-figures, led by Green's game-high 17. Wilson recorded 12 points and senior guard Karena Bonds added 10 - all after halftime - while Suderman enjoyed her first career double-double in the form of 11 points and 11 rebounds. For the first time this season, UCSB won despite losing the battle of the boards, 41-39.
Boyd led all Pepperdine scorers with 15, followed by Kennedy (13) and George (11). The Waves also owned a higher shooting percentage, 39.7% to 38.9%, but committed 21 turnovers compared to only 15 by the home side.
The Gauchos open Big West play on Monday, Jan. 2, hosting UC Riverside in the Thunderdome at 7:00 p.m.