SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A 22-8 run by UC Irvine midway through the second half was too much for the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team to handle on Thursday night as the upstart Anteaters knocked off UCSB, 61-53 in the Thunderdome.
The victory snapped a 10-game losing streak that UCI had vs. UCSB as the Anteaters used huge games from Kassandra McCalister and Jacquelyn Marshall to turn the tide.
McCalister had 21 points, six rebounds and six assists while Marshall had 19 points and both Anteater players proved huge in the second half. Marshall's consecutive three-pointers started the run – and gave UCI a lead it wouldn't relinquish. McCalister hit all three of her three-point attempts and also was adept at getting to the basket.
UCSB falls to 6-8 overall and 1-2 in the Big West. Irvine improves to 7-10, 3-2. The Gauchos host UC Riverside on Saturday afternoon in a 2 p.m. game. Tickets are available by calling 893-UCSB or clicking here.
Despite the Anteaters holding a 13-point lead with 6:51 to go, UCSB battled back. The Gauchos trailed by as many as 10 with 2:04 remaining. But a three-pointer from Emilie Johnson and a pair of buckets from Nicole Nesbit cut the lead to 54-51 with 0:32 to play.
However, after Nesbit's layup to make it a three-point game, Anete Klintsone got behind the UCSB defense and took a long baseball-style inbounds pass from McCalister for an uncontested layup to finish off the Gauchos.
Nesbit led UCSB with 14 points while Destini Mason scored a career-high 12 on 6 of 7 shooting. Kirsten Tilleman added 10 points and seven rebounds. While UCSB shot 46.9% from the floor in the second half, it was Irvine who shot 50% including a remarkable 5 of 7 from downtown.
Plus, UCI had nine offensive rebounds in the second half and outrebounded UCSB on the night, 40-34.
The Gauchos game vs. UC Riverside can be heard live online by clicking here or in Santa Barbara on AM 990 with the pre-game show starting a half-hour before tip-off.