NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – If the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team hadn't built up enough resolve thus far this season with nine games decided by five points or less, then the Gauchos now have enough resolve after Saturday's thrilling 71-67 double overtime victory over Cal State Northridge.
UCSB knocked off the first place team in the Big West thanks in part to a brain cramp from CSUN head coach Jason Flowers late in the second overtime. With about 20 seconds remaining Haley White drove the lane and had the ball stripped by Kelsey Adrian.
Adrian was not fouled and then passed to Emilie Johnson, who was also not fouled by the Matadors and Flowers then was given a technical foul for screaming at the referees. He thought that Adrian had stepped out of bounds as the Gauchos (8-9 overall, 3-3 in the Big West) led by a point.
Johnson sank the two free throws, then on the possession that comes with a T, she hit two more to essentially put the game out of reach with under 15 seconds remaining. In all, Johnson sank all eight of her free throws to end up with 17 points.
But it was nothing in comparison to what CSUN (10-9, 5-2) did at the free throw line. The Matadors shot 38 free throws – and made 27 – to stay in the game despite shooting 31.1% from the field. CSUN, in fact, shot just 22.7% in the first half and only 28.0% in the second half as the Gauchos' stifling defense did its job again, but the Matadors were able to stay in it due to the charity stripe.
Jessica Duarte hit a three-pointer for Northridge right before the buzzer in regulation to send it into overtime, a shot that hit the side of the rim, went straight up and then hit the backboard and fell through with 2.7 seconds remaining.
That erased what was an 11-point Gaucho lead midway through the second half as CSUN stormed back to send it to OT, but it was Kelsey Adrian who had her chance at heroics in the first overtime.
Trailing by three with under 30 seconds left, Adrian buried a trey from the corner in front of the Gauchos' bench to tie it up at 58-apiece to send it to a second OT.
Adrian finished with 17 points, tying her career-high, and eight rebounds for the Gauchos, one of three players in double figures. Nicole Nesbit finished with 11 points off the bench.
It was UCSB's first double overtime win since Jan. 23, 2009 at Cal State Fullerton.
UCSB hosts UC Davis and Pacific next week in the Thunderdome on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets are available by clicking here or calling 893-UCSB.
All UCSB games are broadcast live on AM 990 in Santa Barbara and online by clicking here, with the pregame show starting a half-hour prior to tip-off.