SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A furious comeback by Pacific upended the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team on Saturday afternoon as the Tigers erased a six-point deficit in the final five minutes to claim a 52-48 win.
UCSB led for the majority of the second half, but a pair of big three-pointers from Erica McKenzie and Kendall Rodriguez closed the six-point gap and tied the game at 46-46 with 2:16 left, the 13th tie of the contest.
But it was the seventh lead change that doomed the Gauchos (8-11 overall, 3-5 in the Big West). A layup and a jump shot by the Tigers gave them a 50-46 lead with under a minute left and handed UCSB its second straight defeat. Pacific improves to 11-9, 4-4.
The Gauchos took their first lead since the opening minutes on a Melissa Zornig layup with 15:39 to play and seemed to have the game in control the rest of the way until the Tigers' deadly duo each buried their three-pointers.
That ruined an overall balanced game for the Gauchos who saw Nicole Nesbit score 10 points, Kirsten Tilleman score eight and then get six points apiece from Sweets Underwood, Kelsey Adrian and Destini Mason.
But it was the rebounding that hurt UCSB. The Tigers grabbed 39 boards compared to UCSB's 31 and Pacific used 13 offensive rebounds for 11 second-chance points. UOP also went 15 of 19 from the free throw line while the Gauchos were just 8 of 15.
Santa Barbara plays USC in a non-conference game on Tuesday night in the Galen Center before returning home to honor its Legend of the 'Dome on February 4. The Gauchos host Cal Poly in a 2 p.m. tip-off from the Thunderdome when UCSB will honor Erin Alexander at halftime.
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