SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – For much of the season sometimes it has felt that UC Santa Barbara couldn't make anything.
For the second half on Thursday night, it was as if the Gauchos couldn't miss.
UCSB shot an eye-popping 75% (15 of 20) from the field in the second half, turning around a halftime deficit into a 52-39 victory over Cal State Fullerton. The win snaps a four-game losing skid by the Gauchos and it represents the 39th straight victory by UCSB over the Titans, the second-longest active streak between conference teams in the nation.
Santa Barbara improves to 9-13 overall and 4-6 in the Big West with the victory while CSUF falls to 9-14, 2-9.
Yet, for much of the first half, it seemed like Fullerton might end its streak vs. UCSB and hand the Gauchos their fifth consecutive defeat.
The Gauchos shot just 25.9% from the floor in the first 20 minutes and appeared out of sorts offensively. However, led by its patented defense, UCSB never let Fullerton slip away. The Titans only took a 19-16 lead into the break.
Then, the floodgates opened. UCSB took off on a 15-5 run to open the second half and turned it into a 33-12 run with just over five minutes remaining to run the Titans out of the Thunderdome.
Kirsten Tilleman finished with a double-double, scoring 14 points and pulling down 12 rebounds as UCSB made sure to dominate the paint. Sweets Underwood had eight points and seven rebounds as the Gauchos outscored CSUF 26-8 in the paint. Santa Barbara also dominated the boards, outrebounding the Titans, 38-27.
UCSB will host Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday at 2 pm in the annual breast cancer awareness game, titled "Play for Kay" in a nod to legendary coach Kay Yow. UCSB's players will decorate their pink shooting shirts which are available for purchase and all fans are encouraged to wear pink gear to the game. The first 250 fans will receive pink pom-poms.
Tickets are available by calling 893-UCSB or online by clicking here.