SANTA BARBARA, Calif.– UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team put together a complete game effort to blowout Occidental College 76-54 in their season opener. The Gauchos' point total was the team's highest since they dropped an identical amount at Loyola Marymount last season.
"Overall, I was extremely proud of our effort tonight," UCSB Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. "We had three players score in the double-digits, so we could live with a giving up 16 turnovers with the amount of possessions we had on the offensive end."
It was a game where the offense played free thanks to timely turnovers and rebounds UCSB posted on defense.
To close out the half, Nicole Nesbit was involved with UCSB's final six points, as she scored on a pair of jumpers and garnered an assist after zipping the ball from the top of the key to find Kendra Morrison who finished at the left block.
Nesbit also swiped the ball away from Tiffany Kho at midcourt, but could not get her lay up to fall before the halftime buzzer sounded. Regardless, UCSB went into the break with the commanding 39-26 advantage.
Nesbit lead the high-octane UCSB offense with 17 points, going 7-11 from the field, while also dishing out a game-high six assists.
Behind her was fellow senior Destini Mason who hit a career-best 16 points, eight of which she netted in the first four and a half minutes of the second half.
Having a career afternoon was sophomore Jasmine Ware who added career-highs of 12 points and four steals to go along with her five rebounds and three assists. Her previous high mark of seven points was garnered in last season's home opener against New Mexico State.
The Gauchos also edged the Tigers in the rebound category 42 to 27. Morrison and Mi'Chael Wright led UCSB with seven boards each.
UCSB did not break out on offense until they went on a 22-8 run to close out the first half, starting at the 7:09 mark. Occidental College had the 18-17 lead and were ahead for the previous two and a half minutes.
Morrison put the Gauchos back on top after she corralled an offensive rebound and laid it back up for the score.
Those two points were the first of 16 unanswered by the Gauchos as they jumped out ahead 33-18. Six Gauchos were involved in the scoring frenzy, and it was Mason and Ware who led the run with four points each.
Starting the second half, the Gauchos picked up right where they left off as they stormed out of the break with a 17-2 run to gain the 56-28 lead.
Nesbit gave UCSB its first points of the half with a pair of free throws. However, it was Mason who led the offensive charge as she scored six unanswered points following Nesbit's trip to the charity stripe.
From there, UCSB coasted to their largest win margin in the Carlene Mitchell era with the 22-point differential.
The Gauchos will return to game action on Saturday when they host Arizona at 2 p.m. Season tickets are still available. Get yours today by calling the Ticketing Office at 805-893-UCSB (8272) or by clicking here.