FULLERTON, Calif. – Behind a career game from Je Zhé Newton, UCSB (5-12, 2-1) picked up its first road win of the year with a 65-47 victory at Cal State Fullerton (2-14, 0-2) on Thursday night.
The Gauchos are now winners of four of their past five games, while the Titans' losing skid extends to 14 straight.
Newton finished the game as UCSB's scoring and rebounding leader with a career-high 15 points and seven boards. The center worked efficiently with her 5-7 shooting performance, while also going 5-6 at the foul line. As a team, the Gauchos sank nine of their 11 looks from the charity stripe.
Makala Roper and Jasmine Ware also reached double figures with 13 points apiece. Ware really took off in the second half with 11 points, including eight in the fourth quarter. Roper led UCSB with a trio of three-point shots, while she also added five rebounds – most of any Gaucho guard – and three assists. Onome Jemerigbe led UCSB to 17 assists with four of her own, matching Fullerton's team total in the category by herself.
While the team's offense cruised with a 49.0 shooting percentage, its defense was also stellar in limiting Fullerton to just a 32.7 clip. The Gauchos keyed in on the Titans' leading scorer Michelle Berry who was held to 6-23 shooting, finishing with 14 points.
The first half was tightly contested, as UCSB held a 26-24 lead by halftime. Newton shouldered the Gauchos on offense down the stretch – scoring five straight points – but Berry hit a buzzer beater from half court to end the half and cut UCSB's lead to two.
The Titans would later tie the score at 26-26 by the 8:38 mark in the third quarter, but the Gauchos soon took off on a 13-2 run to take the lead for good.
While Newton started the run with a lay up, it was Chaya Durr who provided the spark with six straight points of her own. The sophomore first grabbed an offensive rebound for a put back and finished on a strong take to the basket on the next possession. She capped off her own 6-0 run with another score off an offensive rebound. And for good measure, she added a block on the other end following that basket.
To close out the run, Roper drained a triple from the left wing, while Ware added the finishing touch with a midrange jumper at the 3:13 mark, moving UCSB's lead to 39-28. By the end of the period, the Gauchos outscored the Titans 20-10.
The fourth quarter was more of the same for Santa Barbara, as the team pushed its lead to as many as 20 points. The Gauchos opened the period with an 11-4 run, highlighted by Ware's five unanswered points. After the first five minutes of the quarter, the Gauchos held a 19-point lead and never looked back.