January 5, 2008

Gauchos Double Up Cal State Northridge 88-44

Jan. 5, 2008

Box Score

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara knocked down 8-of-14 first half threes to build a 14-point halftime lead and then outscored Cal State Northridge 20-8 in the first 5:25 of the second, on the way to an 88-44 rout of the Matadors Saturday afternoon at the Matadome. Meagan Williams led five players in double figures with 16 points for the Gauchos, who won their third straight in convincing fashion.

Riding its first win streak of the season, UCSB improved to 7-6 with the victory to climb above the .500 mark for the first time in 2007-08. After the first week of Big West play the Gauchos find themselves in first place in the conference standings at 2-0.

Santa Barbara turned in its best performance of the season defensively, holding the struggling Matadors (0-12, 0-2 Big West) to just 44 points for the game. UCSB's previous low for an opponent was 61 points that came in their season-opening loss to BYU. The 44-point margin of victory was the Gauchos' largest since defeating Cal State Fullerton 83-40 on February 24, 2005. Santa Barbara also defeated the Titans by 45 points (86-41) on February 6, 2002.

UCSB shot the ball extremely well, making 35-of-65 shots from the field, which was is a new season-high at 53.8%, and recorded 24 assists on its 35 made baskets, also a high mark for the year. The Gauchos were almost as good from behind the three-point line, shooting 52.4% (11-21).

Eight days after scoring a career-high 28 points in UCSB's loss at Montana, Williams had another impressive performance off the bench, totaling 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting. She was a perfect 2-for-2 from three-point range.

Jessica Wilson was 6-for-11 from the floor and hit half of her six three-point attempts for 15 points, reaching double figures for the second consecutive game. She was also one of four Gauchos to haul in six rebounds, while dishing out three assists and recording a season-high five steals in what was one of her best all-around games of the season.

Kat Suderman followed her career-best 19-point performance against Long Beach State Thursday night with another solid effort against the Matadors and stingy defense from the 6-foot-4 duo of Katie Holloway and Crystal Hahs. She finished with 14 points on 7-for-13 shooting and tallied six rebounds, as did Chisa Ononiwu, who scored 11 points, hitting 3-of- 5 shots from beyond the arc.

Lauren Pedersen was back in the starting lineup after coming off the bench at LBSU and dished out a career-high seven assists in 20 minutes of action. She tied her career-high with 10 points, matching her total in the Gauchos' win over Ole Miss on December 29. The transfer from UCLA was 4-of-6 from the field and also tallied two rebounds, a blocked shot, and a steal.

UCSB jumped out to an 11-6 lead less than five minutes in following back-to-back triples from Ononiwu and then took a 21-12 advantage with 10:32 remaining in the first after Wilson connected from outside. The Gauchos continued to be the aggressors and pushed the margin to as many as 17 points in the opening period following a Williams three, but the Matadors' Ashley Blake hit one of two free-throws and Hahs scored inside with six seconds remaining to trim the lead down to 14 at the break.

Santa Barbara led 38-24 at the half.

UCSB and CSUN traded the first four baskets of the second before Suderman scored in the paint and Wilson hit a long three to put the Gauchos in front by a commanding 19 points (47-28) just 2:23 into the half.

It was all Santa Barbara from there.

UCSB out-scored Northridge 41-16 over the final 17:37 and held its largest lead (44 points) at the final horn.

All 11 Gauchos that were available Saturday got in the game and 10 of them found the scoring column.

Blake scored 11 points to lead the Matadors, but she was just 3-of-10 from the floor. Holloway and Hahs were the only other players to reach double figures for CSUN, scoring 10 points apiece. Whitney Ligon, the team's leading scorer coming into the game at 13.0 points per night, was held to just six on 2-of-13 shooting.

For the game, Northridge was 17-of-57, 29.8%, a low for a UCSB opponent this season. The Matadors made just 7-of-30 second half shots, 23.3%.

Big West play continues for Santa Barbara next week when UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton visit the Thunderdome. The Gauchos will host the Anteaters Thursday at 7:00 p.m. before entertaining the Titans Saturday at 2:00. UCSB was 2-2 at home during non-conference play.

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