Jan. 7, 2006
LONG BEACH, Calif. - A number of winning streaks came to an end Saturday afternoon as the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team dropped a 58-52 decision to Long Beach State in the Pyramid.
After winning their last five games, the Gauchos fell to 6-7 overall and 2-1 in Big West play, simultaneously halting their streak of 45 consecutive victories over current league opponents since 2003. Meanwhile the 49ers ended a string of 28 straight losses to UCSB dating back to 1994, improving to 8-5 and 1-0 on the season.
The first half was not memorable for either squad, as both Santa Barbara and the Beach shot under 30%. After failing to score for the first three-and-a-half minutes, the visitors quickly scored 10 unanswered points to open a 10-2 cushion at the 14:49 mark. LBSU tallied the next eight points to knot the score but could not overtake the Gauchos, who led 22-19 at intermission.
The 49ers found their offense to open the final period, opening with a 10-2 run to erase their halftime deficit and pull ahead 29-24 courtesy of a Jeannie Saunders three-pointer with 17:10 to play. Long Beach State held its biggest lead of the game, 47-40, after two successful foul shots by senior Jayme Connors at the 6:48 mark, but UCSB responded with seven unanswered points capped by freshman Shantel Thomas' put-back of an air-ball with 3:11 remaining.
That basket put the visitors ahead 48-47, and after that possession the two longtime conference rivals traded one-point leads five times. When Green fed sophomore forward Kat Suderman for a layup at the 2:12 mark Santa Barbara held a 52-51 advantage, but 49er senior guard Crystal McCutcheon answered right back for what would eventually be the game-winning bucket.
Her squad held UCSB scoreless on its next possession, however Karena Bonds intercepted the 49ers' long outlet pass and took off running the other way with under a minute to play. She fed the ball to Green on the fast break, but the Gaucho post player was whistled for an offensive foul. The home team then buried five-of-six free-throws down the stretch to preserve its previously-elusive victory over Santa Barbara.
Green led the Gauchos with 15 points and 11 boards for her second career double-double, scoring all but three of her points after halftime. Junior guard Erin O'Bryan was the only other UCSB player in double-figures with 10 points. The visitors held a decisive 49-39 rebounding edge, but shot just 30.2% as a team. Santa Barbara also committed more turnovers than its opponent (15 vs. 14) for the first time in 13 games this season.
McCutcheon tallied 17 of her game-high 21 points after halftime, and also hauled down eight boards. Saunders and Figueroa netted 13 and 12 points, respectively, while Connors and fellow post player Meghan Griffith grabbed 12 and 10 rebounds, respectively. The Gauchos will seek their first road win of 2005-06 as they continue Big West play at UC Irvine on Monday, Jan. 9 at 7:00 p.m.