Riverside's Big Second Half Downs Gauchos

Jan. 16, 2010

Box Score

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - All five UC Riverside starters scored in double figures and the Highlanders' switch to a zone defense in the second half was enough to defeat UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team, 77-60, on Saturday evening at the Student Recreation Center.

After clawing back from a 12-point deficit in the first half, UCSB had tied the score at 35-35, but Rheya Neabors hit a 3-pointer to finish the first half and the Highlanders didn't stop making triples the rest of the game. UCR nailed six 3-pointers in the second half and shot 52.4% from downtown for the game.

It was the second straight game UCSB allowed its opponent to shoot over 50% from 3-point range after Long Beach State hit 54.5% of its bonus bombs on Thursday.

UCSB falls to 5-12 overall and 2-3 in Big West play while UCR is 5-12, 2-2. The 2-3 conference mark is UCSB's first under .500 mark this deep into conference play since Feb. 1991.

The Gauchos turned the ball over its first five possessions in the second half and the Highlanders took advantage. UCR built upon its three-point halftime lead and jumped out to a 45-35 lead.

"That was the big adjustment," head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said about UCR head coach John Margaritis changing to a zone defense. "We did well in the first half and we're getting some good looks but he changed up the defense and that made us struggle."

UCSB cut the lead to 53-49 on Meagan Williams' basket, but UCR then went on a quick 6-0 spurt and the Gauchos never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

Williams led UCSB with 18 points, matching her season-high, to go with seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Mekia Valentine had 13 points, three rebounds and two blocked shots and Emilie Johnson added 11 points.

UCR was led by Alyssa Morris' 21 points while Marissa Rivera had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Gauchos rallied from an early 12-point deficit in the first half and even took a three-point advantage with just under three minutes to play. However, UC Riverside tied it at 35-apiece and after Mekia Valentine missed a pair of free throws with 12.9 seconds left, Rheya Neabors nailed a 3-pointer with 0:04 left in the first half for a 38-35 halftime lead.

UCSB won't play again for a week, playing at Cal State Fullerton next Saturday, Jan. 23 at 5 pm. The game can be heard live on AM 990 or by clicking clicking here..

UCSB Athletics has a new weekly radio show called Talk'n Gauchos which airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1490 KIST. The show is broadcast live from State & A Bar and Grill, located on the corner of State Street and Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara. Fans are encouraged to attend the show for free gear and ticket giveaways or to even e-mail a question in to one of the guests and have it read live over the air. The show also airs live online via audio streaming and fans can click here to check out the entire lineup of live audio streaming online.

UCSB Athletics is proud to introduce GKids - its new official kids club! GKids members will receive a free GKids t-shirt, free admittance to tons of Gaucho games, opportunities to be ball boys and girls at games, a special birthday greeting from Olie (the new GKids mascot) and much, much more! For more information on GKids, or to become a member, please click here.