Jan. 21, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - For just the third time since 1995-96, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team lost a Big West Conference game at home, falling to Cal Poly 82-71 Saturday afternoon in the Thunderdome.
The Gauchos also saw their seven-game home winning streak snapped and fell to 8-8 overall, 3-2 in league play. Meanwhile the Mustangs - who won for the first time in Santa Barbara since Dec. 15, 1983 - improved to 9-6 and took over sole possession of second place in the Big West at 4-1.
The visitors held UCSB without a field goal for over eight minutes to open the game, building an early 18-7 lead following Michelle Henke's three-pointer. However CP found itself in early foul trouble, and the Gauchos responded with an 11-3 run that included six consecutive made free-throws. When freshman LaShay Fears converted a pair from the charity stripe with 8:20 to play before halftime her squad trailed just 22-21. Henke answered with another trifecta, and when Courtney Cameron connected from beyond the arc at the 4:36 mark Cal Poly held a 37-27 advantage. Cameron buried a long-range three-pointer as time expired on the first half to give the Mustangs a 49-37 cushion and all the momentum heading into the locker rooms. The visitors made eight-of-16 long-bombs and forced 19 Santa Barbara turnovers before intermission.
The home team pulled within 59-52 midway through the final period when sophomore Jessica Wilson scored on an acrobatic layup, but Cal Poly tallied the next seven points to push their lead back into double-figures. Trailing by 14 points with under four minutes to play, UCSB attempted one last rally, embarking on a quick 8-0 spurt ignited by junior Erin O'Bryan's only three-pointer of the afternoon. The run pulled Santa Barbara within 71-65 at the 3:08 mark, but a pair of Anderson free-throws and late trifecta by Henke sealed the Mustangs' victory.
Henke buried half of her 10 three-point attempts en route to a team-high 21-point performance, followed by 16 points from Cameron and 15 by Jessica Eggleston. Cal Poly out-rebounded the Gauchos 50-35, including a commanding 22-4 advantage on the offensive glass.
Wilson led all scorers with 22 points, making nine-of-11 attempts from the free-throw line. Meanwhile UCSB sophomore center Jenna Green posted her third career double-double in the form of 18 points and a personal best 13 rebounds. In addition to its rebounding woes, Santa Barbara hindered its effort by committing a season-high 29 turnovers.
The Gauchos will attempt to regroup during a season-long five-game road swing that begins on Thursday, Jan. 26 at Cal State Northridge. The Big West clash is slated for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off in the Matadome.