Gibbons, UCSB Cruise Past Pacific, 71-58

Jan. 26, 2008

Box Score

STOCKTON, Calif. - Sha'Rae Gibbons scored 19 of her career-high 23 points in the second half to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 71-58 victory over Pacific Saturday afternoon at the Alex G. Spanos Center. Kat Suderman added 16 points and Jordan Franey chipped in with 12 as the Gauchos improved to 7-0 in Big West play.

With the victory over the Tigers, UCSB swept both games on its Northern California trip, winning its seventh and eighth games in a row to improve to 12-6 overall this season. The first place Gauchos return to the Thunderdome this Thursday for a showdown with defending Big West Conference champion UC Riverside riding their longest winning streak since the 2004-05 campaign. Santa Barbara will look to snap a five-game skid against Riverside with tip-off scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

Gibbons was an impressive 8-of-12 from floor to lead all scorers and her 23 points eclipsed a previous high of 20 that came in the Gauchos' 95-82 victory at Santa Clara Nov. 23. The Sacramento, Calif. was 7-for-8 at the free-throw line and also finished with three assists.

Suderman bounced back from an off game at UC Davis Thursday night to finish with 16 points on 8-for-15 shooting. She also hauled in a game-high eight rebounds and tied a career mark with three steals. 12 of her points came before halftime. Franey played well off the bench for the second game in a row, making her first four shots on the way to a season-high 12 points. She finished 5-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-3 from the three-point line. The San Diego native's previous high for the year came when she finished with 11 points against the Broncos in late November.

UCSB came out of the gates firing for the second game in a row and raced out to an 11-3 lead after scoring on five of its first seven possessions. Suderman hit a jumper in the paint, Lauren Pedersen knocked down a triple, Whitney Warren scored back-to-back baskets inside, and Franey hit a baseline jumper to put the Gauchos in front by eight with 16:02 remaining in the opening half.

Santa Barbara led 15-3 following another Suderman jumper and held an advantage of at least eight points for the next five minutes until UOP's Amy VanHollebeke hit a three and Karen Dawkins sank a pair of free-throws to pull the Tigers to within six (24-18) with 5:14 left in the period. Pacific trimmed the deficit to 28-23 after VanHollebeke hit two at the stripe, but UCSB got four points apiece from Suderman and Gibbons and closed the half on an 8-3 run and take a 36-26 into the locker room at the break.

Gibbons hit back-to-back baseline jumpers to open the second half and Santa Barbara scored the first seven points of the period to take its biggest lead at 43-26 with 13:58 remaining.

The home team refused to roll over however, and used a 16-7 run over the next five and a half minutes to climb within eight at 50-42, following VanHollebeke's second triple of the game.

But Gibbons was fouled on the Gauchos' next possession and hit two free-throws to put UCSB back in front by double-digits, 52-42 with 7:50 left to play. Gibbons went on to score nine points down the stretch - with four coming at the charity stripe - as UCSB's lead hovered around 10 until the final minute when Kelsey Lavender's jumper cut the deficit to nine (67-58). Gibbons and Jessica Wilson then hit a pair of free-throws each for the final 71-58 margin.

The Gauchos shot 54.8% in the first half and finished at 48.3% for the game, while the Tigers shot just under 41%. UCSB held a 38-25 advantage on the glass, with 14 boards coming on the offensive end of the floor.

Santa Barbara dominated the paint, outscoring Pacific 36-10 and held a 14-0 edge on fastbreak points. The Gauchos improved to 10-0 when leading at halftime this season.

VanHollebeke and Jonae Young scored 14 points to lead the Tigers, while Lavender added 13.

Pedersen finished with a career-best nine assists in 34 minutes for UCSB, also a career-high.