February 3, 2007

Gaucho Offense Puts Up Season-High In 90-64 Victory Over UC Davis

Feb. 3, 2007

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Chisa Ononiwu led all scorers with 20 points and hauled in a career-high nine rebounds to lead the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team to a 90-64 win over visiting UC Davis Saturday afternoon in the Thunderdome. The offense bounced back from a tough performance on Thursday to score its highest output of the season and make all 23 free-throw attempts in the win.

UCSB improves to 12-10 overall after winning for the eighth time in the last 10 games, while UC Davis fell to 9-14 this season.

The Gauchos produced another stellar effort offensively, finishing 29-of-59 from the field, 49.2% for the game. After making just 2-of-7 three-point attempts in the first half, Santa Barbara sank 7-of-12 in the second to finish 47.4% (9-19) from beyond the arc. The Gauchos' most impressive statistic however, came at the free-throw line, where the team finished a perfect 23-of-23. A week after setting two school records for three-point shooting, UCSB eclipsed the all-time mark for single game free-throw percentage of 95.2% with its performance on Saturday. The Gauchos made 20-of-21 tries at the charity stripe in a game against UC Irvine January 30, 1999.

Santa Barbara's total of 90 points was also a season-high, erasing the 89 points the Gauchos put up last Saturday against Pacific.

Ononiwu, who finished 9-of-15 from the floor and scored 20 against the Aggies for the second time this season, was one of five Gauchos to score in double figures. Junior center Jenna Green, who struggled in her previous two outings against Davis, got going early and made 6-of-10 shots for 17 points. Green also grabbed five rebounds and blocked two. Freshman Jordan Franey bounced back from an 0-for-8 performance in the loss to Stanford with 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting coming off the bench, while sophomore point guard LaShay Fears scored 12 and tied a career mark with seven assists, and Jessica Wilson was 3-for-5 and finished with 11 points after missing Thursday's game with a concussion.

Laura Thomas scored 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-8 from downtown to lead the Aggies. Genevieve Costello, Kirsten Commins, and Haylee Donaghe all added 11.

After UC Davis took an early 4-2 lead on a pair of baskets by Commins, Ononiwu made a back-to-back jumpers at the free-throw line and Wilson converted a layup to give UCSB an 8-4 advantage at the 16:14 mark. The Gauchos went up by six with 8:33 remaining in the first half following two free-throws from Green and pushed their advantage to 12 at 31-19 three minutes later after Whitney Warren made two at the line.

The Aggies used an 11-5 run keyed by a Costello triple to cut the deficit in half at 36-30 with 1:56 left until halftime, but Santa Barbara scored six of the final eight points of the half to take a 42-32 lead into the locker room. Both teams shot just over 42% in the opening period.

Davis shaved two points off the lead at 51-43 following a three-point from Thomas four minutes into the second half, but the Gauchos responded once again. UCSB went back up by 12 after Fears was fouled and sank two free-throws at the 14:03 mark and then pulled away, taking a commanding 17 point lead less than four minutes later following consecutive hits from downtown by Wilson and Fears.

Santa Barbara was in control for the final 10 minutes and eventually enjoyed its largest advantage of 26 at the final horn.

The Gauchos controlled the glass, out-rebounding the visitors by a 38-23 margin, and pulled down 15 rebounds on the offensive end. UCSB got great all-around production offensively as eight of the 10 players that got in the game scored, leading to a 33-11 advantage in bench scoring. Santa Barbara turned the ball over just 14 times and scored 23 points off 17 giveaways for Davis.

UCSB resumes Big West Conference play on the road next week at UC Irvine Thursday, February 8 with tip-off scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The Gauchos will then take on Long Beach State Saturday at 5:00 p.m.