Feb. 5, 2011
DAVIS, Calif. - The Gauchos rode Emilie Johnson's hot hand for as long as they could - and she delivered 24 points and some crucial three-pointers down the stretch - but it was not enough as UC Davis topped UC Santa Barbara, 74-70, on Saturday afternoon at The Pavilion.
A three-point barrage in the second half allowed UC Davis to pull away despite the best efforts of Johnson, who hit four of her career-high seven three-pointers, in the final 1:10 to keep UCSB (12-10 overall, 6-4 in the Big West) close.
But the Aggies nailed seven of their 12 three's in the second half - including five during a seven minute stretch - to distance themselves from Santa Barbara.
Trailing by 12 with 3:43 to go after Paige Mintun's three-pointer, things appeared bleak for the Gauchos. However, Nicole Nesbit hit a jumper and Kelsey Adrian buried a three-pointer to cut it to 64-57.
UCD (17-5, 7-3) built the lead back to 12 with 1:17 to go and Johnson sprang into action.
The junior from nearby Loomis, Calif. drilled a three-pointer to make it 69-60 and then hit another while being fouled, completing the four-point play and making it 69-64 with just under a minute left. After a pair of Aggie free throws, Johnson struck again with a triple to make it 71-67 with 44 seconds left.
Johnson's trey with 14 seconds left made it 73-70 but a free throw by Hana Asano ended the Gauchos' hopes of the comeback.
"It was one of those things where you don't want to lose to the Aggies again," Johnson said. "They're a great team. I just got the mentality that I didn't want to lose. I wasn't going home without a fight. I know every player on this team, 1 through 11, can't wait to play them again in March."
Johnson, who is coming off a career-high 31-point night on Thursday at Pacific, was 8 of 19 from the floor including 7 of 13 from downtown. She added six assists, four rebounds and a steal. The 55 points combined were a two-game high for her.
"Emilie is player who makes plays and is a player who hits big shots and that's what we need her to do," Adrian said. "She's a big-time player."
Valentine finished with 17 points and nine rebounds while Adrian had 13 points. Nesbit added nine points and five assists. Angelei Aguirre added five assists.
Nicole Nesbit and Emilie Johnson buried long three-pointers in succession late in the first half to give the Gauchos their first lead of the game at 24-19 with 3:40 to go. Melissa Zornig canned a trey with under a minute and a half to go for a 27-24 lead. But, a UCD layup and a three-pointer from Lauren Juric as time expired in the first half to give the Aggies a 29-27 lead at the break.
Statistically, the game was close with UCD shooting 43.6% and UCSB hitting 43.9% of its shots while the Gauchos had 37 rebounds to the Aggies' 29.
The Gauchos host UC Irvine on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome. Tickets are available online by clicking here or by calling (805) 893-UCSB (8272).