Feb. 17, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Jenna Green turned in one of the more memorable performances of her career, leading all scorers with a career-high 29 points on 11-for-16 shooting from the floor, but it was not enough as UC Santa Barbara fell 71-68 to visiting Cal Poly Saturday afternoon in the Thunderdome. The junior center also reached the 1,000-point plateau in the loss, becoming the 21st player in program history to reach that mark.
Cal Poly won its sixth consecutive game and avenged a 68-62 loss to the Gauchos January 20 in San Luis Obispo. The Mustangs improve to 11-12 overall and 6-4 in conference play, remaining in the hunt for one the top three spots in the Big West standings. UCSB falls to 14-11 overall, but holds on to the second place spot in the Big West at 7-3.
Green needed just seven points on Saturday to become one of the distinguished members of UCSB's 1,000 Point Club. With 7:53 in the first half, she scored her eighth point of the game inside and became the first Gaucho to reach 1,000 points for her career since Mia Fisher (2001-05) did so two years ago. Green also easily surpassed her previous career best of 24 that came March 10, 2006 against Cal State Northridge in the Big West Tournament. The San Jose, Calif. native hauled in 12 rebounds was 7-for-8 at the free-throw line.
Junior guard Jessica Wilson was the only other Gaucho to score in double figures, finishing with 16 points - 10 of which came at the foul line - and a career-high 14 rebounds. She also added a game-high six assists, to go with two steals, and a blocked shot. Chisa Ononiwu and LaShay Fears both scored seven points despite poor shooting performances Saturday.
Jessica Eggleston scored 16 of her 25 points in the first half to lead the way for the Mustangs. The senior forward finished 9-of-15 from the floor, was 2-for-4 from three-point range, and grabbed a team-high six rebounds. Eggleston was the only player to reach double figures for Cal Poly.
The Gauchos came out sluggish in the first half and saw an early 7-4 advantage erased by a 7-0 Mustang run capped off with an Eggleston triple to give Cal Poly an 11-7 lead with 13:46 to play. Santa Barbara made just 10-of-29 shots in the first 20 minutes and Cal Poly took a 33-25 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Mustangs did not let up in the second period and held a 41-32 advantage with 15:26 remaining following a layup from Megan Harrison. UCSB then rattled off 11 unanswered points keyed by four points from Wilson to go back in front 43-41 less than three minutes later. The visitors then built another nine-point lead following back-to-back treys from Ashlee Stewart and Eggleston to lead 61-52 with 5:29 on the clock.
The Gauchos responded again, scoring 12 of the next 14 points on an Ononiwu jumper, a Green layup, and seven consecutive points at the charity stripe to pull even at 63-63 with 1:22 left to play. After Kyla Howell missed a jumper for the Mustangs, Fears hit from behind the arc to give UCSB a 66-63 edge. Eggleston came right back with a driving layup and was fouled. She hit the free-throw to tie the score once more. Toni Newman then intercepted a pass at the top of the circle on the ensuing possession and took it all the way down for the easy score to give the Mustangs a 68-66 advantage with 26 seconds left. After a Gaucho miscue, UCSB had to foul, sending Stewart to the line. She knocked down a pair to put the visitors on top by four, 70-66.
Green grabbed an offensive rebound and scored the next time down, and after a quick foul, Eggleston missed the second free-throw with four seconds remaining to give the Gauchos' hope. Trailing 71-68 without a timeout, UCSB got the ball inbounds and traveled the length of the court, but could not get a good look at a three before time expired and the Mustangs held on for the win.
Santa Barbara shot 34.4% (22-64) for the game, while Cal Poly finished 24-of-64, 37.5%. UCSB held a commanding 55-33 advantage on the glass and lost for just the second time this season when out-rebounding the opponent. Turnovers were once again an issue for the Gauchos, as they gave it away 24 times to just 17 for the Mustangs.
UCSB hosts Cal State Fullerton next Thursday, February 22 at 7:00 p.m. before entertaining league-leading UC Riverside Saturday, February 24 at 2:00 in the Gauchos' final home contest of the regular season.