Feb. 23, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara was held to just 32.8% shooting on the way to a 59-56 overtime loss to visiting UC Davis Saturday afternoon in the Thunderdome. Lauren Pedersen finished with a career-high 19 points to lead all scorers, but it wasn't enough as UCSB fell for the first time in Big West play this season.
The defeat was the Gauchos' first since they dropped an 88-70 decision at the University of Montana on December 29 and snapped their 14-game winning streak - the program's longest such run since 2001-02. Santa Barbara had won its first 12 conference games by an average of over 11 points per game.
With three games remaining, UCSB is still in the driver's seat to win the Big West regular season title and capture the No. 1 seed heading into the conference tournament in Anaheim March 12-15. The Gauchos' record now stands at 18-7 overall and 12-1 in the Big West.
The Aggies came in riding a six-game unbeaten streak of their own and avenged last month's 62-53 overtime loss at the hands of the Gauchos on their home floor. UC Davis improves to 17-9 overall and 11-3 in league with the victory.
Santa Barbara struggled against Davis' zone defense all afternoon and converted just 19-of-58 shots, 32.8% -- the team's worst mark from the field since finishing at a 30.5% clip in a 61-50 loss to BYU to open the season. Even with an extra five minutes of play, the Gauchos managed to score just 56 points against the Big West's top defense, finishing with their third-lowest output of the year.
"Well we certainly didn't lose the game on the defensive end of the floor," head coach Mark French said. "I thought we played really hard and the effort was there, we just couldn't get enough quality shots and didn't knock them down when we did. You've got to give Davis all the credit in the world. They executed down the stretch and came up with the plays they needed to win the game."
Jessica Campbell scored 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting to lead the way for the Aggies. Kirsten Commins was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and finished with 11 points off the bench, while Anna Harp chipped in with 10.
UC Davis made 21-of-48 shots, 43.8%.
Pedersen finished 6-of-10 from the floor, including 5-of-8 from behind the three-point line on the way to a career best 19, but she was one of only two Gauchos to reach double figures. The junior guard also tallied five rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and two steals. Her previous high was 15 points that came last week against Cal Poly.
Freshman forward Ashlee Brown notched her first-career double-double, tallying 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting and a career-high 16 rebounds.
Kat Suderman scored just one point in 19 minutes, playing her second game with a bout of strep throat and Jessica Wilson was a dismal 2-of-14 from the floor, finishing with just six points in 37 minutes.
Playing in overtime for the second time in the last three games - and for the fifth time this season -- the Gauchos' magic finally ran out as they fell in OT for the first time.
After Suderman made the front end of two free-throws to open the scoring, Campbell knocked down a jumper 2:10 into the extra session to give the Aggies a 52-51 advantage. Wilson connected with Brown for layup less than a minute later as UCSB reclaimed what would be its last lead of the game with 2:07 remaining.
After a Harp layup with 1:41 left gave the lead back to Davis, the Gauchos failed to convert on three straight looks on the ensuing trip. Brown was fouled on a putback attempt after grabbing Santa Barbara's third straight offensive rebound and made one of two free-throws to tie the game at 54-54 with 1:31 left to play.
Campbell came up big again, hitting a 15-foot jumper the next time down and a critical turnover on the Gauchos' next possession gave the ball back to the Aggies with 40 seconds left. Whitney Warren was whistled for a foul and Haylee Donaghe sank two free throws to push the lead to 57-54 with 19 seconds to play.
Pedersen was fouled before Santa Barbara could get a look at a three and she converted two at the line, but Campbell followed with two of her own for the final 56-54 margin. Pedersen's desperation three as time expired fell short and the Aggies became the first team in the Big West to knock off the first place Gauchos.
UC Davis held a 22-21 halftime lead and opened the second half on a 12-5 run to build a 34-26 advantage with 14:23 remaining in regulation.
Pedersen then hit one of five second half threes and the Gauchos scored 10 of the next 13 points to take a 39-37 lead with 8:18 left to play. Santa Barbara led 45-41 after Pedersen hit another triple three minutes later, but Campbell scored five straight points and Donaghe hit a jumper to give the visitors a 48-45 cushion with 3:48 left.
Brown's layup with 38 seconds remaining tied the game at 50-50, but the Gauchos failed to convert after Chisa Ononiwu forced a turnover on UC Davis' final possession of regulation.
UCSB will look to bounce back at defending Big West Conference champion UC Riverside next Saturday at 5:00 p.m. The Gauchos defeated the Highlanders 73-61 in the Thunderdome in the first meeting of the year on January 31.