March 6, 2010
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Ariana Gnekow closed out her final regular season game as a Gaucho in great fashion, turning in career-highs for points and rebounds, but she wasn't the only UC Santa Barbara player to get a double-double on Saturday at the Icardo Center.
Mekia Valentine had 14 points and 21 rebounds while Gnekow had 13 points and 13 rebounds as the Gauchos held off a fast and furious-paced Cal State Bakersfield team with a 80-75 victory. It was UCSB's fifth straight victory to close out the regular season as the team will now head to Anaheim for next week's Big West Tournament.
Because Long Beach State defeated UC Riverside, the Gauchos (13-16 overall) will play on Wednesday, the opening day, of the Big West Tournament. Big West Tournament tickets are available for purchase by clicking here.
As the No. 5 seed, UCSB will open the Big West Tournament on Wednesday at noon vs. No. 8 seed Pacific. UCSB defeated UOP twice this season. In this case, the Gauchos have to win four games in four days to advance to their 15th straight postseason. The game will be broadcast live online through BigWest.TV.
Cal State Bakersfield (16-12) hit 12 3-pointers but the Gauchos had five players score in double figures - the first time that's happened since UCSB defeated Cal Poly in last year's Big West Tournament final. Along with Gnekow and Valentine, Emilie Johnson scored 18 points, Meagan Williams had 12 and Chris Spencer added 13 off the bench.
Phynique Allen scored 32 points against UCSB, hitting 4 of 9 from downtown. However, nearly every Bakersfield miss was cleaned up by Santa Barbara. UCSB had 48 rebounds compared to the Roadrunners' 28.
But, the Gauchos' balanced scoring was too much for Bakersfield to handle. Plus, the Gauchos, who entered the game shooting just under 64% from the free throw line, hit 19 of 28 from the charity stripe, including 11 of 12 in the final 6:46.
Tiffany Belt's 3-pointer with 1:52 left in the first half gave Bakersfield its first lead at 34-31, but Emilie Johnson answered with a triple of her own. Kelly Tarver and Johnson traded layups, tying the score at 36-apiece before Chris Spencer's jumper at the first-half buzzer gave UCSB a 38-36 lead at halftime.
Listen to the Gauchos' Big West Tournament games on AM 990 or streaming live online by clicking here.
. The pregame show always begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
UCSB Athletics has a new weekly radio show called Talk'n Gauchos which airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1490 KIST. The show is broadcast live from State & A Bar and Grill, located on the corner of State Street and Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara. Fans are encouraged to attend the show for free gear and ticket giveaways or to even e-mail a question in to one of the guests and have it read live over the air. The show also airs live online via audio streaming and fans can click here to check out the entire lineup of live audio streaming online.