March 13, 2009
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Lauren Pedersen scored 23 points to lead top-seed UC Santa Barbara over No. 6 Cal State Fullerton, 60-52, in a Big West Tournament semifinal game, Friday, at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Gauchos (21-9) led by 21 points with under nine minutes to play before the Titans (10-20) pulled within six with 1:15 left. Jenna Green added a double-double for UCSB with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Toni Thomas led three Titans in double figures with 19 points and eight rebounds.
Green's double-double was her sixth of the season, setting a personal best. She also moved into sole possession of eighth place in UCSB's career scoring history.
UC Santa Barbara shot 54 percent for the game while holding Cal State Fullerton to 32 percent. The Gauchos also held a 32-26 rebounding edge. With the win, UCSB advances to Saturday championship game against the winner of Friday's other semifinal between UC Riverside and Cal Poly.
Pedersen scored all 12 of her first half points in a 10-minute stretch that turned a two-point Gaucho lead into a 24-15 cushion. At one point, she poured in eight points in a three-minute span with the last six coming on back-to-back three-pointers to make it 20-11 with 7:08 left in the half. UC Santa Barbara led by as many as 12 points when Emilie Johnson connected from beyond the arc to make it 31-19 with 28 seconds remaining. The Gauchos went to the locker room leading 31-20.
UCSB shot 58 percent in the first half while holding Cal State Fullerton to just 30 percent. The Titans went 1-for-10 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes and 3-for-20 for the game.
The Gauchos continued their stingy defense into the second half as the Titans made just two field goals in the first 11 minutes. It was 37-26 at the 15:15 mark before UCSB held Cal State Fullerton scoreless for the next six minutes. At the same time, the Gauchos scored eight points to push the lead to 49-28 with 8:59 remaining.
The Titans did not go away quietly, though, as they put together an 8-0 run of their own. Daviyonne Weathersby, who finished with 10 points, had jumpers to start and finish the burst to help trim the deficit to 49-37 with 5:58 to play. A 7-0 run late in the game made it 56-50 with 1:15 left, completing a 22-7 run. The Titans had a chance to get even closer in the final minute, but Lauren Chow missed a three-pointer with 45 seconds to go that would have cut it to 56-53.
Pedersen finished 7-for-12 from the field, including a pair of three-pointers. She also went 7-for-11 from the line.
Megan Richardson was the third Titan in double figures with 13 points.
Margaret Johnson and Whitney Warren each had six points for the Gauchos, Emilie Johnson added five points while Jordan Franey and Ashlee Brown had four points apiece. Franey finished with five rebounds and Warren and Sha'Rae Gibbons each had four. Gibbons led the Gauchos with five assists while Margaret Johnson had a team-leading two steals.
The win was the fourth straight for the Gauchos in the their first game of the tournament. The Titans were trying to win their third game in as many days after defeating No. 7 UC Irvine on Wednesday and No. 4 Pacific on Thursday.
The Gauchos, seeded first, will play in the Big West Tournament final on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket, listened to in Santa Barbara on KTMS 990 AM or KCSB 91.9 FM and UCSB ticket staff will be available in Anaheim for ticketing needs.
Due to the overwhelming demand for Big West Tournament tickets, the Ticket Office, located in the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus, will be closed Friday. The Ticket Office staff will be in Anaheim for the men's and women's Big West Tournament.
Fans who have ticket inquiries are asked to call (805) 893-UCSB, or show up in Anaheim to meet with a UCSB Ticket Office representative.
The UCSB ticket staff will be available at the Anabella Hotel in Anaheim for fans to pick up their tickets, to answer questions and for more information at the following times: Friday from 2:30-4:30 p.m.; and Saturday from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The Anabella Hotel is located next to the Anaheim Convention Center at 1030 W. Katella Ave.
Student tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the Anaheim Convention Center Box Office beginning one hour prior to each session UCSB plays in. Look for the window labeled UCSB Students and please have your UCSB student identification with you.