November 17, 2006

Second Half Comeback Proves Too Late, Oregon Defeats UC Santa Barbara 85-77

Nov. 17, 2006

Box Score

Santa Barbara, Calif. - Oregon established an early lead over UC Santa Barbara in the first half and maintained the lead for the remainder of the game to win its season opener 85-77 Friday evening in the Thunderdome. The Gauchos cut an Oregon 18-point first half lead to six in the second half before dropping their second game of the year.

Junior guard Jessica Wilson led all scorers with 28 points, 18 of which came as part of UCSB's second half comeback and was just two away from tying her career-high of 30. Wilson was strong at the line for Santa Barbara, shooting nine of 14 in addition to going nine for 16 overall on the night.

Two others scored in double digits for UCSB -- sophomore guard LaShay Fears put away 19 for the Gauchos and junior center Jenna Green scored 15. Freshman guard Ariana Gnekow and Wilson lead all players with eight rebounds each. With the loss, UCSB falls to 1-2 on the season.

Freshman guard Taylor Lilley paved the way for Oregon with 27 points, going five-for-eight from beyond the arc. Senior forward Carolyn Ganes was right behind her with 23 points and six rebounds for the Ducks. The victory is Oregon's first of the season.

Oregon scored six uncontested points to begin the first half before UCSB got on the board with a three-pointer from Fears. The Gauchos kept the deficit within eight until senior forward Jessie Shetters scored on a UCSB turnover to put Oregon up 24-32 with six minutes left in the half. A 5-0 run at the end of the half helped put the Ducks up by 18 heading into the locker room.

Oregon shot 50% overall to UCSB's 34.8% in the first half and made 62.5 percent of its three-pointers while the Gauchos connected on just three of seven of their treys (42.9%) and Oregon had five three-pointers (62.5%).

The Gauchos came out of the break fired up, scoring 14 points to Oregon's 12 in the first six minutes to keep UCSB within 10. The Ducks extended their lead to 18 at the 11:25 mark with two three-pointers from Ganes and Taylor but Santa Barbara responded again going on a 13-0 run to take a sizable chunk out of Oregon's lead. Gnekow contributed three points and two rebounds in the Gauchos' rampage, which put UCSB within five but that's as close as it would get to Oregon.

Lilley connected on two shots and a layup from Shetters quickly extended the Ducks' lead to 12 with 5:44 left to play in the half. Wilson scored the next three points for the Gauchos but two Gaucho turnovers kept Oregon still slightly out of reach.

With roughly three minutes remaining, Gnekow added a bucket and Fears contributed a jumper to bring UCSB within six but treys from Taylor and Ganes extended Oregon's lead. A three-pointer from Fears at the :31 mark put Santa Barbara just six behind but it would be UCSB's last successful offensive play of the game. Taylor and Ganes made Oregon's last four shots from the charity stripe to finalize the victory.

UCSB out shot Oregon in the second half 57.6% (19-33) to the visitor's 44% (11-25). Turnovers hurt Santa Barbara as it turned over the ball 17 times to Oregon's 12. The Gauchos grabbed 35 rebounds in the loss while Oregon had 33.

The Gauchos play host again on Nov. 24 to visiting Louisville. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome.