SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – In true holiday fashion, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team gave a gift to all in attendance with a 77-64 victory over San Diego State on Friday night at the Thunderdome, snapping a nine-game losing streak and earning their first win since the season opener on Nov. 10.
Drew Edelman led the Gauchos with a 25-point, 10-rebound double-double and Makala Roper tied her career-high with eight assists to go with 11 points off the bench. With the win, the Gauchos improve to 2-9 while SDSU falls to 6-5.
"Our pace was a lot better tonight," said head coach Bonnie Henrickson. "We generated a lot of momentum plays with steals and were able to get out in transition. But the three seniors in Chaya (Durr), Rope (Makala Roper) and Drew (Edelman) really held it down and were solid for us tonight, and that's what seniors are supposed to do.
After getting off to a slow start once again in the first quarter, shooting just 2-for-13 from the field, UCSB fell behind early 16-7 after the opening period. A 10-2 run, however, at the start of the second quarter brought the Gauchos back into the game. Sarah Bates fueled the run with a pair of three-pointers while Edelman and Roper got into the mix with baskets down low.
Trailing 26-23 with just over one minute remaining in the half, Tal Sahar entered the game for the first time and promptly went on a 7-0 run all by herself. Coming off a season-high 11 points against No. 17 Oregon State last week, the redshirt sophomore converted two fast break layups along with a corner three-pointer to give UCSB a 30-26 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, it was all UCSB as the Gauchos outscored San Diego State 27-14 in the frame, highlighted by Edelman who had 15 of her game-high 25 points, to put the game out of reach. Sarah Porter tallied five assists in the quarter, many to Edelman on over the top passes into the paint.
The Gauchos remained aggressive in the fourth quarter, refusing to allow the Aztecs to make a run and held on to its large lead for the win.
Despite the poor start offensively, UCSB shot 50 percent (25-for-50) from the field overall and went 9-for-23 from downtown (39.1 percent). The Gauchos shot 62 percent over the final three quarters and assisted on 21 of their 25 made field goals.
"There's nobody here that has to be the hero or has to make a homerun play," said Henrickson. "The more we embrace that and move the ball, share the ball, and force closeouts, the better we're going to be and the harder we're going to be to guard."
Along with strong performances from Edelman and Roper, Bates finished with 15 points and seven rebounds while Chaya Durr played lockdown defense on San Diego State's top player. Porter finished with eight points, six assists and five rebounds. The Gauchos also went 18-for-21 from the charity stripe, including a 9-for-9 showing from Edelman.
San Diego State was led by 14 points from Khalia Lark and 12 points from Naje Murray.
UCSB has one remaining non-conference matchup, on the road against New Mexico State next Friday, Dec. 29 at 11:00 a.m. PT, before returning home to begin Big West action against Long Beach State on Jan. 4.