The UCSB women’s basketball team has hovered around the .500 mark all season and has struggled to recapture the success in terms of victories that the program has achieved in previous seasons. The Gauchos head toward their Big West opener with Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday with a record of 6-6 and hope for a promising revival against their conference opponents.
During the past few weeks, Santa Barbara did pull off some big wins against good clubs, including a previously #23 ranked Virginia, Kansas and Northwestern.
Sophomore shooting guard Jess Hansen poured in a career-high 26 points in a 78-66 victory over the Cavaliers; Hansen also dished out six assists and chucked in six treys. UCSB led 17-7 in the opening six minutes of the contest, yet Virginia continually climbed back into the game.
Santa Barbara rallied behind each other when its leading scorer, junior forward Kayte Christensen, fouled out of the contest with the score tied 61-61 and only 5:15 remaining. The Gauchos blazed ahead while outscoring Virginia 17-5 the rest of the game, holding the Cavaliers to zero points in the final two minutes of UCSB’s victory.
Senior forward Nicole Greathouse scored 15 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. Freshman guard Lisa Willett pumped in 10 points and six boards.
In its 71-64 victory over Kansas, Santa Barbara was led by senior forward Rachelle Rogers’ career-high 27 points and freshman center Lindsay Taylor’s 11 points and seven rebounds. Hansen contributed 10 points and five assists against the Jayhawks.
Against Northwestern, the Gauchos pulled away from the Wildcats in the final ten minutes of the contest to win 72-59. Christensen led UCSB with 15 points and 15 boards. Taylor scored a career-high 12 points. Rogers and Greathouse both put in 10 points against the ‘Cats.
Santa Barbara could not pull off road upsets against #12 Penn State and #23 Oregon, and the team’s road woes continued as the Gauchos fell to St. Mary’s 59-56 on Sunday afternoon. Santa Barbara received its strongest play from Christensen, as she compiled 47 points in the three defeats. UCSB as a team could not shoot better than 40.4 percent in any of the losses, and also lost the turnover battle against all of its opponents.
The Gauchos open their Big West Conference competition against Cal State Fullerton this Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome.