Breaking records and posting wins in the Big West are the achievements that the UCSB women’s basketball team seems to do best.
And if they keep this up, there’s no telling where the vanquished conference opponents will end up after each slaughter involving the Gauchos.
After destroying Cal Poly 74-48 to improve to 8-6 and 2-0 in conference this past Saturday, the Gauchos won their 44th consecutive Big West game to break the conference record in smashing style. Redshirt freshman center Lindsay Taylor propelled Santa Barbara with her first career double-double, pouring in a game-high 19 points and snagging 12 rebounds. Freshman point guard Syretta Coleman also made her highly anticipated Gaucho debut by dishing out a game-high four assists.
"I know how great a player [Coleman] is after playing with her in high school," Taylor said. "She is another player that adds depth to our bench. She’ll offer a lot of help with [sophomore] Debby [Caine] at the point. Syretta will relieve Debby’s stress after having to play 40 minutes a night."
Junior forward Kayte Christensen scored 17 points and tore down 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season.
The Mustangs began the game with the first two points of the night, but could not withstand a 10-3 run by Santa Barbara. Cal Poly could not come closer than five points the rest of the evening, as UCSB whipped the Mustangs with a 14-5 run to end the first half cruising 38-26.
Sophomore guard Jess Hansen scored all 10 of her points in the opening half, and kept the game out of reach for Cal Poly by bombarding the opponent with three treys in a 1:16 span to bolster the first-half run.
The Gauchos shot .511 from the field in the game, and they improved on their already hot shooting in the first half with a solid .519 shooting percentage in the second half. UCSB kept the onslaught going, digging the Mustangs further into the ground. Freshman forward Jessica Combs hit a jump shot with 32 seconds left in the contest to finish the scoring, and gave Santa Barbara the biggest lead of the night.
The Gauchos proved their strength as a team amid the growing murmur from fellow Big West rivals that the team will struggle to maintain dominance in a conference eager to pounce on UCSB. Santa Barbara displayed Saturday night that it will not go down gently.
"We had practices before the game, which always help us to prepare," Taylor said. "We were ready for the game. Since we’ve been struggling in the early part of the season, the older players weren’t used to the losing. Now we’re ready to play and win."