Behind the effort of senior guard Kelsey Adrian, the UCSB women’s basketball team outlasted UC Davis 60-56 on the road in its final game of the regular season, breaking a six-game win streak by UC Davis over the Gauchos.
“It was just a great senior effort by [Kelsey],” Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. “We put her on the baseline knowing that’s where a lot of the open shots would come from, and she made them when it counted.”
Adrian scored a career-high 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting to improve the Gauchos to 8-8 in the Big West and 14-15 overall, marking the 22nd consecutive season UC Santa Barbara has finished .500 or better in conference. The Aggies dropped to 9-7 in league and 17-11 overall.
“I haven’t beaten [Davis] since I’ve played at UCSB, so it’s a really good confidence boost,” Adrian said. “We [went in there] wanting to fight hard and show what kind of team we [are] because the [last] game against Pacific didn’t show [that].”
UCSB started the game red hot, jumping out to an early 14-0 lead. Adrian knocked down three treys in the run, the first coming from 25 feet out as the shot clock expired.
“I think that shot really got me going and gave me confidence,” Adrian said. “There was one second left, and I knew I was just going to have to chuck it up. It felt really good going in.”
UCSB took a 10-point lead into halftime, holding Davis to 22 points. Davis was held scoreless for over five minutes to start the game, and while the Aggies made critical threes down the stretch, they were kept in check in the first half, shooting 22.2 percent.
“Going in, we knew that they were three-point shooters and that they like to drive and get all the way to the rim for lay-ups,” Mitchell said. “If you make someone pull up and take a jumper, then we were getting what we wanted out of this game.”
UCSB tried to put the game away in the second half, but the Aggies continued to hang around, and an offensive dry spell down the stretch allowed Davis back into the mix.
“Davis is a great team and we expected them to make a run,” senior guard Emilie Johnson said. “This [was] their senior night and their final home game, so we just wanted to stay composed. We had to play to win.”
The defense was solid for the Gauchos, who made critical stops down the stretch to ensure it didn’t become a one-possession game.
Offensively, UCSB shot a sizzling 47.6 percent from the field, including 46.7 percent from downtown. The Gauchos had three players in double figures as well. Besides Adrian, Johnson contributed 13 points and five assists while Tilleman tallied 11 points and nine boards.
“We made shots and our shot selection was great,” Mitchell said. “Emilie ran the show for 40 minutes and Tilleman got the big boards.”
With the win, UCSB secured the sixth seed in the Big West and will head south to play third seed UC Irvine Tuesday in the opening round of the Big West Tournament.