As expected. the UCSB women’s basketball team impressed Wednesday night against Fullerton at the Thunderdome, whipping the Titans to extend its winning streak to a season-high 10 games.
The Gauchos dominated the game both offensively and defensively, defeating CSUF 86-41. Santa Barbara forced 28 turnovers, shot over 58 percent from three, and out-rebounded the Titans 50 to 35.
“I really liked our effort and intensity today,” UCSB Head Coach Mark French said. “I don’t know if it was our best all-around game this year, but it was definitely our best defense and rebounding outing.”
UCSB set a team goal of 20 offensive rebounds before the game. The Gauchos got 29. Freshman forward Kristen Mann led the team with seven offensive rebounds and 10 total rebounds. Mann also scored 24 points on her way to recording a double-double.
“I don’t really think about points or rebounds during the game,” Mann said. “I just try to keep my intensity up and play hard.”
Mann was one of three Santa Barbara players to score double digit points. Freshman guard Mia Fisher recorded 17 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals, and was a perfect 2 for 2 in three point attempts. Fisher’s two threes against Fullerton were the first of her career. Her second three-point field goal could have resulted in a four-point play after she was fouled on the attempt, but Fisher was unable to convert the free throw.
“I wasn’t recruited for my shooting really,” Fisher said. “They wanted me to be more of a penetrater, but I want to broaden my entire game.”
Senior Kayte Christensen scored 11 points on her way to filling up her box score nicely with nine rebounds, five steals, two blocks and one assist. One thing that won’t appear in the statistics however is the intensity and hustle with which she played. Christensen couldn’t have played with more urgency if Han was frozen in carbonite, Luke was trapped on Dagobah and the Death Star was five minutes from being fully operational.
“Kayte played everywhere tonight,” Mann said of Christensen. “She was in the passing lanes, on the ground. You can’t teach hustle. It’s all heart. She always plays well.”
Although UCSB’s offense was in high gear, it was their defense that really shined against the Titans. It took Fullerton four minutes to score their first points of the game, and another three minutes to record their next field goal. At one point in the second half, the Gauchos did not allow CSUF to even attempt a shot for five minutes. Santa Barbara began the game playing man-to-man defense, but then switched to a smothering 2-3 zone. UCSB also played a trap defense against Fullerton on and off all night.
“We tend to change up our defense a lot,” Mann said. “We want the other team to have to adjust to what we were doing.”
The scariest moment of the night for Santa Barbara came when one of the referees collided with a cheerleader as he was trailing a play down the sideline, but she escaped unharmed.
Next up for the Gauchos is a game at Pacific this Friday night at 7.