With all the scoring outbursts she’s been pouring in lately, junior center Lindsay Taylor has established herself as the leading candidate for the 2003 Big West Player of the Year award.
With just two games remaining on the regular season schedule, the #17 UCSB women’s basketball team took control early and coasted to a devastating 94-52 pounding over Fullerton, producing its largest scoring output of the season.
“I had a lot of fun out there,” sophomore guard Mia Fisher said. “It was fun to have Lindsay running the court with me.”
Fresh off her sixth career Big West Player of the Week award and second of the season, Taylor sunk a game-high 25 points on 9-14 shooting. The 6’8″ post player, known primarily for her dominance in mismatch situations in the post, took charge in a high-speed game, frequented by fast breaks and transition offense. On the defensive side of things, Taylor recorded a season-high five blocks and collected six rebounds in just 26 minutes.
“The past few games I’ve tried really hard to alter or block my opponent’s shots,” Taylor said. “Last year I felt more comfortable being aggressive with the blocks because I had another tall player in Kayte Christensen there to help me.”
Santa Barbara improves to 22-4 overall and 13-1 in conference. UCSB’s 94 points against the Titans (7-19, 5-10) is the highest total that the Gauchos have posted since Jan. 15, 2002 in a 94-80 victory over Arizona.
The Gauchos secured the Big West’s top seed nearly two weeks ago but have waited and watched the rest of the conference standings fall into place. If the standings hold up this weekend, UCSB and Fullerton will tip-off again next week in the first round of the Big West Tournament.
Four Gauchos scored double-digits, including sophomore forwards Kristen Mann and Brandy Richardson, who each notched double-doubles. In a game-high 36 minutes, Mann netted 21 points and grabbed in 10 rebounds. Richardson showed why she is one of the best rebounders in the Big West, attacking the glass for a game-high 13 boards and chipping in with 10 points.
Santa Barbara lost sophomore forward Haddy Sarr to a breath-holding injury at the 15:40 mark in the second half. The UCSB staff has diagnosed Sarr’s aberration as a left ankle sprain and she will likely miss the regular season finale on Saturday. Sarr’s injury poses a serious threat to a Gaucho team that is already thin in the post. Sarr, who has been plagued by a nagging right knee injury for parts of the season, will be ready to go in the Big West Tournament according to the coaching staff.
“I would have felt a little better if we could have gotten through the game healthy,” UCSB Head Coach Mark French said. “But I’m pleased that we could get our running game going and the way our motion game is coming along. I thought we had a nice mix tonight.”
Senior guards Jess Hansen and Debby Caine garnered their 100th career victory in a Santa Barbara uniform and will strive for number 101 in their last game in a Gaucho uniform. Santa Barbara hopes to complete an undefeated season at home on Saturday night at 7 at the Thunderdome’s Senior Night.