After reclaiming first place in the Big West conference after a 25 point victory over the University of Pacific last Saturday, the UCSB women’s basketball team travels to Riverside to take on the Highlanders at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
“We can all predict what Riverside and Fullerton are going to be like. They are going to be just like Northridge,” UCSB Head Coach Mark French said, referring to the struggles the team faced against the Matadors a week ago. “Maybe not style-wise, but energy-wise, and we’re going to have to match that and take it on the road now.”
Santa Barbara (12-5, 6-1 in the Big West) is coming off one of its biggest wins of the season against Pacific in which it held the Tigers to a season-low 16 points in the first half. Four Gauchos scored in double-digits, led by senior center Lindsay Taylor’s 19 points. Taylor’s 57.4 percent season field goal percentage ranks her 24th nationally, and her 15.2 points per game leads Santa Barbara.
Taylor has also received solid support from junior forward Kristen Mann. Mann is shooting 61.5 percent (32-52) from the field during her past five games. Senior guard April McDivitt is averaging 12 points and three assists in her last two contests after sitting out the previous three games while recovering from a concussion she suffered against Irvine on Jan. 5.
Riverside (4-12, 3-4 in the Big West) enters tonight’s game struggling in its last three contests. The Highlanders have lost two of their last three games but were able to get back in the win column last Saturday with a 89-62 win over Utah State. Junior guard Casandra Reeves leads Riverside with 14.8 points per game and 3.1 rebounds per game. Six-foot senior forward Crystal Harris is second on the team at 12.3 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game and set a career-high in points against UC Davis last Saturday, scoring 29 points and grabbing five rebounds in 28 minutes.
The Highlanders are currently in seventh place in the conference, three games behind the first place Gauchos and a game behind the Cal State Fullerton, who the Gauchos are set to play Saturday.