The UCSB women’s basketball team travels up the coast on Saturday to play Cal Poly at 7 p.m. at Mott Gym.
The Gauchos are currently riding a seven-game win streak as they travel to San Luis Obispo over the weekend. Santa Barbara leads the Big West Conference by one game over next week’s opponent, Pacific. They also hold a three-game advantage over third-place Idaho, and a win over Cal Poly would put UCSB in the driver’s seat for one of the top two seeds in the conference.
Santa Barbara is outscoring its opponents by an average of 23 points per game during the win streak. The team has recommitted itself to strong defense to complement its offensive firepower.
Senior center Lindsay Taylor leads the Gaucho attack, averaging a team-high 17.5 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game during the conference season. Junior forward Kristen Mann has been a solid complement to the reigning Big West Player of the Week, averaging 13.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game during the conference season. The team has also found a resurgence from junior forward Brandy Richardson, who is averaging 7.5 rebounds per game during the conference season after struggling to pull down boards during the nonconference schedule.
After struggling with their turnovers for most of the season, the Gauchos controlled the ball very well last weekend. Santa Barbara averaged more than two assists for every turnover during its two games at home last week against Idaho and Utah State, a vast improvement from previous games. The Gauchos are now averaging 1.2 assists to every turnover for the season.
Cal Poly enters Saturday’s contest coming off of its first home loss of the season last week against Idaho. The Vandals used a 17-0 first-half run to pull away from the Mustangs, and Cal Poly could not recover. Junior forward Katy Paterson led the way for Cal Poly, scoring 12 points and pulling down six rebounds.
Cal Poly has been prone to giving up big runs all year. On Jan. 17, the Gauchos pulled away from the Mustangs on the strength of a 19-4 first-half run to defeat Cal Poly 69-45. Santa Barbara forced 27 turnovers from the Mustangs as it defeated Cal Poly for the fifth straight time. Santa Barbara leads the all-time series against the Central Coast rival 37-12.
Paterson leads the Mustangs in scoring, averaging 10.6 points per game, followed by freshman point guard Sparkle Anderson at 10.1 points per game. Anderson also averages 2.2 steals and 3 assists per game to place her near the top of the conference in both categories.