The UCSB women’s basketball team made sure that history did not repeat itself on Thursday night in Stockton.
Senior center Lindsay Taylor moved to within two points from third place on the Santa Barbara career scoring list with a team-high 18 points as Santa Barbara cruised to a 65-41 win over University of the Pacific at the Alex G. Spanos Center. UCSB ended Pacific’s 18-game home win streak as the Gauchos cruised to their ninth straight win and improved their Big West Conference lead over the Tigers to two and a half games.
With 1,586 points in her Santa Barbara career, Taylor is close to passing former Gaucho Erin Alexander (1993-97) on the all-time scoring list. Taylor is 111 points behind Erin Buescher for second place with 1,697 career points and needs only 135 points to overtake Kristi Rohr (1996-00) as the all-time leader in points scored at UCSB.
Last season, Santa Barbara suffered its only Big West Conference loss in Stockton, falling 74-65 as Gillian d’Hondt scored 23 points in the shocker. But the Gauchos quickly put the Tigers’ upset bid to rest, holding Pacific to only 24.1 percent shooting in the first half and storming out to a 37-19 halftime lead.
The Tigers played tough to open the contest, a stark contrast from the matchup between the two teams a month earlier at UCSB, when the Gauchos ran out to an 11-0 early lead to the start of the game. Pacific and UCSB traded baskets to start the game before Taylor put UCSB up 9-7 while getting fouled on her way to the basket. From that point on, Santa Barbara smothered the Tigers, forcing 11 first-half turnovers and out-rebounding Pacific 26-21 en route to an 18-point halftime lead.
The Gauchos continued to run away with the game in the second half as the Tigers shot themselves in the foot with poor shooting and consistent turnovers. Santa Barbara maintained a 20-point cushion throughout the second half and cruised to its fourth straight win over the Tigers.
Junior forward Kristen Mann returned to action after sitting out last Saturday’s game against Cal Poly and scored 13 points on six of 12 shooting from the floor. Junior forward Brandy Richardson led the Gauchos in rebounding again with 10 to go along with her seven points. Santa Barbara shot 39.3 percent from the field and 68 percent from the free throw line. But defense was the story of the night for the Gauchos.
Pacific was held to 27.2 percent from the field on 15 of 55 shooting from the field while handing the Gauchos’ 22 turnovers. Senior guard Corinne Wong had a particularly dismal game, handing over 11 turnovers on the night. Pacific managed only 41 points in the game, the lowest point total scored against UCSB all season.
Santa Barbara hosts Cal State Northridge on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome. With a UCSB win then or an Idaho loss over UC Riverside, the Gauchos will secure at least the second seed in the Big West Conference Tournament.