Tired of beating up on Big West Conference opponents, the UCSB women’s basketball team takes its 10-game win streak to Los Angeles tonight for a game against USC at 7 p.m. at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.
Santa Barbara will take its stifling defense to Los Angeles in hopes of winning their 20th game of the season. It would be the ninth straight season that UCSB has won at least 20 games.
The Gauchos have held opponents to 50 points or less in five out of their last six games, including a season-best 41 points last Thursday against University of the Pacific. Seven different teams have scored less than 20 first-half points against Santa Barbara this season while the Gauchos have held 18 of their 23 opponents to below 40 percent shooting from the field.
Senior post Ebony Hoffman, averaging 15 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, will try to crack the Santa Barbara defense for the Trojans. Hoffman is coming off of a 15-point, seven-rebound performance against Berkeley on Saturday, a game in which the Golden Bears stormed back in the second half to stun the Trojans. USC is also led by senior guard Rometra Craig, who is second on the team averaging 11.1 points per game.
USC is coming off of a tough Northern California road trip, suffering two losses. The Trojans are currently in fourth place in the Pac-10 Conference and battling with Arizona and Arizona State for second place. The Trojans will be hungry for a win to give them confidence for their battle with crosstown rival UCLA on Saturday.
USC leads the all-time series against Santa Barbara, 11-10, but the Gauchos won the last meeting between the schools last season at the Thunderdome. On Jan. 9, five players scored in double digits, led by junior guard Mia Fisher’s, 17 as the Gauchos cruised to a 72-57 win.
UCSB enters the non-conference game with a 2 1/2-game lead over Idaho and Pacific in the Big West. The Gauchos have also clinched at least the second seed in the conference tournament and with two more wins can wrap up the top seed.
Junior forward Kristen Mann needs only 14 points to reach 1,000 for her career and will become only the 18th player in school history to reach the mark. Senior center Lindsay Taylor is on her way to reaching a milestone of her own, needing only 107 points to become the all-time leading scorer in UCSB history.
After the game against USC the Gauchos travel home to host Riverside on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome.