On senior night, the UCSB women’s basketball team gave their three graduating players something to remember.
Senior guard April McDivitt hit a career-high five three-pointers, and junior forward Kristen Mann recorded her 15th career double-double – fifth this season – as the Gauchos cruised to a 75-38 victory over Cal State Fullerton Monday night in the Thunderdome.
“We wanted to play well so that our seniors could enjoy the evening, and I think we were successful in doing that,” UCSB Head Coach Mark French said. “Their were maybe a few things we could have done better, but overall it was a good night to celebrate these three.”
Santa Barbara held the Titans to 21.7 percent shooting from the field for the game and cruised to their 21st straight victory over Fullerton.
However, the game didn’t start off smoothly for either team, with junior guard Mia Fisher’s basket almost a minute into the game accounting for the only basket during the first 3:42 of the contest. The Gauchos finally got rolling and jumped out to a 15-12 lead with 8:26 to play in the first half. On the strength of three three-pointers from McDivitt, Santa Barbara went on a 15-0 run, and jumped out to an 18-point lead with 4:21 to play in the half.
“It was fun to be in rhythm, and my teammates got me the ball right where I needed it. It wasn’t too much work on my part,” McDivitt said.
Santa Barbara entered the locker room with a 33-16 lead, the eighth time this season they have held an opponent under 20 points at the half.
The Gauchos pounded the undersized Titans inside in the second half, with all but two of the field goals coming from inside the key. Mann came alive in the second half, scoring 13 of her game-high 17 points during the final 20 minutes. Mann also finished with 11 rebounds.
Senior forward Lisa Willett provided an offensive spark for the Gauchos during her final home regular season game, scoring 12 points to go along with five rebounds.
“It wasn’t that much different than the rest of the games, but it was fun,” Willett said. “I think it’s actually different, cuz we know we are hosting [the NCAA tournament]. If everything goes as planned, obviously this isn’t the last time we are going to play in the gym, so I don’t think the three of us had a sense of urgency or finality that usually you have when you’re a senior playing on senior night.”
The Titans had a dismal night and lost their fourth game in five contests. Fullerton’s 38 points were the lowest scored against the Gauchos by any opponent all season.
“‘Nightmare’ is the word I would use,” Fullerton Head Coach Dr. Maryalyce Jeremiah said, referring to the Titans’ poor shooting. “We don’t shoot the ball incredibly well, but in games [in which] we shot over 42 percent, we’ve competed with everybody. We didn’t have Tamara Quinn, so we just felt like it was a chance for some of the [other] players to step up.”