Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race.
With their fast-paced approach to basketball, the UCSB women (15-8 overall, 12-2 in the Big West) dashed their way to a 74-46 victory and put an end to Northridge’s (15-8 overall, 10-5 Big West) eight-game winning streak.
“Our decision to get out and run and push the ball is affecting us positively in other areas of the game [besides scoring],” UCSB Head Coach Mark French said. “We’re playing more aggressively [even] if we don’t score; these kids are very athletic and that up-tempo game gets them revved up.”
Northridge’s attempt to set a new school record for consecutive wins was hampered by the loss of their leading scorer, junior forward Ofa Tulikihihifo, who rode the pine after suffering a knee injury in their double overtime victory over Cal Poly on Thursday.
“It was obvious to everyone in the world that was watching today that from the tip, it looked like our student-athletes had a deer-in-the-headlights look,” Northridge Head Coach Tammy Holder said. “The very first play, Santa Barbara stole the ball and went down for a layup; unfortunately, it seemed like that set the tone for the whole game.”
The injury gods weren’t in the Gauchos’ favor this past week either as senior forward Brandy Richardson sat out on Saturday nursing an ankle injury.
The 28-point triumph was the second-biggest victory margin this season, after last Thursday’s 33-point mauling of Pacific.
“The last week the coaches have been emphasizing our transition game and pushing it up. They’ve really been on me, because I’m the point guard, to really try to push it up and be smart at the same time,” senior guard Mia Fisher said. “Today we basically carried over what the coaches have been telling us the whole week; it’s been great, we’ve been doing pretty well with their game plan.”
Fisher led all scorers with 16 points, while senior forward Kate Bauman, who started in place of Richardson, chipped in 11 points in 15 minutes while playing on a less-than-perfect set of legs.
Freshman guard Jessica Wilson, whose speed makes her a huge benefactor of the up-tempo tactic, notched 10 points to match senior forward Kristen Mann’s point total for the night.
“[Jessica] is quick – she’s real quick – and she’s starting to get a little bit more confidence going to the rim and she’s working a lot at it,” Bauman said. “She’s really talented and I’m glad her confidence is catching up with her speed.”
Currently with a one-game lead over Long Beach in the Big West standings, UCSB goes on its final road trip of league play this week with contests at Fullerton on Thursday and Riverside on Saturday, both at 7 p.m.