They say that vengeance is bittersweet, but don’t tell that to the UCSB women’s basketball team. Santa Barbara (11-8 overall, 6-2 in the Big West) went to Cal Poly and came away with an 80-71 victory Saturday afternoon.
The Mustangs (10-8 overall, 5-3 Big West) were responsible for Santa Barbara’s only home conference loss this season when they handed them an 82-71 defeat Jan. 21 in which the Gauchos turned the ball over 29 times.
“There was a little thrill in accomplishing [revenge],” Head Coach Mark French said. “But mostly we were happy that we handed their press a lot better and limited their offensive rebounds.”
Cal Poly’s run-and-jump defense did not create the easy layups it did for them two weeks ago, but it did help them take a 36-31 advantage into the locker rooms at halftime after grabbing 10 offensive rebounds and forcing 15 turnovers.
The second half saw the Gauchos erupt offensively. Sophomore forward/center Jenna Green dumped in 19 points for the game, but it was the perimeter players who stole the show. Freshman guard LaShay Fears and sophomore guard Jessica Wilson combined for 35 points with Fears pouring in a career-best 20, including 10 from the charity stripe.
“[Fears has] been questioning her reliability from the free throw stripe down the stretch,” French said. “I think this should really boost her confidence.”
Wilson’s energy and effort kept Santa Barbara in the contest, and she was able to snag a personal best of 13 rebounds, the most any Gaucho has recorded this season.
“Jessica Wilson went into what we call her UCLA act [when she scored 11 points in overtime against the Bruins in December,” French said. “She got in her zone and just went crazy and became unstoppable. She’s kind of our X factor out there and the team knows that we’re a much better team when she plays like that, it really gives them confidence.”
Without two of their three co-captains, the rest of the Gauchos really stepped up to the challenge. Senior forward Autumn Nichols and junior guard Erin O’Bryan were sidelined for the contest. Sophomore guard Ana Onaindia filled the void nicely by nailing four of eight treys to tie her previous career high of 12 points.
“Ana Onaindia is probably one of the best three-point shooters we’ve ever recruited,” French said. “If she plays 15, 18, 20 minutes a game then the kid is going to score a bunch of points.”
Santa Barbara is riding a three-game winning streak, and will finish up their five-game road trip with nonconference matchups against #15 Stanford (16-5 overall, 11-2 Pac-10) on Thursday then Davis (13-9 overall) on Saturday.