With its last loss coming way back in 2006, the UCSB women’s basketball team extended its win streak to five with Saturday’s defeat of UC Davis.
A trio of first-year players led the Gauchos to match Davis’ (7-10 overall) output in the 77-53 win. The victory propelled Santa Barbara (9-8 overall, 3-1 in the Big West) over .500, the first time it has held a winning record since winning its first game of the season on Nov. 10.
Junior guard Chisa Ononiwu led in scoring; she dropped 20 points off of seven-of-10 shooting on the night. The night was a career-best for Ononiwu, including her first two seasons at Baylor University. She also shot an outstanding 83.3 percent from three-point land and finished with five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Ononiwu has scored in double digits in four straight games.
Freshman guard Meagan Williams also had a career-best night, throwing down 16 points. Williams’ first double-digit game as a Gaucho came off six-of-12 shooting, with three-of-four shooting from beyond the arc. She also recorded a career best of seven rebounds, six of which came in the clutch at the offensive end.
Freshman forward Jordan Franey rounded out the explosive first-year Gauchos with a 17-point outing that was her second-best this season. She made five out of nine shots along with three treys. Franey also shot four-of-six from the free throw line and snagged five rebounds.
The production from newer players could not have come at a better time for the Gauchos. Sophomore guard LaShay Fears was forced to sit out the game due to a knee injury and junior guard Jessica Wilson had to fill in at the point position. Wilson, who is the Gauchos’ second leading scorer with 13.2 points per game, only put up seven on the night but dished out nine assists, doubling her season average.
Junior center and Gaucho leading scorer Jenna Green was dogged heavily by the Aggies, with multiple double- and triple-teams that resulted in her season-low eight points. Sophomore guard Whitney Warren rounded out the scoring with four points.
The Gauchos jumped out to an 11-3 lead after Wilson completed a three-point play, but the Aggies were quick to answer with their own 11-3 run to tie the game at 14-14 halfway through the first half. Davis took the lead at 18-17 with a free throw from freshman guard Anna Harp, who led the team with 15 points in the match. UCD eventually stretched the lead to 30-26 after sophomore guard Genevieve Costello rained in a three with five minutes left in the half.
At that point, the Gauchos decided to crank it up and held the Aggies scoreless for the rest of the half, while dropping 16 to lead 42-30. Their run continued after the break, resulting in the Gauchos’ largest lead of 27. UCSB shot an excellent 52.9 percent from the field, including 61.1 percent from beyond the arc. Santa Barbara also recorded 21 assists and led the rebound margin for the fifth game in a row with a 35-26 advantage.
The Gauchos have a few days off before traveling to Cal Poly to play the Mustangs this Saturday at 4 p.m.