The UCSB women’s basketball team continued its perfect season with a 76-68 dismantling of UC Irvine last night.
The Gauchos (8-6, 3-0 Big West) had the Anteaters (4-12, 0-2 Big West) beat from whistle to whistle, and the final score doesn’t tell the tale as Irvine nailed three desperation threes in a row in the final 30 seconds.
Junior forward Kat Suderman was unstoppable down low for Santa Barbara, and led the team with 16 points off 8-13 shooting. Suderman also was stellar on the defensive end with six boards, three blocks and two steals. Junior guard Sha’Rae Gibbons came off the bench with 15 points, three assists and a team-high four steals. Senior guard Jessica Wilson was the last Gauchos in double digits with 13 points as well as four steals, and junior guard Lauren Pedersen ran a solid point while looking hot as shit with team-high six assists. By the final buzzer, 10 of the Gauchos had notched a basket, with 37 points coming from the bench.
Overall the Gauchos shot just 44.1 percent, but the statistic was dragged down by their terrible 23.5 percent shooting from behind the arc. Irvine shot an impressive 58.7 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from three-point land, but the Gauchos made up for their weaker shooting with a 12-point advantage in the paint.
The real key in the game for UCSB was the biggest issue for them all season: playing hard for a full 40 minutes. The Gauchos destroyed Irvine in every hustle category: They had seven more boards, 14 more steals and forced an incredible 16 more turnovers. The massive turnover differential was the key to the win as UCSB scored 29 points off of Irvine’s errors.
The Gauchos will get a chance to continue their hot play against 2-10 Cal State Fullerton this Saturday. Tip-off is schedule for 2 p.m. at the Thunderdome.