With five straight conference wins under its belt, the UCSB women’s basketball team will look to continue its Big West dominance tonight on the road against Davis.
The Gauchos (10-6 overall, 5-0 in the Big West) remained undefeated in Big West play thus far with their 75-58 win over Cal Poly (7-11, 4-1 Big West) on Saturday. Santa Barbara will play two conference games in Northern California this week as it faces Davis (10-7, 4-1 Big West) tonight and Pacific (7-11, 2-3 Big West) on Saturday, Jan. 26. UCSB has won six straight games, and looks to make it seven tonight when it takes on the Aggies.
Saturday’s win on the road against rival Cal Poly put the Gauchos at the top of the Big West standings, where they remain one of two unbeaten teams alongside UC Riverside. After earning victories over struggling conference teams such as Northridge (0-15, 0-5 Big West) and Long Beach (3-13, 1-4 Big West), the victory over the 4-1 Mustangs showed that Santa Barbara could win against tougher competition. The victory was a team effort, as four players scored in double figures, including career highs for junior guard Lauren Pedersen and freshman forward Ashlee Brown with 13 and 15 points, respectively.
Santa Barbara also got 14 points from junior forward Kat Suderman, who added six rebounds and a career-high three steals. Suderman has been stellar for the Gauchos in Big West play, as she is averaging 15.4 points in conference games. Her contributions have caused the Gauchos to not miss a beat since they lost senior center Jenna Green for the season.
The Gauchos will face another test tonight against Davis, a team that has won four out of five conference games; its only loss being a 68-57 decision against Riverside earlier this month. The Aggies are led by senior forward Jessica Campbell, who is second in the Big West with 15.4 points per game and leads the conference with a 55.2 field goal percentage. In Davis’ last two games against Fullerton and Irvine, Campbell averaged 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, earning her Big West Player of the Week honors. In addition to Campbell, Santa Barbara will also need to keep an eye on junior forward Haylee Donaghe, who is second on the team with 13.3 points and leads the Big West with 2.71 steals per game.
As a team, the Aggies strength is not on the glass, averaging a conference-low 31.6 rebounds per game with a rebound margin of -5.6. This should be a weakness the Gauchos can exploit, as they have improved their rebounding throughout the season and now average 37.9 boards per contest. Davis makes up for its lack of rebounding with great shooting, as the team shoots 44 percent per game to the Gauchos respectable 41.6 percent. Santa Barbara does have the ability to out-shoot the Aggies, however; in Saturday’s game against Cal Poly the Gauchos were lights out in the second half, shooting 63.2 percent for the half and 47.9 percent for the game.