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Women's Basketball

No. 1 UC Santa Barbara, No. 2 UC Davis Battle In Big West Tournament Finals Saturday

Files associated with this release:
UC Santa Barbara-Cal Poly Box Score
UC Santa Barbara-Cal Poly Quotes
UC Davis-UC Riverside Box Score
UC Davis-UC Riverside Quotes

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Post game interviews


UC Santa Barbara Downs Cal Poly, 77-57, To Advance To Big West Finals For 12th-Straight Year

Make it 12 straight appearances for Mark French and the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in the Big West Tournament finals. Behind 15 points from Sha’Rae Gibbons, UC Santa Barbara (22-7) defeated Cal Poly (13-19), 77-57, Friday afternoon in the semi-finals of the Big West Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center.

In all, five different Gauchos reached double figures in the victory. Gibbons was 5-of-8 from the field and 2-of-4 from 3-point range. She added four assists and two rebounds for the Gauchos. Lauren Pedersen scored 12 points, two rebounds, three assists and four steals while Chisa Ononiwu added 11 points and four rebounds.

Finally, Jessica Wilson, the Big West Player of the Year, and Whitney Warren each chipped in 10 points in the victory. Wilson added a team-high six rebounds in the win while Warren’s 10 points was a season high.

The Gauchos employed a suffocating defense throughout the game, limiting the Mustangs to just 40.7 percent shooting (22-of-54) from the floor and 10 percent shooting (1-of-10) from 3-point range. Rebecca Tratter led the Mustangs with 18 points and eight rebounds in the defeat.

Santa Barbara took a 49-30 lead into the locker room at halftime behind 13 points from Gibbons and 10 points from Pedersen. UCSB shot 48.4 percent from the field in the first half (15-of-31) and 57.1 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (4-of-7). Tratter paced the Mustangs with 13 points at the break. As a team, Cal Poly shot 40 percent from the field in the first half (12-of-30).

UCSB jumped out to a 12-4 lead as four different Gauchos scored field goals in the early going. However, Cal Poly responded with a pair of baskets by Tamara Wells and Tratter to make the score 12-8 with 14:20 left in the first half.

UCSB answered with a 9-2 run, sparked by four lay-ups by four different players to lead 21-10 with 11:37 left in the frame. The Gauchos extended their lead to 33-12 before the Mustangs’ Tratter converted an old-fashioned 3-point play with 6:18 left in the half to draw the score to 35-20.

The Mustangs’ Sparkle Anderson was assessed a technical foul with 5:01 in the first half after running through a screen on the offensive end. Gibbons then scored the Gauchos’ next six points to increase UCSB’s lead to 45-22 with 3:48 left in the first half.

Tratter then scored eight of Cal Poly’s next 10 points to cut the lead to 49-30 with one minute left in the half. The referees handed out another pair of technical fouls with 35.8 seconds left in the half after a Santa Barbara miss, when Cal Poly’s Kristen Santiago and Gibbons got tangled up on the floor.

In the second half, the teams traded baskets for a while, with Santa Barbara maintaining its sizeable advantage. The Gauchos’ Megan Williams connected on a 3-pointer to increase UCSB’s lead to 63-36 with 11:30 left in the game.

At one point, Cal Poly outscored UCSB, 14-2, during the second half before Ononiwu converted a traditional 3-point play to put Santa Barbara ahead, 68-50, with 4:54 left in the game.

The Mustangs reached the semi-finals after defeating UC Irvine, 76-61, and Pacific, 79-76. As the Big West’s regular season champions, the Gauchos received a bye through the first two rounds of the tournament. Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara met twice during the regular season with the Gauchos winning both contests.

Santa Barbara will now face the winner of the UC Davis-UC Riverside game in the Big West Championship with a berth in the NCAA Tournament at stake. The Highlanders have won the Big West Tournament the past two seasons, upending the Gauchos in both finales. Tip off is slated for noon on Saturday, Mar. 15 and the contest will air live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.

UC Davis Bound for Big West Final with 63-53 Victory over UC Riverside

It didn't take long for Sandy Simpson and UC Davis to make an impact in the Big West Conference. The second-seeded Aggies and Simpson, the Big West Coach of the Year, earned a trip to the Big West Tournament final against top-seeded UC Santa Barbara on Saturday with a 63-53 win over third-seeded UC Riverside. Haylee Donaghe scored 13 points and while Heather Bates also added 13 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the victory.

The Aggies, who are in their first year as a member of the Big West Conference, battled the two-time defending Big West champion Highlanders in a game that featured five ties and 11 lead changes. They outscored the Highlanders, 17-6, after trailing 47-46 with 6:54 left in the game.

Donaghe finished 4-of-9 from the field and added three steals in the victory. Jessica Campbell and Anna Harp each scored 11 points for UC Davis. Harp was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field while Campbell added six rebounds.

Seyram Gbewonyo finished with 17 points to lead UC Riverside, adding three blocks and three steals to her final line. Amber Cox scored 13 points and Brittany Waddell added 12 for UC Riverside, who had won the past two Big West Tournaments.

As a team, UC Davis shot 58.3 percent from the field (21-of-36) and 62.5 percent from 3-point range (5-of-8). Conversely, the Highlanders shot just 27.3 percent from the field (15-of-55).

The Aggies held a 24-22 lead at halftime. Gbewonyo led UC Riverside with seven points at the break, although the Highlanders shot just 19.3 percent from the field in the stanza. Donaghe led UC Davis at the half, also scoring seven points.

Both teams came out firing in the early minutes of the game. The Aggies' Donaghe and Riverside's Amber Cox each had five points in the first four minutes of action. However, the game evolved into a defensive struggle, as the Aggies led, 9-5, with 11:29 left in the first half.

With 9:45 left in the first half, UCR's Tainoisouti Lott made a lay-up to tie the score at 12. The Aggies then built a four-point lead following a pair of free throws by Ellen Porshneva. Four free throws by Gbewonyo closed the lead to one, 19-18, with 4:45 left in the first half.

The Highlanders picked up their first lead of the game following a pair of free throws by Chanel Foster with 3:36 left in the period. A 3-pointer by Genevieve Costello gave the lead back to UCD at 22-21, only to see Gbewonyo tie it on Riverside's next trip down the floor with a free throw. Davis' Jessica Campbell then hit a baseline jumper as time expired to propel the Aggies to a 24-22 halftime lead.

The teams traded baskets early in the second half with the lead changing three times in the first two minutes. A 3-pointer by UC Riverside's Brittany Waddell gave UCR a 31-26 advantage with 17:31 left in the game.

Waddell then made three free throws following a foul by Kirsten Commins and drained another 3-point bomb to increase the Highlanders' lead to 37-32 with 12:30 to play. Donaghe then connected on a lay-up and Porshneva hit a hook shot to give UC Davis the lead back, 38-37.

With 9:30 left in the game, Harp hit a lay-up with the shot clock winding down to extend Davis' lead to 43-39. The teams then exchanged 3-pointers, with Gbewonyo canning one with 7:35 left in the game to draw the score to 46-45 in the Aggies’ favor.

Harp converted a traditional three-point play and Donaghe hit a free throw with just over six minutes left in the game to give UC Davis a 50-47 lead. The lead jumped to eight, 55-47, following a 3-pointer by Heather Bates.

The Gauchos and Aggies met twice this season, with the teams splitting a pair of overtime affairs. The game, which can be seen live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket, is set to tip off at noon on Saturday, Mar. 15 at the Anaheim Convention Center.