No. 1 UC Santa Barbara and No. 3 Cal Poly Advances To Finals
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CP-UCR Box Score
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UCSB-CSF Box Score
No. 1 UC Santa Barbara Sails To Finals With Win Over No. 6 Cal State Fullerton
Lauren Pedersen scored 23 points to lead top-seed UC Santa Barbara over No. 6 Cal State Fullerton, 60-52, in a Big West Tournament semifinal game, Friday, at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Gauchos (21-9) led by 21 points with under nine minutes to play before the Titans (10-20) pulled within six with 1:15 left. Jenna Green added a double-double for UCSB with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Toni Thomas led three Titans in double figures with 19 points and eight rebounds.
UC Santa Barbara shot 54 percent for the game while holding Cal State Fullerton to 32 percent. The Gauchos also held a 32-26 rebounding edge. With the win, UCSB advances to Saturday championship game against the winner of Friday’s other semifinal between UC Riverside and Cal Poly.
Pedersen scored all 12 of her first half points in a 10-minute stretch that turned a two-point Gaucho lead into a 24-15 cushion. At one point, she poured in eight points in a three-minute span with the last six coming on back-to-back three-pointers to make it 20-11 with 7:08 left in the half. UC Santa Barbara led by as many as 12 points when Emilie Johnson connected from beyond the arc to make it 31-19 with 28 seconds remaining. The Gauchos went to the locker room leading 31-20.
UCSB shot 58 percent in the first half while holding Cal State Fullerton to just 30 percent. The Titans went 1-for-10 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes and 3-for-20 for the game.
The Gauchos continued their stingy defense into the second half as the Titans made just two field goals in the first 11 minutes. It was 37-26 at the 15:15 mark before UCSB held Cal State Fullerton scoreless for the next six minutes. At the same time, the Gauchos scored eight points to push the lead to 49-28 with 8:59 remaining.
The Titans did not go away quietly, though, as they put together an 8-0 run of their own. Daviyonne Weathersby, who finished with 10 points, had jumpers to start and finish the burst to help trim the deficit to 49-37 with 5:58 to play. A 7-0 run late in the game made it 56-50 with 1:15 left, completing a 22-7 run. The Titans had a chance to get even closer in the final minute, but Lauren Chow missed a three-pointer with 45 seconds to go that would have cut it to 56-53.
Pedersen finished 7-for-12 from the field, including a pair of three-pointers. She also went 7-for-11 from the line.
Megan Richardson was the third Titan in double figures with 13 points.
The win was the fourth straight for the Gauchos in the their first game of the tournament. The Titans were trying to win their third game in as many days after defeating No. 7 UC Irvine on Wednesday and No. 4 Pacific on Thursday.
Saturday’s championship game tips at 1 p.m and will air live on Fox Sports Net-Prime Ticket. The winner receives the Big West’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
No. 3 Cal Poly Reaches Finals With Last-Second Shot
Kristina Santiago made a layup with 1.7 seconds remaining to give No. 3 Cal Poly (21-10) a 58-57 victory over No. 2 UC Riverside (19-11) in the semifinals of the Big West Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center. Santiago’s bucket capped of a 7-0 run by the Mustangs in the final 2:58 to overcome a six-point deficit. The victory sends the Mustangs into Saturday’s championship game against No. 1 UC Santa Barbara.
The deciding bucket was set up after UCR’s Chanel Foster missed the front end of a one-and-one with eight seconds left with the Highlanders clinging to a 57-56 lead. Tratter grabbed the rebound, and the Mustangs pushed the ball to Santiago who made the driving layup. UCR’s Seyram Gbewonyo missed a long three-pointer as time expired.
Megan Harrison and Becky Tratter each led Cal Poly (21-10) with 14 points. Lisa McBride tossed in 10 to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds. Cal Poly dominated the boards with a 40-24 rebounding advantage. Roney Friend led UC Riverside with a game-high 16 points.
After a 30-30 tie at halftime, Cal Poly trailed for virtually the remainder of the game. In fact, the final score was the Mustangs’ only lead in the second half.
A back-and-forth first half featured eight lead changes and eight ties. Neither team led by more than two points in the first seven minutes before an 8-0 run gave Cal Poly a 14-8 lead at the 11:56 mark. The Mustangs would lead by as many as eight points before a 10-1 run by UC Riverside put the Highlanders in front 21-20 with 6:07 remaining. Kemie Nkele had a three-pointer and six points during the burst.
The lead would change hands three more times before the end of the half. Harrison scored Cal Poly’s final six points to give her 11 by the break.
UC Riverside scored in its first seven possessions of the second half but couldn’t shake Cal Poly. A Santiago basket at the 13:08 mark cut the Highlander lead to 45-44. UC Riverside went on a 10-3 run and built a 55-47 lead with 7:06 to play. In the process, UCR held Cal Poly scoreless for over five minutes. The eight-point lead was the largest for either team.
Tratter stopped the drought with a layup with 5:45 left to pull the Mustangs within six. A bucket by Tainoisouti Lott kept UC Riverside in front 57-51 with 3:14 to play, but it would also be the last time the Highlanders would score.
UC Riverside shot 45 percent for the game while Cal Poly finished at 40 percent. The Mustangs made 6-of-14 from beyond the arc, and the Highlanders struggled by making just two of their 10 attempts.
Saturday’s championship game will begin at 1 p.m. and will air live on Fox Sports Net-Prime Ticket.