A pair of familiar names advanced to the 2010 Big West Women's Basketball Tournament Semifinals today as #3 UC Riverside and #5 UC Santa Barbara won quarterfinal games to clinch their spots.
#3 UC Riverside Runs Past #6 Cal State Fullerton
UC Riverside defeated Cal State Fullerton, 73-54, Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Basketball Championship at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. The No. 3 Highlanders put steady pressure on the No. 6 Titans and led virtually from start to finish. Alyssa Morris scored 16 and Brittany Waddell added 14 to help UCR (15-15) advance to Friday’s semifinals. Mya Olivier led Cal State Fullerton (15-17) with 11 points.
It was an effort highlighted by the UCR defense. The Highlanders stifled the Titans most of the game as they shot just 33 percent and committed 18 turnovers. UCR also had 10 blocks. On the other side, UC Riverside shot 49 percent with just 12 turnovers.
The decisive stretch was a span of nearly 10 minutes in the second half when the Highlanders limited the Titans to just one field goal. It also allowed UCR to turn a nine-point lead into a 20-point cushion. The first part of that burst was a 16-6 run in a span of seven minutes that made it 52-33. UC Riverside led by as many as 23 points with six minutes to go.
The game was close through the first 12 minutes as the Highlanders owned just an 18-14 lead. UCR then went on a 9-2 run to open up a 27-16 advantage with 5:21 left in the half and went on to lead 32-24 at the break
The Highlanders outscored the Titans 18-7 from the free throw line and finished 18-for-20 from the stripe.
Each team had three players finish with 10 or more points. Rheya Neabors was the third Highlander to reach double-figures with 10 points. Megan Richardson and Britt Peters added 10 for the Titans.
UC Riverside will next face No. 2 Cal Poly in the second semifinal Friday afternoon at approximately 2:30 pm.
#5 UC Santa Barbara Upsets #4 Long Beach State
UC Santa Barbara dominated Long Beach State, 73-50, Thursday afternoon in quarterfinal action at the Big West Women’s Basketball Championship at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. The No. 5 Gauchos began to pull away late in the first half and built as much as a 30-point lead in the second half. Meagan Williams led UCSB with 22 points, and Emilie Johnson added 18. Mekia Valentine was also a force with 11 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks. Karina Figueroa led the No. 4 49ers with 14 points.
The Gauchos controlled almost every aspect of the game. They shot 49 percent and held LBSU (13-17) to 29 percent. In addition, Valentine was a big reason why UCSB (15-16) owned a 46-29 advantage on the boards.
Neither team led by more than five until late in the first half. Early on, it was Long Beach State with a 13-8 edge after a layup by Lindsey Beckner with 14:46 left in the first half. The 49ers continued to hold a three-point cushion at the midway point of the period before the Gauchos put together the first big run of the game.
It started with a three-pointer by Ariana Knekow to tie it at 19-19. A fastbreak layup by Williams gave the Gauchos a 21-19 lead, which was their first of the game. Three minutes later, UCSB had completed an 11-2 run and taken a 27-21 lead. Williams and Johnson combined to score 20 of UCSB’s first 25 points.
The Gauchos pushed the margin to 33-25 before settling for a 33-27 lead at the half.
UCSB continued to pressure LBSU to start the second half and used another 11-2 run to start the period and extend its lead to 44-29 with 15:30 to go. From that point, it was more of the same as UCSB eventually used a 13-0 run later in the half to lead 69-39.
There were relatively few turnovers in the game as UCSB committed nine compared to just six for LBSU.
Gnekow was the fourth Gaucho in double-figures with 11 points. On the other side, Ally Wade finished with 10 for LBSU.
UC Santa Barbara will advance to Friday's semifinals to face top-seeded UC Davis.