Jan. 17, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Mia Fisher and Karena Bonds each scored 17 points for UC Santa Barbara and the Gauchos went on a 16-2 run in the second half to break open a tight game as the nine-time defending Big West Conference champions defeated UC Davis 85-67 in a nonconference women's basketball matchup before 1,009 fans at the Thunderdome.
The Aggies, who had five players in double figures including Ellen Porshneva and Kimberly Smith who each had 12, dropped to 5-11. UC Santa Barbara, which has been to the NCAA Tournament every year since 1997 including last year when the Gauchos advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, improved to 7-7. Laura Thomas had 10 first-half points for UC Davis, including a trio of three-pointers.
The Aggies also did a solid job against forward Kristen Mann, an honorable mention All-America last season who is among the nation's scoring leaders this year. Mann finished with just 14 points, below her season average of 21.6.
UC Davis only trailed 42-37 at halftime and was down just 48-46 with 15 minutes, 8 seconds to play before the Gauchos scored 16 of the next 18 points to take a 64-48 lead midway through the half. Guard Erin O'Bryan hit a pair of three-pointers, forward Autumn Nichols scored six points and guard Mia Fisher had four as UCSB took control.
"I thought Santa Barbara played extremely well in the second half and I think they showed why they're the stand-bearers of this conference," said UC Davis coach Sandy Simpson.
The Gauchos extended the lead to as much as 20 points the rest
of the way, not allowing the Aggies to get any closer than 15.
But for the first 25 minutes of the game, UCSB got all it could
handle from UC Davis which made 8 of 14 three-pointers in the
first half and shot 50 percent (14 of 28) from the field overall.
The Aggies led twice in the opening minutes, the last time coming at 11-9 with just over four minutes gone as Lara Gray hit a three-pointer. UCSB responded by forging a three nine-point leads before treys by Smith and then a free throw and a trio of three-pointers from Thomas brought the Aggies to within 35-32 with 3:06 to play. The rally brought excitement to the Aggie bench.
"It was great because we had nothing to lose and everything to gain," said Porshneva. "The best thing is we just wanted to show what we can do."
UCSB later led 40-32 before Gray had a two-pointer and a three-pointer to make it 42-37 at halftime. After the lead grew again to nine points early in the second half, UC Davis went on a 9-2 run to make it 48-46 before the Gauchos put on their big run. UC Davis was just 1 of 10 from long distance after halftime.
UC Davis was out-rebounded 40-26 but committed just 16 turnovers. The Aggies also had 18 assists, seven of them from Jessica Campbell. Besides Porshneva and Smith, UC Davis got double-figure scoring from Campbell who had 11, and Gray and Thomas who had 10 each. Gray finished with a team-high six rebounds. Smith had a trio of three-pointers in the game while Gray had two.
Fisher and Bonds combined to go 15 of 24 from the field while Nichols and Mann each had 14 points. O'Bryan, who had four three-pointers, finished with 12 points.
UC Davis finishes a three-game set of games away from The Pavilion when it visits Long Beach State on Saturday for a 7 p.m. game.