Gauchos Get Their Groove Back in Win Over Hawaii

Drew Edelman (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Drew Edelman (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Drew Edelman scored a career-high 27 points and the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team bounced back from a poor shooting night on Wednesday with a double-digit, 71-61, victory over Hawai'i on Saturday afternoon at the Thunderdome.

The win puts UCSB (8-13, 5-4 Big West) a game over .500 in conference play while Hawai'i drops to 9-14 overall and 2-8 in the Big West.

After shooting just 20.3 percent earlier in the week against CSUN, the second-lowest percentage in program history, the Gauchos flipped the script and came out red hot against the Rainbow Wahine. 

UCSB looked down low to Edelman early and often, and the senior forward took advantage of single coverage in the paint. After scoring the first four points of the game, Edelman scored eight more during a 12-0 run to help the Gauchos take a 27-16 lead midway into the second quarter.

UCSB shot 58.3 percent (14-for-24) from the field in the first half and took a 34-24 lead into the break behind 19 early points from Edelman.

The Gauchos continued their torrid pace to start the second half of play, using a 15-5 spurt, highlighted by three-pointers from Akilah Jennings, Sarah Bates and Sarah Porter, to stretch the lead even further to 49-29.

Later in the quarter, Jennings dialed in another triple from distance and Edelman knocked down a pair of free-throws on the following possession to give UCSB its largest lead of the game, up 56-33 with 1:49 left in the third.   

Hawai'i would not go quietly into the night and mounted a 24-7 run to make it a 63-57 game with 1:23 remaining in the fourth, but UCSB made all eight of its free-throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Along with her career and game-high 27 points, Edelman pulled down 12 rebounds for the double-double while Bates also reached double-figures with 13 points to go with a career-high six assists. Drea Toler was also active in the passing game, registering a season-best six assists along with a season-high four steals.

The Rainbow Wahine were led by Sarah Toeaina, who finished with 25 points, while Tia Kanoa tallied 14 points and nine assists.

The Gauchos head back out on the road for their next game, Thursday, Feb. 8 at UC Riverside at 7:00 p.m.