RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team went back-and-forth and down to the wire against UC Riverside on Thursday night, but it was the Highlanders that prevailed, 84-76, in a tight Big West Conference battle at SRC Arena.
Drew Edelman recorded her second straight double-double and third in her last four games with a 21-point, 10-rebound performance for UCSB but UC Riverside's Michelle Curry was unstoppable to the tune of 30 points, with 11 points alone in the first and fourth quarters of the game.
With the loss, the Gauchos fall to 8-14 overall and 5-5 in conference play while the Highlanders improve to 7-17 overall and 4-6 in the Big West.
If the first quarter would be any indicator of the close game, the two teams were deadlocked 23-23 after the first 10 minutes of play.
UCSB and UCR continued to trade baskets until the Highlanders broke out on an 11-3 run to take a 10-point lead, 45-35, heading into the half.
The Gauchos responded right away with a 10-0 run, highlighted by eight points from Edelman, to tie the game at 45-45 midway through the third.
In a game that featured nine lead changes and 10 ties, it remained close into the fourth and a Tal Sahar three-pointer gave the Gauchos a 67-63 lead with 6:27 remaining. That would be the final lead for UCSB as the Highlanders scored six straight points to regain the lead and held off UCSB down the stretch.
Free-throws played a key role in the game as UC Riverside got to the line 22 times and made 16 of them while UCSB was 4-for-4 from the stripe.
Along with Edelman's double-double, Sarah Bates and Sarah Porter also reached double-figures with 12 points apiece and Danae Miller dished out a game-high six assists on a night where UCSB tallied a season-best 25 assists.
UC Riverside shot 52.5 percent (32-for-61) to the Gauchos' 46.2 percent (30-for-65) from the field and put four players in double-figures. After Curry's 30 points and nine rebounds, Lauren Holt tallied 15 while Skyler Lewis and Malou de Kergret each scored 11.
UCSB continues road action this Saturday, Feb. 10 at Cal State Fullerton. The game will air on ESPN3/WatchESPN at 6:00 p.m.