UCSB Throttles Past Cal State Fullerton, 78-59

Natalia Bruening (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Natalia Bruening (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Donning pink to raise awareness for cancer in the annual Play4Kay game, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team shot 50.9 percent (28-for-55) from the field en route to a 78-59 victory over visiting Cal State Fullerton at the Thunderdome on Thursday night.

Starting in place of injured guard Danae Miller, senior Makala Roper flirted with a triple-double, tallying 11 points, tying her career-high with nine assists and grabbing seven rebounds while Drew Edelman finished with 20 points and eight rebounds to highlight the Gauchos offensively.

The win marks the second straight over the Titans after playing them in back-to-back games, and third in the last four games for UCSB (10-14, 7-5 Big West), who moves into sole possession of fourth-place in the conference standings. Cal State Fullerton, meanwhile, falls to 7-17 overall and 2-9 in the Big West.

Back-to-back three-pointers by Sarah Bates on assists from Drea Toler gave the Gauchos an early lead, although the Titans would use two straight baskets of their own to regain the lead at 9-8 midway through the first quarter.

From there, however, UCSB would break off on a 24-2 run that stretched well into the second quarter, to take a 32-11 lead, its largest of the game. Edelman highlighted the run with eight points down low and the Gauchos were unstoppable in the paint all night, outscoring the Titans 38-18 on the night.

An 18-9 Fullerton run over the last five minutes of the first half made it 41-29 UCSB heading into the break.

In the second half, the Gauchos continued to hold strong on its lead, taking a 49-31 lead after a dazzling drive from Toler, but the Titans hung around and proceeded to go on an 11-1 run to cut the lead to eight points, 50-42.

That would be as close as they would get, as Edelman continued to assert herself down low with four straight points while three Sarah Porter threes stretched the lead back to 18 points in the blink of an eye.

Along with strong nights from Edelman and Roper, Bates and Porter notched double-figures with 13 and 11, respectively. Toler also had a strong game with seven points and five assists and two steals while Tal Sahar finished with two steals and two blocks on the defensive end.

UCSB held Cal State Fullerton to 34.4 percent (21-for-61) shooting from the field and dished out 24 assists on its 28 made field goals, just one off its season-high of 25.

"It's not about the results, it's about the process," said head coach Bonnie Henrickson. It's not who you play, it's not where you play, it's how you play and our how has to be better."

The Gauchos will take on UC Irvine this Saturday at the Thunderdome at 7:00 p.m.