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Gauchos Romp to Big Win over Matadors

Callie Cooper. Photo by Jeff Liang
Callie Cooper. Photo by Jeff Liang

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. (Jan. 19, 2023) — For the third straight game, UC Santa Barbara Women's Basketball (12-5, 5-2 Big West) scored over 20 points in the third quarter and cruised to a 70-45 win over the CSUN Matadors (4-14, 3-5 Big West) Thursday night. Alexis Tucker led all scorers with 18 points, with Jessica Grant (12) and Alexis Whitfield (11) joining her in the double-digit club for the Gauchos. Whitfield finished one rebound shy of a double-double, pulling down a game-high nine boards.

HOW IT HAPPENED
It took four minutes for UC Santa Barbara's offense to get started, but once they were going, they cruised to an 18-point first quarter. As they have all season, the Gauchos capitalized on trips to the free-throw line in the opening frame, shooting 5-6 from the charity stripe. After holding CSUN to 11 points in the first quarter, the UCSB defense held the Matadors to 13 in the second frame, allowing only two points in the final five minutes of the half. Senior Alexis Tucker led all scorers with 10 first-half points, helping the Gauchos to a 31-26 advantage at the break.

As they have made a habit of recently, UCSB flew out of the gates in the second half with a 26-point third quarter. The Gauchos shot over fifty percent (8-15) from the floor in the frame and outscored the Matadors 24-5 in the final six minutes of the quarter. Up 57-38 heading into the fourth quarter, UCSB sealed the win with their defense, holding CSUN to seven points on 2-13 shooting in the game's final frame. UCSB added 13 more points to bring their total up to a nice, even 70.

BY THE NUMBERS
• Sophomore Callie Cooper did everything but block a shot for the Gauchos Thursday night, recording 6 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 steals
• Junior Alyssa Marin and Senior Alexis Tucker both continued their excellent free-throw shooting, going 6-6 and 5-5 from the stripe respectively
• The Gauchos were in the mood for a heist Thursday night, grabbing 12 steals, with nine of those coming in the first half alone
• Senior Ila Lane recorded all of UCSB's blocks against CSUN, swatting a season-high four shots to bring her total up to 12 blocks for the year

UP NEXT
UC Santa Barbara will finish this two-game road trip on Saturday, heading to Bakersfield for a rematch with the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners. The Gauchos won their first meeting with the Roadrunners by the slimmest of margins on January 11 in the Thunderdome, 63-62. Saturday's game will be live on ESPN+, with tip-off at 2 p.m.