UC Santa Barbara Rallies, Escapes Titan Gym With 73-71 Victory

Dec. 30, 2006

Box Score

FULLERTON, CA - UC Santa Barbara's Whitney Warren scored the go-ahead basket with just over three minutes to go and the Gauchos rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit to escape Titan Gym with a narrow 73-71 victory over host Cal State Fullerton on Saturday afternoon in a Big West Conference women's basketball match-up.

The loss drops the Titans to 6-9 overall and 1-1 in league play as they have lost the last two games against the Gauchos at Titan Gym by a combined three points after last year's 79-78 defeat.

UC Santa Barbara, which has now won 26 consecutive games against Cal State Fullerton dating back to the 1994-95 season, improved to 5-8 overall and 1-1 in conference play.

Sophomore Toni Thomas led the Titans with 20 points and seven rebounds while playing all 40 minutes. She was joined in double figures by senior India McDaniel, who had 16 points, and senior Charlee Underwood, who finished with 14.

Leading by six points at halftime, Fullerton came out firing to start the second half, opening with an 11-1 run over the first four minutes to build a 16-point, 43-27, advantage.

The Gauchos then steadily chipped away at the advantage as a jumper by Jessica Wilson with just over 14 minutes remaining jump-started a 13-2 run by UCSB to whittle the lead down to just five points with 10:13 remaining.

Back-to-back three pointers by Andrea Adams upped the lead back to 11 points, but then the Titans' offense went cold, going scoreless over the next two minutes while the Gauchos scored seven straight to close to within four points at 56-52 with 7:34 remaining.

The two teams traded baskets over the next 2:26, before UC Santa Barbara embarked on its game-winning push. Jenna Green brought the Gauchos closer with a pair of free throws and, after a lay-up by Wilson, tied the game with a basket inside to make it 65-65 with 3:42 to play.

Warren's put back off a miss by Green then gave UCSB the lead - one that grew to as many as five points with just over a minute left in the game.

Thomas brought the Titans to within three with a lay-up with 41 seconds left and Fullerton got to within a single point after a pair of free throws by Underwood to make it 72-71 with :39 remaining.

Cal State Fullerton then had three chances at the game-winning basket, but the Titans could not connect, stepping out of bounds after the final miss and turning the ball over to the Gauchos with four seconds left.

Green then hit 1-of-2 after a quick foul on the inbound pass to make it a two-point game, but Thomas' three-pointer at the buzzer went just wide giving UCSB the win.

The Titans opened by scoring the game's first eight points, but the Gauchos exploded for a 15-2 run over the next six minutes to build a five-point advantage.

Fullerton tied the game at 21-21 on a pair of free throws by Audrey Taylor with 4:03 to go and the Titans closed out the half on an 11-5 run to lead 32-36 at the break.

Green led all scorers with a game-high 23 points and eight rebounds. Wilson (14 points), Jordan Franey (12), and Warren (10) were also in double figures for the Gauchos, who outrebounded the Titans, 42-30, and shot 44 percent from the field to Fullerton's 36 percent.

Cal State Fullerton returns to the court on Thursday (Jan. 4) at 7 p.m. as the Titans ring in the New Year with a road conference match-up at Cal State Northridge.