SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Arizona's women's basketball team defeats UC Santa Barbara on Sunday afternoon, 71-63, in front of a crowd of 2,029 at the Thunderdome. Arizona's Elizabeth Pickney led all scorers with 20 points as the Wildcats outscored UCSB 13-to-5 in the last two and a half minutes of play to secure the victory. Sophomore guard Debby Caine led the Gauchos with 16 points and six assists. UCSB drops to 1-3 on the young season, while the Wildcats improve to 2-1.
With 3:21 remaining a Rachelle Rogers' free-throw tied the game at 58. Arizona took the lead on a Veranda James layup after a UCSB turnover. With two minutes remaining, Rogers missed an open three-pointer on the left wing. Arizona went up by four, 62-58, after Pickney hit a jumper with 1:51 remaining. Another Gaucho turnover forced UCSB to foul the Wildcats and send them to the free-throw line over the last minute of the game. The Wildcats responded, hitting eight free-throws in a row down the stretch to run away with the game 71-63.
The Gauchos started strong on the play of senior forward Nicole Greathouse, who hit three three-pointers in the first five minutes of play to put the Gauchos ahead 12-7. Greathouse scored all of her 13 points in the first half and grabbed five of her seven rebounds. UCSB led by as much as five in the period which saw 11 lead changes. Heading into intermission, the two teams were tied at 32-32.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 35-32 lead in the second period on a three-pointer by Reshea Bristol. However, the Gauchos scored six unanswered points to take the lead 38-35 with 16 minutes left. UCSB held their lead for five minutes before the Wildcats went on a 12-3 run to re-gain the advantage. The Gauchos stayed tough, taking the lead again on a Debby Caine three-pointer with 6:10 remaining. However, Arizona proved to be too much as they outscored UCSB 13-to-5.
Kayte Christensen and Jess Hansen, UCSB's two leading scorers on the season, were held to seven points combined. Christensen, who scored five points and grabbed eight rebounds, was one for seven from the field, while Hansen was limited to two points in the contest and had to leave the game with a hip pointer with minute to play in the game. Senior forward Rachelle Rogers posted 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while freshman Jessica Combs added five points and seven rebounds in only 14 minutes of action.
UCSB will return to action on Friday, December 1st when they face Kent State in the Wells Fargo Classic in Tempe, Arizona at 6:00 p.m.