Thanks to Alexis Tucker and Ila Lane, UCSB women’s basketball (15-6, 8-3 Big West) held a 10-point lead with four minutes left in their Saturday afternoon game against CSUN (4-18, 3-9 Big West). The Gauchos then had to hold on for dear life, as that lead turned from 10 into one in the game’s final seconds. UCSB forced a timely turnover and hit enough free throws in the final seven seconds to hold on to a 64-61 win and complete a regular-season sweep of the Matadors.
Tucker and Lane both finished with 16 points, with Lane coming one rebound shy of her ninth double-double on the season. However, the center still etched her name into the UCSB record books. Lane’s nine rebounds Saturday give her 813 career boards, the tenth most in Gaucho women’s basketball history. She is two away from ninth all-time.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Before the game, the Gauchos celebrated Alexis Tucker and Ila Lane, who each scored the 1000th points of their career in their last home game, January 26 against Hawaii. Right after the game tipped off, it was the visiting Matadors who were celebrating scores, racing out to a six-point lead by the first media timeout. But then the Ila Lane show rolled into the Thunderdome. The center scored 14 of her 16 points in the first half alone, helping the Gauchos take a 33-29 lead into the break.
In the second half, Tucker took over the scoring duties, with help from Alyssa Marin and Anya Choice. Tucker scored 11 of her 16 points in the second half, with Marin celebrating her birthday by adding six in the third quarter. It was in that third quarter that Lane hauled in her fourth rebound of the game, putting her ahead of Kayte Christensen and into tenth on the Gauchos’ all-time list. The next Gauchos ahead of Lane are Becky Brown (814) and Legend of the Dome, Kristen Mann (820).
In the fourth quarter, Tucker kept on scoring, with Choice adding four points in the frame to balloon the UCSB lead to 10. After that lead vanished, it was Tucker who iced the game, hitting three of four free throws in the final seven seconds.
BY THE NUMBERS
– Sophomore Kennedy Johnson had one of her best games of the season, scoring eight points off the bench, the most by any Gaucho substitute and as many as the entire CSUN bench combined.
– UCSB shot 52.1% from the field Saturday afternoon, their most efficient performance in conference action this season.
– Alexis Tucker and Ila Lane scored their 16 points the exact same way: six two-point field goals, plus four free throws.
The Gauchos will play at the Thunderdome again on Thursday, Feb. 9 as they host Long Beach State. The Beach is currently in first place in The Big West after taking down previous conference leaders UC Irvine. As part of Black History Month, UCSB will be celebrating Black history at Thursday night’s game. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be live on ESPN+.
Eric Boose writes about sports for UCSB.