The UCSB women’s basketball team enjoyed its largest win of the Big West season Saturday at the Thunderdome, never trailing in a 73-40 thrashing of Cal Poly.
The Gauchos (13-7, 7-4) earned their first Blue-Green rivalry sweep since the 2008-09 season, winning their third straight game overall by double-digits. Junior center Ila Lane led the way at the home game with her conference-leading eighth double-double this year, posting 17 points (7/11 FG) and 11 rebounds.
Junior guard Alexis Tucker (12 points) scored over 10 for the fourth time in five outings and senior Taylor Mole (10) also reached double-figures.
It was a slow start out of the gates for the Gauchos, but behind one of their best crowds of the season, they picked up the energy and closed the final 2:24 of the first quarter on a 7-2 run.
UCSB led 15-10 after one despite its rough shooting start. That changed in the second period, when the home side shot 50 percent while holding Cal Poly to just 3-of-14 (21.4%) from the field.
The Gaucho starters forced turnovers and contributed to an 11-0 spurt that included two threes from Mole. The Australian native also hit a driving shot in the final seconds of the half to send UCSB into halftime with a commanding 34-18 lead.
Five minutes into the second half, Santa Barbara’s lead grew to 20 while Cal Poly’s offense was shut out. The Mustangs (3-15, 2-7) made just 2-of-16 (12.5%) attempts in the third.
The Gauchos went to their bench down the stretch as the lead grew to as large as 37 points. Center Laurel Rockwood (6 points) made all three of her shots in the fourth and Kennedy Johnson (5), Tatyana Modawar (3) and Analilia Cabuena (3) all got in on the scoring as well. UCSB shot 66.7 percent as a team in the final period, one of its best quarters of the season.
UCSB topped its biggest conference win, which also came against Cal Poly, by 10 points, making it a 28-point average margin of victory over the Mustangs this year.
The Gauchos forced 16 turnovers and were deadly in converting them into points, finishing with a 25-7 edge in points off turnovers.
Since the start of Big West play, UCSB set highs in assists (20) and blocks (7) while turning it over its fewest times (12). Guards Danae Miller and Anya Choice had five and four assists, respectively. Rockwood became the fourth Gaucho this year with two blocks in a game.
This week, UCSB returns to the road to face Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m. Thursday and Long Beach State at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Michael Jorgenson writes about sports for UCSB.