FULLERTON — The UCSB women’s basketball team (18-8, 11-5 Big West) scored 21 of the game’s final 26 points Monday night to pull away from Cal State Fullerton (11-15, 6-11 Big West) and earn a 74-58 win in Titan Gym, something only four other teams have done all season.
Alexis Tucker scored 15 of UCSB’s 27 fourth-quarter points herself and finished with 26 in the game to lead all scorers.
Callie Cooper added 15 points of her own while shooting 4-4 from three-point range, setting new career highs in points and three-pointers made.
The Gauchos have now won back-to-back games for the first time since January 21 and 26.
UCSB got a couple open looks from three-point range early in the first quarter and converted them both, but otherwise started the game slowly, falling behind, 16-10, at one point.
The offense started clicking more with under two minutes left in the opening frame, with Callie Cooper driving the lane and drawing the foul for a three-point play. That kick-started a 14-4 Gaucho scoring run over the next four and a half minutes of game time, giving UCSB the lead, which the Gauchos would keep into halftime.
With 17 seconds until the break, Cooper put the Gauchos up nine, beating the shot clock with her third three of the half, only for Cal State Fullerton to hit a buzzer-beating three of its own to keep the difference to six as players headed for the locker room.
That lead would only get narrower in the third quarter, with the Titans edging within one multiple times, eventually taking the lead themselves with two minutes left in the frame. The teams traded buckets to leave the score tied at 47 after three quarters and continued exchanging scores in the early minutes of the fourth, eventually arriving at a 53-53 tie with six and a half minutes to play.
Which is when Alexis Tucker took over.
She dropped in a layup to start, then drove the baseline for an and-one the next time down. She buried a jumper on the next possession to cap off a 7-0 individual run.
Alyssa Marin joined in on the fun, hitting a three to make it a 10-0 Gaucho run in just two minutes of basketball.
Marin’s three-ball wasn’t the dagger with four minutes left to play, but UCSB never looked back, leading by nine or more for the rest of the game. With a minute and a half to go, it was Cooper to put the result beyond all doubt, hitting her fourth three-pointer of the night to reach a new career high in both points and three-pointers made.
Tucker finished off her 26-point night with four trips to the free-throw line before the final buzzer sounded. The senior finished a perfect 7-7 from the charity stripe.
Monday night was UCSB’s most efficient three-point shooting night in Big West play this season, hitting six of 13 (46.2%) from beyond the arc
Tucker’s 26 points are the most she has scored in a game since UCSB’s triple-overtime win against Southern Utah in December. They are the most she has scored in regulation in her career
Callie Cooper is the first Gaucho to shoot 100% from three-point range on three or more attempts in a game this season. Anya Choice is the only other Gaucho to be perfect on multiple attempts, hitting two of two from downtown against Cal Poly in January.
Ila Lane collected nine rebounds Monday night, bringing her career total to 853. She is now 12 away from ranking fifth in program history for career rebounds
UCSB continues its road trip on Thursday, traveling to an even tougher place to play: Long Beach State’s Walter Pyramid. There, the third-place Gauchos will take on the conference-leading Beach in a potential Big West Championship preview.
Thursday’s game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. and will be live on ESPN+
Eric Boose is assistant director of athletic communications at UCSB.