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College Basketball

Sarah Porter Leads Charge for UCSB in Win Over Long Beach St.

Five Gauchos score in double figures

UC Santa Barbara held on late to earn its third consecutive victory, beating first-place Long Beach State 65-60 in a Big West women's basketball game on Thursday night at the Thunderdome.

A season-high five Gauchos scored in double-figures, with Sarah Porter leading the way with a team-high 17 points on 5-10 shooting overall and 3-6 from three-point range. The redshirt sophomore guard also added a career-high 13 rebounds, the most of any Gaucho this season, to earn her first career double-double.

"For us to have five people in double-figures, that's fun. That's a fun team to watch and to play on," head coach Bonnie Henrickson said, because everybody feels like they have an opportunity to score, attack and be aggressive, and we had that tonight."

This marks the second straight game that UCSB (8-9, 3-1) has knocked off a team with an undefeated record in conference play, having taken down previously undefeated UC Riverside 58-54 last Saturday. After dropping their Big West opener to Cal Poly, the Gauchos are now 3-1 in conference and find themselves in a three-way tie with both Long Beach and UCR for the second-best record.

"It's really fun. We're up, making hustle plays, we take charges, that's what we want," junior forward Chaya Durrsaid. "On the bench, we say, 'Lets go, lets get loud.' It's nice to be on a team like this. Hopefully it continues."

Drea Toler had another efficient shooting night, going 6-12 from the field to tie a personal-best 14 points to go along with six assists. She has now shot at least 50 percent in six of the last eight games.

Drew Edelman went a perfect 4-4 from the field, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds to earn her fourth double-double in the last six games. It was the first time this season that two Gauchos finished with double-doubles.

After beginning the fourth quarter down 47-41, the 49ers were able to keep it close heading into the closing minutes. The Beach pulled within a point on two different occasions over the final 4:18, the second one coming at the 1:56 mark when Cece Wilson knocked down a clutch jumper to make it 56-55 in favor of the home side.

Senior point guard Onome Jemerigbe would get fouled on each of UCSB's next two possessions, going 4-4 from the free-throw line to push the Gauchos' lead back up to 60-55 with 56 seconds to go. Playing with urgency, the 49ers responded in just five seconds as Raven Benton put in a layup and was fouled, but missed the free throw.

Long Beach's full court press would force a turnover just four seconds later, giving them a chance to tie the game as they trailed 60-57.

Following a timeout, the 49ers (12-7, 3-1) worked the ball around before finding a wide-open look for Madison Montgomery, their leading scorer for the season. Montgomery, who finished just 2-10 from the field, could hit only glass on the potential game-tying three-point attempt, which was pulled down by Porter for her 13th and final board of the night.

For the second straight game, Porter would go on to ice it at the line, hitting four straight free throws over the final 15 seconds to give UCSB a 65-60 win.

After going just 1-3 from the line through the first three quarters, the Gauchos were nearly perfect in the fourth, hitting 11-12 as a team. UCSB shot 80 percent from the line as a team, its second-highest percentage this season.

Rounding out the Gauchos' double-digit scorers were Coco Miller and Jemerigbe, who finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Jemerigbe added five assists while Miller tallied four to go along with three steals.

UCSB finished with a 37-28 advantage on the glass, marking the first time they've outrebounded a Big West opponent this season. Their 22-48 (.458) shooting night was the third-most efficient outing this year.

The Gauchos also went 9-24 (.375) on threes, and have now made at least seven three-pointers in 11 of their last 13 games. They currently lead the conference with nine threes a game during Big West play.

On the 49ers' side, Jewelyn Sawyer went 9-11 from the field to finish with a game-high 20 points and seven rebounds. However, the Gaucho defense, which continues to improve with each game, held the conference's leader in three-point makes to just 5-21 (.238) from deep. This comes just five days after Long Beach hit 14 threes against Cal Poly, the second-most in program history.

"Defensively, we haven't been who we're capable of being, but we're starting to get to that point," Henrickon said. "We're starting to pressure the ball more, and it always starts with [Toler] and[Jemerigbe]. Lately we've been hanigng in there, answering runs and making free throws down the stretch."

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