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College Basketball

Sarah Porter’s Big Game Fuels UCSB Win Over UC Riverside

Powered by a career performance from redshirt sophomore guard Sarah Porter, UCSB (7-9, 2-1) defeated UC Riverside (8-8, 2-1) in its Big West home opener 58-54 on Saturday.

Porter tied Riverside's Simone DeCoud for game-high honors with 22 points on 6-of-18 shooting from the field, 4-11 from three-point range and 6-6 from the free-throw line.

The 22 points, nine of which came in a tight fourth quarter, were seven more than Porter had ever scored. She also set new personal-bests in steals (4), three-pointers (4) and free throws (6).

"I felt good," Porter said. "My free throw percentage wasn't that good coming into the game, so I was making sure I was focused in practice."

Trailing 49-46 with under six minutes to go in the game, redshirt junior Drew Edelman put away a layup to bring UCSB within one. Edelman finished an efficient 7-9 from the field for 15 points and eight rebounds and tied her career-high with two steals.

Several possessions later, Porter hit her fourth three, a shot which would prove to be the biggest of the game, giving the Gauchos a 51-49 lead with 4:16 remaining.

Trailing 53-51 with 1:34 to go, UCR's Rejane Verin brought her team within one on a free throw. Riverside had a chance to take the lead on each of its next two possessions, but a turnover by Lauren Holt was followed by a missed wide-open three-point attempt by Clemence Lefebvre, forcing the visitors to start fouling.

The Gauchos were able to get the ball to Porter, who was a perfect 6-6 from the line over the final four minutes. With 17 seconds left, she made two free throws to put UCSB up 55-52.

It took just six seconds for DeCoud to answer back with a tough, off-balanced jumper, bringing the Highlanders back within one at 55-54 before Porter knocked down another two free throws.

Still a one-possession game in the final seconds, Onome Jemerigbe was able to pick up a huge steal off of DeCoud before getting fouled and putting the game away at the line. The Gauchos shot just 2-11 from the field in the fourth quarter, but were 7-8 on free throws.

UCSB finished with 20 assists on 21 field goals, just one assist shy of its season-high as a team. Jemerigbe, Drea Toler and Coco Miller, finished with five assists.

Chaya Durr pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds, reaching double-figures for the second time this season, to go along with a season-high two steals.

UCSB will conclude its current three-game homestand when it faces Long Beach State next Thursday and Hawaii on Saturday.

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