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College Basketball

UCSB Women Step Up Defensive Pressure, Beat UC Irvine, 82-55

Behind double-doubles from Drea Toler and Drew Edelman, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team snapped second-place UC Irvine's seven game winning-streak with an 82-55 victory over the Anteaters on Saturday night at the Thunderdome.

Toler dished out a career-high 10 assists to go with 10 points, eight of which came via the charity stripe, en route to her first career double-double. The senior point guard also set career marks in free-throws made with eight, and free throw attempts with 14, as UC Irvine implemented a hack-a-Drea strategy down the stretch, but to no avail.

Edelman, meanwhile, finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds for her fourth double-double in the last five games.

With the win, the Gauchos (11-14, 8-5 Big West) move into a tie for third-place in the conference standings, and move one game closer to second-place UC Irvine (17-9, 9-3).

"I thought our defensive intensity was good," said head coach Bonnie Henrickson. "We forced some tough two's, rebounded in traffic, handled the press well and executed. And then when we struggled to score, we were still solid on the defensive end."

The two teams battled back and forth in the early goings until, when trailing 14-12, the Gauchos broke off on a 23-1 run that extended midway into the second quarter to take a 20-point, 35-15 lead. The run was kicked-off by three-straight three pointers, starting with Aliceah Hernandez before Makala Roper hit two in-a-row. After a Drew Edelman layup, Tal Sahar gave UCSB yet another three, this time as the time expired in the first quarter to erupt the crowd.

The run was also helped by the fact that UCI's leading scorer and the Big West's second leading scorer, Morgan Green, picked up her third foul early after a second key charge taken by Edelman.

The Anteaters tried to bounce back with an 8-2 run, but Sarah Porter sank three free-throws just before the end of the half to give UCSB a 40-23 lead heading into the break.

Sarah Bates started off the second half with seven straight points for UCSB and the Gauchos continued to hold a large lead, heading into the fourth quarter up 53-35.

Makala Roper continued to torch the net from downtown, hitting two early three's to extend the advantage to 61-37.

The Anteaters scored eight unanswered to get within 16, 61-45, but Toler and Bates continued their strong play with a pair of layups to help UCSB pull away.   

"When they started to make a little bit of a run, we stayed aggressive," said Henrickson. "In the past, we haven't done that, so I'm pleased to see us stay aggressive and have that mentality."

The Gauchos put five players in double-figures with Makala Roper's game-high 15 points, 12 points for Sarah Bates and 11 from Sarah Porter to go with Edelman's 12 and Toler's 10. Toler also finished with three steals.

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