On paper, the credentials were all there. UCSB compiled a 23-7 record, won the Big West Conference tournament for the 10th time in 12 years, and had lost just once in the last 20 games. Senior guard Jessica Wilson was the Big West’s player of the year.
Naturally, expectations were high as the Gauchos traveled to Norfolk, Va., for the first-round game in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Too bad their opponent, Virginia, was, well, somewhat cavalier about who it was playing.
In fact, fourth-seeded Virginia (24-9) was downright dominating in its 86-52 victory Sunday night. The Cavaliers used their size advantage to frustrate the No. 13 Gauchos (23-8), going on a 16-0 run early in the second half and twice holding them scoreless for stretches of five minutes.
Foul trouble didn’t help matters. Although Wilson scored 13 points, she spent much of the game on the bench, fouling out with 5:28 to play.
Lynda Littles scored 17 points for Virginia, Aisha Mohammed added 15 and Sharnee Zoll had 13. The Cavaliers outscored the Gauchos from the line, 31-12, and outmuscled them on rebounds, 47-31.