Alexis Tucker Leads UCSB Women’s Basketball to Big West Conference Tournament Final
The Gauchos Are One Win Away From the NCAA Tournament
Alexis Tucker scored 28 points and the UCSB Women’s basketball team punched its ticket to the Big West Conference tournament final with a 75-56 victory over Cal State Bakersfield on Friday afternoon.
The Gauchos have played like the Dollar Loan Center in Henderson Nevada is a second home through two games beginning with a 70-36 rout of UC Davis in the quarterfinals on Wednesday and carried that momentum into the semifinals where they held off a determined Cal State Bakersfield team.
“I am so proud of our efforts today. We had a great start in the first half and answered on several occasions when Bakersfield went on runs, especially in the fourth quarter. Now, we’re excited to play in the championship game tomorrow.”
A strong start was key for the UCSB against Cal State Bakersfield. The Gauchos led 22-17 at the end of the first quarter and extended that lead to 36-25 at halftime.
However, the Roadrunners opened the second half on a 13-2 run and tied the score at 38-38 on a layup by Taylor Caldwell with 4:33 remaining in the third quarter.
The Gauchos were clinging to a 46-44 lead going into the fourth quarter, but Alexis Whitfield provided some breathing room with back-to-back buckets to open the final stanza, increasing the UCSB lead to 50-44.
“That’s the maturity, perseverance we talked about and resiliency it takes to have a chance to play in a game like tomorrow,” said UCSB head coach Bonnie Hendrickson of her team’s play down the stretch against Cal State Bakersfield.
A three-pointer by Callie Cooper with 6:10 remaining in the fourth quarter put the Gauchos ahead 59-46 and a late rally by the Roadrunners wasn’t enough.
Tucker scored 19 of her 28 points in the first half and came up one point shy of her career high of 29 points. Ila Lane added 12 points and 17 rebounds.
UCSB will take on Hawai’i in the Big West Tournament championship game on Saturday, March 11 beginning at 3 p.m.