March 13, 2009
Anaheim, Calif. - Lauren Pedersen scored 23 points and Jenna Green added 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds Friday afternoon to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 60-52 victory over Cal State Fullerton in the semifinals of the Big West Conference Women's Basketball Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The No. 1-seeded Gauchos improved to 21-9 and advanced to the finals against No. 3-seeded Cal Poly SLO, which upset No. 2-seeded UC Riverside, 58-57, on a last-second basket later in the day.
UCSB led by as many as 21 points at 49-28 with 9 minutes to play before Fullerton rallied. Twice the Titans got within 6 points. Richardson hit two free throws with 1:15 to play to make it 56-50 and the Titans got the ball back on a turnover. Lauren Chow missed a 3-pointer from the corner and UCSB rebounded and hit 4-of-4 free throws in the final 28 seconds.
"Coming into this game, we thought we had a chance to win it, " said CSF Coach Maryalyce Jeremiah after her final game as Titans' coach. "We got too far behind. We were hoping to pull out a miracle at the end. But we needed a little more help from our bench.
"We played like it wasn't over until the very end. I'm disappointed we didn't get to the next level, but maybe we gained some respect this week for what we lost during the regular season.
"And I want to thank Dr. (Milton) Gordon and Dr. (Robert) Palmer for their friendship and support and hanging with me for 24 years. I'm going to do something with basketball... I want to give back to this game which has been so good to me."
Jeremiah's Fullerton record was 177-205 in 13 seasons. She was an administrator for 11 years. Her 29-year career coaching record was 440-350 including stops at Cedarville, Dayton and Indiana.
The Gauchos led for all but the first four minutes. They used an 8-0 run to open a 20-11 lead. They shot 58 percent from the floor in the first half while the Titans made only 30 percent and only 1 of 10 treys. Fullerton's starters scored all 52 points.