Mar 14, 2013 1:38 AM by Andrew Masuda
Sweets Underwood scored 16 and Nicole Nesbit added 12 points to lead the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team to a 45-31 victory over Cal State Northridge in the quarterfinals of the Big West Tournament on Wednesday night in Irvine.
The Gauchos beat the Matadors for the 14th consecutive meeting to advance into Friday's semifinals against rival Cal Poly. The 2nd seeded Mustangs earned an automatic berth into the semifinals. They swept the season series with UCSB.
The Gauchos led from start to finish as Destini Mason hit a jumper for UCSB 1:10 into the game. UCSB led 12-5 with 11:21 to go in the first half on a jumper by Nesbit. Underwood hit two free throws with 34 seconds remaining in the first half to give UCSB a 22-13 lead at halftime. UCSB held Northridge to 6 for 19 shooting in the first half, a 32 percent clip. The Gauchos made 43.5 percent of their 23 shots. The forced 12 turnovers and committed 9 themselves in the first 20 minutes.
The Gauchos held the Matadors to just 19 shooting in the second half to cement the victory. CSUN shot just 24 percent for the game, while UCSB finished at a 45% mark.
Underwood led the Gauchos with 9 rebounds. UCSB committed 20 turnovers in the game compared to just 13 by CSUN.
UCSB is looking to repeat last year's magic when the Gauchos became the first 6th seed to win the Conference Tournament and the Big West's automatic bert to the NCAA Tournament. It marked the 14th time the Gauchos captured the conference tournament crown.
The Mustangs and Gauchos play around 2:30 pm on Friday in the semifinals at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
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