Women's Basketball Comeback Falls Short At UC Santa Barbara, 76-71

Dec. 5, 2004

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Oregon State University's women's basketball team dropped a 76-71 contest against UC Santa Barbara on Sunday afternoon in The Thunderdome.

The Beavers (2-4) struggled shooting from the floor in the opening half, but a 6-2 run over the final three minutes helped OSU pull within 33-28 at the break.

Kim Butler led the attack with 10 points, while freshman Tiffany Ducker had five rebounds. Several six-point bursts from UCSB (2-2) helped the Gauchos pull in front by as many as 10 before intermission.

Shannon Howell buried back-to-back jumpers to open the second half and the Beavers hit seven of their first eight field goals to eventually tie the contest (50-50) on Ebony Young's jumper with 11:46 on the clock. Kerstin Brosterhous contributed two key lay-ups in the stretch.

UCSB responded with a 9-2 run until Mandy Close buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Three straight Beaver turnovers ensued, and the Gauchos made the score 63-55 with 6:54 left.

Anita Rivera's jumper with 2:29 left narrowed the UCSB lead to 68-63, but the Gauchos once again answered with a run, building a 10-point lead.

OSU began fouling around the two-minute mark and crept back into the contest as UCSB struggled to convert from the free throw line.

Howell scored seven quick points - a trey and two jumpers - pulling the Beavers within three (74-71) with 25-seconds remaining, but the Gauchos held on.

'We overcame poor shooting in the first half,' said OSU head coach Judy Spoelstra. 'We had some great attempts that rolled around and popped out. Overall, we were scrappy and gave a great effort.'

The Beavers managed just 32-percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes, but hit 57-percent of their shots in the second half.

Howell finished with 20 points and four assists in the game. The All-America candidate has now scored 20-plus points in five of Oregon State's six games on the year. Butler added 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting, and Ducker finished with a career-best eight rebounds.

The balanced Gauchos had four players reach double figures in scoring with Kristen Mann's 20 points and six boards leading the way.

UCSB converted just 17-of-36 free throw attempts for the game, but hit 51-percent from the floor, while OSU shot 45-percent.

Oregon State takes a bit of a break for finals before returning to action on Sunday against University of Florida. The 12 p.m. PST game will be televised on Florida's Sunshine Network.