UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo each won their Big West women's basketball tournament semifinal games Friday to advance to the championship today at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Kristina Santiago's layup with 1.7 seconds was the difference as No. 3-seeded Cal Poly SLO (21-10) defeated No. 2 UC Riverside, 58-57.
Santiago's basket capped a 7-0 run by the Mustangs in the final 2:58 to overcome a six-point deficit. The victory sends Cal Poly SLO into the final today at 1 p.m.
Santiago's layup was set up after Riverside's Chanel Foster missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw situation with eight seconds left as the Highlanders were clinging to a 57-56 lead. Becky Tratter grabbed the rebound, and the Mustangs pushed the ball to Santiago for the score.
After a 30-30 tie at halftime, Riverside (19-11) held the upper hand most of the second half. The final score was the only lead for Cal Poly (21-10) in the final 20 minutes.
UC Santa Barbara 60, Cal State Fullerton 52 -- Lauren Pedersen scored 23 points to lead the top-seeded Gauchos.
Pedersen scored all 12 of her first-half points in a 10-minute stretch that turned a two-point Gauchos' lead into a 24-15 advantage.
Santa Barbara (21-9) led by 21 points with less than nine minutes to play before the No. 6 Titans (10-20) pulled to within six with 1:15 left. The Titans had a chance to get even closer in the final minute, but Lauren Chow missed a three-pointer with 45 seconds to go that would have cut it to 56-53.
For the game, Santa Barbara had a 54% to 32% shooting edge and a 32-26 rebounding advantage. Toni Thomas led the Titans with 19 points and eight rebounds.