UCSB rallies past Cal Poly for 11th Big West title in 13 years

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- With her team in trouble, Jenna Green took over.

Green had 13 points and 11 rebounds as UC Santa Barbara rallied for a 64-57 victory over Cal Poly for the Big West Conference tournament championship Saturday.

"When I get in position where I'm really comfortable and I know I can make something happen, I want to step up and be there for my team," said Green, who scored nine points in the final 10:41.

Emilie Johnson added 13 points and Christine Spencer scored 11 off the bench for the top-seeded Gauchos (22-9), who qualified for the NCAA tournament by winning their 11th Big West title in 13 years.

"Chris hasn't played very much in the last couple of games," UCSB coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "But she kick-started us with her hustle, and I can't say enough about Emilie Johnson. She's a freshman with ice water in her veins."

Megan Harrison had 15 points, eight rebounds and four steals for the third-seeded Mustangs (21-11), who were playing in their first tournament final ever. Lisa McBride added 10 points.

"Ann Meyers was just remarking on what an incredible team we had," Cal Poly coach Faith Mimnaugh said. "I was just so touched. For her to take the time to speak with our players and me personally, that's another win for us."

Santa Barbara's Lauren Pedersen was named the tournament's most valuable player.

Cal Poly, which led by 15 points in the first half, moved ahead 56-55 on Kristina Santiago's layin with 1:44 to play. But Spencer converted a rebound to give Santa Barbara a 57-56 advantage with 1:12 remaining.

Then Spencer blocked Harrison's attempted layin with 52 seconds left and Pedersen secured the rebound. Green scored on a layin with 28.9 seconds left, got fouled and made the ensuing free throw to give the Gauchos a 60-56 lead.

"There was never an instant in the game where I thought that we were not going to win that game," Harrison said. "Even when we ha 18 seconds left, I thought we were coming back. They just made some plays down the stretch."