IRVINE — The only four-letter acronym in the Big West Conference is UC Santa Barbara. But for an emerging UC Irvine women's basketball program, it might as well be UC Stumbling Block.
The visiting Gauchos, who came in with a 216-27 conference record since the 1995-96 season, and had won 17 of their previous 18 contests against UCI, extended that dominance with a 69-58 victory Thursday night at the Bren Events Center.
The win knocked the Anteaters (11-5, 3-1 in conference) out of a first-place tie with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (4-0 in the Big West), which visits UCI on Saturday. It also was the first UCI loss in eight home games this season and it halted a five-game winning streak.
UCSB (9-7, 3-1) overcame a season-worst 29 turnovers by stifling the hosts with defense and by connecting on 51% of the field-goal attempts they did get, 56% in the second half.