Santa Barbara Gets Defensive

With its offense struggling, No. 17 UC Santa Barbara relied on its defense to keep winning.

Erin Buescher scored 18 points and the Gauchos extended their school-record winning streak to 20 by defeating Idaho, 78-59, Friday in the semifinals of the Big West Conference tournament at Reno.

The Gauchos (25-3), bidding for their third consecutive tournament championship, advanced to today’s final at noon against Long Beach State, which beat North Texas, 88-68.

Idaho (16-12) lost in the tournament semifinals for the third consecutive year.

In the first game, Kesha Wade scored 22 points for Long Beach (18-10). Nicole Thomas had 25 points for North Texas (20-8).



No. 3 Louisiana Tech (25-2) set a Sun Belt tournament record for points in a half with 58 in the second half and defeated Arkansas State, 114-67, in the tournament semifinals at Jonesboro, Ark. . . . Fourth-ranked Colorado State (31-1) went on an 18-0 run midway through the first half and went on to beat Rice, 70-52, in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament at Las Vegas. The Rams’ 19th consecutive victory puts them in today’s final against Southern Methodist, which beat New Mexico, 53-45. . . . No. 5 Old Dominion (25-3) defeated Virginia Commonwealth, 58-45, in the Colonial Athletic Assn. semifinals at Richmond, Va. . . . Dalma Ivanyi had 29 points and nine assists to lead No. 23 Florida International (23-5) to a 76-65 victory over Western Kentucky in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference tournament.