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Y. women welcome Gauchos

PROVO — After a pair of season-opening victories in California, the BYU women's basketball team opens its 2005-06 home schedule today by playing host to UC Santa Barbara.

Tipoff at the Marriott Center is set for 4 p.m.

The Cougars (2-0) are coming off road wins against CS Northridge and Pac-10 powerhouse UCLA, the latter a 71-67 victory behind 26 points and nine rebounds from senior forward Ambrosia Anderson and a double-double — a career-high 13 points and a game-high 14 boards — by sophomore center Lauren Riley.

UCSB, still seeking its first win of the season, is coming off a 2004-05 season in which the Gauchos went 21-9, won the Big West Conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Saturday's home-opener is one of the few times the Cougars will be playing in Provo before the Mountain West Conference slate begins in early January.

BYU plays five of its first six games of the season on the road and. But after Cougars play the next three games after Saturday out of state (Nov. 30 at Stony Brook, Dec. 3 at Seton Hall and Dec. 7 at UC Riverside), they play their final five nonconference games instate — four at home and a post-Christmas trip to Weber State.

Anderson is leading the Cougars in scoring and rebounding at the start of the season, averaging 25.5 points and nine rebounds a game. Junior center Dani Kubik is second in scoring with 15.0 points, plus six rebounds a game. And Riley is at 8.5 in both scoring and rebounding.

BYU is without the services of Mary Martha Abell this season. The sophomore forward is redshirting the year after tearing an ACL in a preseason exhibition game.