Despite a back-and-forth competitive first half, the UCSB women’s basketball team experienced a case of the third-quarter blues in a 69-56 loss to UC Irvine on Monday night at the Thunderdome.
The result followed the Gauchos’ 64-60 defeat to the Anteaters on Sunday night, and left UCSB at 0-6 heading into 2021.
Trailing by just five at halftime, the Gauchos fell apart in the third quarter, scoring only 10 points while giving up 21 in the period.
“It was in the third quarter (on Sunday) and certainly the third quarter today,” Gaucho coach Bonnie Henrickson said of her team’s struggles against Irvine. “Not getting the ball stopped, not defending in transition. (They had) run-outs and layups, layups.”
The Anteaters took a double-digit lead in the third quarter. UCSB got it down to nine in the fourth, but that was as close as the Gauchos got.
Irvine got off on the right foot to open the second half by scoring on its first three possessions.
“(They got us) on the defensive end, and then they just ran out,” Henrickson added. “Obviously they had a lot of opportunities in transition.
“We’re not matching up in transition, and until we get that fixed, the result is not going to change. The result isn’t going to change until the process changes. Until we can get the ball stopped and matchup, there were too many possessions where we don’t know who we’re guarding and we continue to run down (the court) and not see the ball.”
Henrickson had a tough time hiding her frustration over the team’s second straight loss to open Big West Conference play.
“I’m going to use appropriate words here, it irritates the coaches, but until it irritates them enough to make a change, this is going to be a problem for us,” Henrickson said. “It’s a sense of urgency we have to have to be able to stop people in transition, because most people shoot (probably) 60% (against us) in transition.”
UCSB got a solid performance from freshman guard Alyssa Marin, who finished with a team-high and season-high 19 points.
Marin was 4-for-8 from the field, with all of her attempts coming from behind the 3-point arc. She was also 7 of 10 from the free-throw line. Junior forward Taylor Mole — who played just her second game as a Gaucho following her debut on Sunday — was also good for the second straight game. She finished with 12 points, which included a pair of 3-pointers. Mole had 15 points against Irvine on Sunday.
“I thought they did a good job,” Henrickson said of some of her younger players. “I thought they were more aggressive, got to the rim, got to the free-throw line. I thought they competed, played more aggressively.
“Like I said, I don’t care what the score is, we have to figure out how to play the right way.”
Freshman guard Chloe Webb led the Anteaters with 17 points. Senior center Tahlia Garza was next with 16 and freshman forward Caiyle Kaupu poured in 10 points for UC Irvine.
The Gauchos, who average 21 turnovers per game, committed 20 on Monday night. The Anteaters converted those miscues into 22 points.
Irvine finished 29 of 67 (43%) from the field, 2-for-15 from 3-point range and 9 of 13 from the free-throw line. UCSB shot 36% (16 of 44) from the field; 11 of 29 (38%) from beyond the arc and 13-for-16 (81%) from the free-throw line.
“They’ll be a lot of things for us to see and evaluate on film,” Henrickson said. “We’ve got to learn how to clean up mistakes and eliminate the same things we’re talking about.”