For 20 minutes of Friday night’s UCSB women’s basketball home opener against California Baptist, things looked promising for the Gauchos.
Then came the second half.
Behind 26 points from center Caitlyn Harper and 17 from point guard Ane Olaeta, the Lancers stormed past UCSB for a 85-75 non-conference victory at the Thunderdome.
Cal Baptist improved to 6-0 while UC Santa Barbara dropped to 0-2 following Wednesday’s 102-45 loss at No. 11 UCLA.
“We didn’t make enough shots and we’ve got to guard,” UCSB coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “It was a game of runs and they made the last run and we didn’t answer it. But there were a lot of good things, a lot of really good things.
“Defensively, we’ve got to be better. We’ve got to lock people up and play better position defense.”
One positive for the Gauchos was the play of redshirt senior guard Doris Jones.
The Oakland native poured in a team-high 23 points — which included 17 in the first half. Jones’ performance in the first half, especially in the second quarter, helped the Gauchos overcome a 12-point deficit to lead 36-35 at the break.
“She’s a playmaker,” Henrickson said. “She’s a capable 3-point shooter, obviously, and a good midrange (game) and can get to the rim. It’s good to see her get more in rhythm and play more comfortably and with more confidence.”
Senior point guard Danae Miller also had a strong game with 20 points, which included going 5-for-15 from 3-point range. UCSB finished with 10 3s in the game.
“You make 10 3-pointers, you’ve got to win the game,” Henrickson said. “We need to practice more, we need to practice more. It’ll be good to get four (days) next week, which will be good.”
Cal Baptist scored 50 second-half points and finished shooting 50% (31-62), which included 10 of 29 from beyond the arc. UCSB finished at 38% (28 of 73), which included a 10-for-28 performance from 3-point range.
Henrickson pointed out how tough Harper was to guard on the outside for Gaucho center Natalia Bruening and on the inside for guard Lauren Lee when Bruening was on the bench with foul trouble.
“Nat couldn’t guard her at the 3-point line and Lauren couldn’t guard her in front of the rim,” Henrickson said. “It’s not that Lauren couldn’t guard her, but that’s a mismatch for her. We’ve got to pressure the ball. We’re playing the ball handler with our hands down.
“A huge part of post defense is ball pressure… It’s coming one pass and in, and that’s not fair to either Lauren or Nat, but especially Lauren, because it’s a mismatch for her (against the bigger Harper).”
UCSB returns to action Friday at home against Santa Clara. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.