The last time the UCSB women’s basketball team beat USC, freshman center Ila Lane was a little girl learning how to dribble and shoot.
On Monday night at the Thunderdome, Lane dribbled and shot her way to 21 points while pulling down 13 rebounds to help lead the Gauchos to a 57-46 win over the Trojans.
It was UCSB’s first victory over USC since 2007, and it broke a five-game losing streak to the Women of Troy.
“Our poise and composure was really good,” Gaucho coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “We didn’t get too high, we didn’t get too low. Even when we won, it was kind of like a business-like feeling.”
UCSB (2-2) was coming off a 73-70 loss to San Jose State on Friday. It was a game in which the Gauchos committed 27 turnovers.
They were much better at protecting the ball against USC (3-1) with only 11 turnovers, while forcing the Trojans into 19 turnovers.
“I thought our defense was very pesky,” Henrickson said. “They’re really good at the rim, and I told our guys that we can’t let them get to the rim. We had to be able to build a wall and live with some catches at the 3-point line.”
Five of Lane’s 13 rebounds were offensive rebounds, which helped the Gauchos score 10 second-chance points. She also finished with two blocked shots.
“She was really good,” Henrickson added. “She’s getting more confident and confident, and once she consistently is aware of where her position is on the floor, that’s what’s going to give her higher-percentage shots.
“We had good minutes by everybody, and that’s what it’s going to take for us.”
UCSB’s outstanding defensive presence not only limited USC to seven points in the fourth quarter, but the Gauchos also outscored the Trojans, 22-5, in points off of turnovers.
“I’m really proud of the kids,” Henrickson said.
UCSB’s fifth-year coach was extremely pleased with the response she got from her team following the frustrating turnover-plagued loss to San Jose State just three nights earlier.
“Te be able to bounce back and be resilient and believe, that was really good,” Henrickson said. “Hey listen, that happened on Friday, and all we can do is learn from it, learn from our mistakes.
“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson. Build on it and be really intentional on how we need to play.”
Despite shooting only 32 percent (18 of 56) from the floor and 27 percent (4-for-15) from 3-point range, the Gauchos got it done with defense, forcing USC into mistake after mistake.
UCSB was also very good at the free-throw line, finishing 17-for-21 (81 percent).
“I thought we didn’t give up a lot of uncontested shots,” Henrickson said of her defense. … “We are certainly proud of how we finished in the fourth quarter (limiting them to seven points).”
Junior point guard Danae Miller was also a key to the Gauchos’ victory with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. Miller was coming off a career-high 31 points against San Jose State.
“She attacked downhill, attacked downhill,” Henrickson said. “They were trying to jump at her and she just drove it downhill. … Her aggressive, attacking mindset is incredibly important for us.”