The stat computer at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion could no longer handle the data overload coming from its women’s basketball team on Wednesday, short-circuiting with 81 seconds left in the first half.
By that time, the No. 11 Bruins led UCSB by 27 points while on their way to spoiling the Gauchos’ season opener, 102-45, in a rare morning game on Wednesday.
UCLA out-shot UCSB 50.6% to 29.8%, making 10 of its 20 three-pointers. It also out-rebounded the Gauchos 55-20. The Bruins reclaimed more of their own misses (22) than UCSB got in total rebounds.
“They got what they’ve been getting,” UCSB coach Bonnie Henrickson said of the powerful Bruins. “We got something on film and now we’ll go play somebody else.”
All but one of the seven Bruins who played more than 10 minutes are 6-feet or taller. All of UCSB’s players except 6-foot-4 senior Natalia Bruening are under 6-feet.
“They bring a lot of size on the perimeter and they took advantage of that on the glass,” Henrickson said. “But we’re not going to make excuses. We still have to box out.”
Senior point guard Danae Miller led the Gauchos with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting which included a pair of three-pointers.
“She played very well, it was a good confidence boost for her,” Henrickson said. “She got downhill and was aggressive, pulled up and shot in rhythm.
“She’s the most experienced guard we have. She’s the most capable of handling the physicality of what they were bringing on the perimeter.”
Doris Jones, a transfer from Diablo Valley Community College, added 11 points. She made 3-of-6 shots from three but struggled to get an open shot inside against the towering Bruins, making only 1-of-9 from two-point range.
Bruening and Mira Shulman led UCSB in rebounds with just three apiece. Shulman had a solid game off the bench with four assists and two steals.
UCLA (3-1) balanced its scoring, with seven Bruins at nine points or better. Preseason All-American Michaela Onyenwere finished with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds, becoming the 19th Bruin to reach the milestone of 1,500 career points.
“If I were a WNBA coach, there would be no doubt that she would be a top-five draft pick, for sure,” UCLA coach Cori Close said. “She’s not even scratching the surface. She’s going to be such a great pro.”
There was no let up the entire way for the Bruins, who considered it a bounce-back game after having lost at No. 7 Arizona last week.
“Coach Cori always talks about how it’s not about the opponents, that it’s about us,” Onyenwere said. “Going into this game, we knew we had to execute a game plan, bounce back from the Arizona weekend, and just do what we needed to do to keep in our identity. And that is, executing a scouting report, being really disciplined, playing as a team and just moving on emotion.
“I think we really did a good job, and that this is a stepping stone.”
Close, who got her 200th win as the Bruins’ head coach with last week’s win at Arizona State, is a former UCSB player and assistant coach who was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2005.
The Gauchos, who had their first three games including the UCLA contest canceled when a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, were missing four players. They included All-America center Ila Lane, who has opted out of the season because of the coronavirus.
“I’m just really thankful that we were able to get this game in, and I’m really appreciative of Bonnie Henrickson and the UCSB administration, that they worked so hard to reschedule this game,” Close said. “Obviously for me, I’m really humbled and grateful for my time at UC Santa Barbara. It formed who I am now.”
Her Bruins wasted no time in humbling the Gauchos. They outscored UCSB 14-2 in the first five-plus minutes. The Gauchos responded with a jumper by Bri Anugwom and a three by Jones, but UCLA closed out the first quarter with a seven-point run that included back-to-back threes by Charisma Osborne and Onyenwere.
“I know we shared the ball really well,” Onyenwere said. “It’s really hard to guard us when we have so many options and are so versatile.”
Osborne led all scorers with 18 points while Chantel Hovat, a 6-1 guard, responded to her first start of the season with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds.
“I felt we needed to have a little more physical presence, and especially on the defensive end,” Close said.
The shorthanded Gauchos, who face Cal Baptist in their home opener on Friday at 5 p.m., hope to add three players in the coming weeks. Aliceah Hernandez is awaiting medical clearance while Megan Anderson and Taylor Mole are awaiting the NCAA Council’s Dec. 16 vote on the waiver of mandatory redshirt seasons for transfers.
“We’re disappointed, obviously, but it’s not like we’re not going to bounce back,” Henrickson said. “They understand, they were good in the locker room, and we’ll clean things up. Friday is another opportunity.”
“We got some good experience. So many of our players are new. In the long run, it’s good to have stuff on film. We’ll use it to get better.”