Playing its first game in nearly two weeks, the UCSB women’s basketball team faced a tough challenge on Friday night at home against four-time defending Big West Conference champion UC Davis.
Early on, things looked promising for the Gauchos after they built a double-digit lead. But the Aggies made late surges at the end of the first half and the end of the game to win 67-65.
It kept UCSB winless at home this season.
“We don’t lose the game in the end, we lose the game in the second quarter,” Gaucho coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “We have a 12-point lead and (we struggled) with their 2-2-1 press. We shouldn’t be turning the ball over against the press, but we’ve struggled with it.”
UCSB got off to a great start, going on a 12-2 run to take a 22-10 lead in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, however, things changed because of the Aggies’ pressure on defense and the Gauchos ineffectiveness at getting the open looks they had in the first quarter.
“We were undisciplined (in the second quarter), and then we go through a stretch of horrendous, not poor, horrendous offensive possessions and (UC Davis) is back in it,” Henrickson said.
UCSB also had a tough time with the Aggies’ size advantage inside, especially in the second and fourth quarters.
“This is not the only night we’ve seen that,” Henrickson said of her smaller team that has just one player over 6-feet tall. “We’re not going to get bigger and taller overnight. We’ve got to get tough on the ball and be more active.
“You say that, but it’s a one-possession game (at the end) and we need a stop and they get a layup, and then it turns into a two-possession game.”
UCSB has a shot at redemption when the two teams play again today at 4 p.m. at the Thunderdome. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
“We’ve got the quick turnaround and we’ll clean it up and be ready to play (today),” Henrickson said.
The Gauchos, despite their second-quarter offensive and defensive issues, found themselves leading by one at halftime.
In the third quarter, UCSB had a solid stretch and built a 45-38 lead. But as well as they did to build the lead back up to seven, the Gauchos failed to protect it, allowing UC Davis to get good looks inside and go on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 45-45.
“They’re good,” Henrickson said of the Aggies. “We took away a lot from them, but we didn’t take away the post-ups. (On offense) we didn’t move and we were too easy to guard.”
Senior point guard Danae Miller had a solid game for UCSB with 15 points and only two turnovers. She also drew six fouls by Aggie players.
Bri Anugwom was also good for the Gauchos in the second half. She finished with 12 points.
“She struggled in the first half but came back in the second,” Henrickson said of Anugwom. “I thought, defensively, she had a presence. On the glass, she had a presence. Offensively, she made good decisions in getting to the rim.
“All of her layups were uncontested, and in the first half they weren’t. In the second half she got loose and made good decisions. She got to the rim and finished.”
UC Davis was led by senior forward Cierra Hall, who finished with a game-high 22 points. The Aggies also got double-digit scoring efforts from junior center Sage Stobbart, who had 16, Evanne Turner, who had 13, and Mackenzie Trpcic, who finished with 12.
UC Davis shot 46% (26 of 57) compared to 44% (24 of 54) by UCSB. The Aggies also had the advantage in rebounding, finishing with a 35-27 margin. The loss dropped the Gauchos to 2-8 and 2-4 in the Big West Conference. UC Davis, with its seventh straight win over UCSB at the Thunderdome, improved to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big West Conference.