The UCSB women’s basketball team held the lead for most of the second half in Saturday’s game at Long Beach State, but the Beach stormed back with a big run to open the fourth quarter, taking a 65-62 victory that went down to the last shot.
Point guard Danae Miller led the way with 18 points and six assists. After hitting three of her first five three-point attempts, the senior’s potential game-tying trey missed in the final seconds.
Center Ila Lane put up 15 points (5/8 FG) and seven rebounds, while fellow junior Alexis Tucker rounded out UCSB’s double-digit scorers with 11 points and six boards.
The Gauchos (13-9, 7-6) are now 2-5 in conference road games, compared to 5-1 at home. LBSU (17-5, 10-4) meanwhile ends a run of three straight losses at Walter Pyramid.
Santa Barbara came out strong with one of its best first quarters in 2022. Miller made all three of her three-point attempts, including one on the Gauchos’ last possession to put them up 24-17 after one.
UCSB was bitten by the turnover bug in the second quarter, committing eight of its 20 total giveaways. The Beach held the Gauchos to 25 percent (2/8 FG) from the field to take a 32-31 edge into halftime.
After the break, UCSB held LBSU to just seven points on 3-of-15 from the field in the third. The Gauchos got to the line, making all eight third quarter free throws, and Lane, Miller and Tucker scored every UCSB point in a period they won 17-7.
Santa Barbara held a nine-point lead, 50-41, with less than nine minutes to go. The Beach scored four straight on second chance opportunities, followed by another four points off turnovers to cut it to a one-point game with 5:53 to go.
Both sides traded the lead a couple times before Long Beach guard Ma’Qhi Berry’s three-pointer with 1:45 remaining gave LBSU a 61-57 advantage. Guard Johnni Gonzalez answered with a big three of her own, cutting the lead to 61-60 with 34 seconds left.
The Beach went 4-of-4 at the line in the final minute, helping to maintain a three-point lead after Danae Miller’s pull up jumper with 18 seconds left. Maddi Utti’s final two free throws with 15 seconds on the clock forced the Gauchos to go for a game-tying three, but they couldn’t convert.
Miller made three triples for the second straight game. It was the sixth time she has made at least three this year, tying a career-high. She is now three away from tying Melissa Zornig (148, 2010-14) for No. 7 all-time at UCSB,
With two weeks left in the regular season, the Gauchos will be home next Thursday and Saturday for their final home games of the 2021-22 season. They will host UC Riverside on Thursday at 7 p.m. and UC Davis on Senior Day Saturday at 2 p.m.
Michael Jorgenson writes about sports for UCSB.