Skylar Burke set a new career high and was one of four Gauchos to score double digits as UCSB women’s basketball (19-9, 12-6 Big West) celebrated Senior Day with a dominant, 64-50 win over UC San Diego (12-16, 9-9 Big West). Anya Choice finished with 15 points to lead all scorers, and Burke added 13 to set her new career high-water mark. Alexis Tucker added 12 points and 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season, and Ila Lane scored 10 points while also climbing to fifth on UCSB’s career rebounds list. The Gauchos never trailed en route to their 14-point win.
UCSB took the lead on the game’s very first possession, with Choice getting a good look from three-point range and burying it. Tucker took the lead from there, scoring the Gauchos’ next eight points by herself. But the Tritons were able to answer every basket until the very end of the quarter, when Burke got herself an open shot beyond the three-point arc and hit it to beat the buzzer and put the home team up, 18-15.
While UCSB’s offense was running smoothly the whole game, it was their defense that made the difference in the second and third quarters. The Gauchos held UC San Diego to nine points on 3-13 shooting in the second quarter and didn’t allow a Triton field goal for the first eight minutes of the third. In total, UCSB outscored UC San Diego 30-20 over the second and third quarters, making much of the difference in the final score line.
Despite it being Senior Day, a good deal of spotlight found Choice and Burke late in the game, with the junior and freshman combining to score 12 of their team’s final 16 points. Early in the fourth, Burke put home a layup off a great pass from Lane to reach double digits for the first time in her collegiate career, drawing a foul in the process. She converted the and-one, then added two more points before the final buzzer to make her new career high 13. Choice, who had been dicing up the Triton defense all night, got her 15th point by banking a jumper off the glass, despite having a pair of defenders in her face.
Fittingly, it was one of UCSB’s seniors, Lane, who scored their final point of the night, bringing her into the double-digit club on the evening. The center from Moraga also finished the evening one spot higher on the school’s career rebounds list, taking sole possession of fifth place with 865 rebounds as a Gaucho.
BY THE NUMBERS
– Skylar Burke’s work rate isn’t exactly quantifiable, but she earned every single one of her 13 points, seven rebounds, and four assists against UC San Diego.
– Choice looked just impressive in person as on the stat sheet Saturday; the junior finished 5-10 from the field and 2-6 from three on her 15-point night, adding three rebounds and a pair of assists.
– Saturday was the fourth straight game the Gauchos have held their opponent under 10 points in a quarter; they held Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, and UC San Diego to nine points each in the second quarter of those games.
UCSB will play their final home game of the season on Thursday, March 2 against UC Davis. The Gauchos’ “Last Hurrah” for 2023 is set to tip off at 7 p.m. at the Thunderdome, and will also be live on ESPN+
Eric Boose is assistant director of athletic communications at UCSB.