UCSB women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson won her 400th career game as a college head coach when the Gauchos took care of Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 25 in Fullerton.
Henrickson was honored for the achievement by the UCSB athletic department following her 401st — a 67-57 victory over UC Irvine on Wednesday night at the Thunderdome.
Following the game, a video played that celebrated Henrickson’s career at Virginia Tech, Kansas and UCSB, where she is into her fifth season.
The whole thing was very touching to the veteran coach, who was presented with two basketballs and a bouquet of flowers before the video presentation.
“That was really, really sweet,” Henrickson said. “It was very kind (of the people who made the video) and the people who stuck around (to watch it). I have a number of Sweet 16 basketballs in my office, and now I’ve got UCSB basketballs to add to the collection.
Freshman center Ila Lane erupted for a career-high 25 points and tied her career high in rebounds with 20.
Lane said it was nice for her and her teammates to be a part of Henrickson’s coaching success.
“It was a very big thrill for all of us,” Lane said. “We love having coach Bonnie around, she’s just the biggest supporter of us. We know she loves us very much and we love her.”
Lane loved her time around the basket at both ends of the floor on Wednesday.
Whether it was a double-team or a triple-team that the Anteaters threw at her, Lane was able to do pretty much what she wanted.
UCSB’s guards were very good at getting her the ball.
“I, personally, just needed to work on calling for the ball, and making sure that they heard me,” Lane said of her teammates. “Once I did that, it was just all about getting good looks at the basket.
“Our talking on the court really brings us an awareness of where we are on the court, and who we can look to get the ball to. We did that well tonight.”
Outside of a minor scoring drought early in the third quarter, it was one of the best games, start to finish, by the Gauchos (9-12, 4-4 Big West) this season.
The defense was solid and the offense consisted of a number of players getting good scoring chances. Junior point guard Danae Miller had a very productive night with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Junior forward Mira Shulman finished with nine points, four rebounds and two assists.
As good as Lane and Miller were, Henrickson was especially pleased with what she got out of Shulman, who was a walkon and started just her third game of the season.
“She was just solid, just solid,” UCSB’s fifth-year coach said. “She doesn’t take bad shots, she doesn’t turn the ball over and she plays good defense. It’s not like she’s going to get into you and turn you over and lock you down (defensively) and all that, but she keeps people in front, she rotates, she does a good job.
“There are minutes to be had for kids like that. I don’t care that she’s a walkon, the kid can play. If you can play, you will play, and she will play.”
UCSB finished 28-for-63 (44.4%) from the field, 4 of 19 (21.1%) from 3-point range and 7 of 8 (87.5%) from the free-throw line.
One of the aspects of the Gauchos’ defense that really stood out was their tenaciousness on the perimeter. UC Irvine finished 0-for-15 from 3-point range.
Henrickson was pleased with her team’s overall effort.
“I thought we shared the ball and we were intentional about throwing it inside to Ila,” she said. “Then we got opportunities in transition. We were able to grow the lead and grow the lead.”
After leading by 12 twice in the first half, the Gauchos saw their lead dwindle to 41-38 midway through the third quarter.
But UCSB went on a 10-3 run to regain a double-digit lead at 51-41. The Gauchos maintained their double-digit advantage for most of the fourth quarter.
“They got back into it a little bit when we got out of sorts,” Henrickson said of the bump in the road in the early stages of the third quarter. “We didn’t take good shots and we rushed shots during that stretch, but then we calmed down again and got back in rhythm.”
UCSB continues its Big West Conference homestand with a game against Hawaii on Saturday at the Thunderdome at 2 p.m.