Gauchos Fall in 47-33 Decision to Santa Clara

Onome Jemerigbe (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Onome Jemerigbe (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UCSB's offensive struggles led to its 47-33 loss to Santa Clara in the Thunderdome on Thursday night.

The Gauchos now slide to 0-3 to start the season, while the Broncos improve to 2-1.

"I'm not going to fault our effort. The effort is there," Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. "That's the frustrating part. The players are playing hard, they're diving on the floor, and we took five charges tonight, so the effort is there. Now we have to put two halves together, have a strong basketball IQ on the floor, and learn how to finish games."

After UCSB took a 21-16 lead into the halftime break, but the Broncos stampeded out of the gates in opening the second half on a 10-0 run through the first six minutes.

The Gauchos did not find their first basket of the half until Makala Roper knocked down a three-pointer at the 13:00 mark to put UCSB within two points at 26-24. That was one of the two triples that Roper made in the game, as she led the Gauchos with nine points.

Kristine Brance  -- who finished with seven points -- later put Santa Barbara back on top at 27-26 with a free throw, but it would be the last lead that the Gauchos held. The Broncos went on to close out the game on a 21-6 run.

Beth Carlson was a force during that stretch and scored on three straight possessions for six points, accounting for half of her game-high 12. The Broncos did most of their scoring in the transition game, as they finished with 11 assists as all of Carlson's baskets were made from quick entry passes.   

Earlier in the first half, the Gauchos took off on an 11-3 run in grabbing its largest lead of the game. UCSB got rolling early thanks to their work at the free throw line, as seven of the run's points were made at the charity stripe.

The front court duo of Clair Watkins and Mi'Chael each added a layup as well, putting the Gauchos ahead at 20-12. Watkins finished the game with three points and a team-high six rebounds, while Wright added a season-best six points with three boards. 

The Broncos later made four shots at the line within the final 68 seconds of the half to put themselves within five. They carried that momentum over to their hot start in the second. 

When asked if the team was looking forward to their upcoming road trip, Onome Jemerigbe said, "Yes, we will try to forget everything else that has happened and move on to the next game."

"Short term memory," Mitchell added. "You have to have it or you'll lose your mind." 

UCSB will be taking a road swing through the Grand Canyon State with visits to Northern Arizona on Sunday at 2 p.m. and to the University of Arizona next Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Both games will be carried locally on KZSB AM 1290 and around the world on Check back to the women's basketball schedule page for links to the games' video streams.