SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Despite Makala Roper scoring a career-high 15 points, UCSB fell to Long Beach State 81-44 in the Thunderdome on Saturday.
The Gauchos are now 0-3 against Big West teams and slide to 0-16 overall. The 49ers, meanwhile, stay atop of the conference standings at 4-0 with a 17-1 season record.
Roper poured in a team-high 15 points in going 3-5 from three-point range – the most she has made in a single game since her collegiate debut at Nevada (11/14/14). Following her in the scoring category was Onome Jemerigbe with 10 points. The point guard also led the team with five assists, as she is now averaging five dimes per game in conference play.
Long Beach State stormed out to an early 15-6 in opening the game with three makes from downtown in the opening six minutes.
Having not held a lead at all in the game, UCSB would go on its biggest offensive run of the afternoon and pull out ahead for the first time at 19-18.
Kendra Morrison got the Gauchos going with back-to-back jumpers and sparked the 13-3 run. Roper added a triple to the cause, while Jasmine Ware banked in a short jumper. Jemerigbe dealt Ware the dish on the scoring play and went on to score four straight points herself.
The Gauchos picked up the lead after Watkins made a steal at mid court. She rifled a pass down the right side to Jemerigbe who finished on the speedy drive to a lay up with 7:56 left in the first.
The 49ers immediately called a timeout following the play and broke out on a 17-2 run -- including 10 unanswered -- to reclaim the lead. From there, Long Beach State never gave up its lead.
Disruptive on the defensive side of the court, the 49ers forced 25 UCSB turnovers in which they capitalized on with 34 points. The Gauchos also got caught up in foul trouble early in the second half, as Long Beach State went a 27-35 at the charity stripe.
UCSB will be on the road next week with stops at UC Riverside (1/22) and Cal State Fullerton (1/24). Both games will be featured on BigWest TV and will be carried online at UCSBgauchos.com.