HONOLULU, Hawaii – In a physical match up, UCSB battled close in the first half, but was out-muscled by Hawai'i in the second as the Rainbow Wahine took the 60-43 decision at the Stan Sheriff Center on Thursday night.
The Gauchos' record slides to 0-21 as they are now 0-8 after the first round of Big West action, while Hawai'i improves to 14-7 overall and 6-2 in conference play.
With the big matchup presented by Hawaii, UCSB relied on its post players in the game, as Taylor Farris stepped up to the opportunity and grabbed a career-high eight rebounds. Following her in the rebounding category was Clair Watkins with five.
Onome Jemerigbe scored a team-leading 13 points and has now scored in double figures in back-to-back games. Behind her were Kendra Morrison, Jasmine Ware, and Watkins who all scored six points each. As a team, the Gauchos finished shooting 38 percent from the floor.
The first half started off as a see-saw battle, as the teams swapped the lead four times and were tied on five occasions.
Hawai'i scored the game's opening basket, but the Gauchos were quick to get on the board with Watkins earning a trip to the foul line and sinking both shots. While the Rainbow Wahine held the lead through the opening eight minutes, UCSB was never more than two points behind.
Then at the 11:37 mark, Jemerigbe nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Gauchos their first lead of the game at 13-10. UCSB held the three-point lead until the team was on top 17-14 with 8:14 left in the half.
Hawai'i took the lead back with hard moves in the lane, as Destiny King drained a pair of foul shots, while Connie Morris completed a three-point play after drawing contact in the low blocks. King finished the game with 15 points and went 9-10 at the foul line.
With the Rainbow Wahine leading 21-17, the Gauchos went on a 6-2 run to tie the game at 23. Ware got the offense going in hitting back-to-back baseline jumpers, while Morrison officially knotted the score with a layup after Farris made a bullet pass from the top of the key to find her near the low blocks.
After that score, Hawai'i went on a run of its own by scoring seven unanswered points to secure a 30-23 lead going into halftime.
In the second half, the Hawai'i outrebounded UCSB 19-10 and also went 11-16 from the foul line. Aside from those factors, the Rainbow Wahine also scored heavily off UCSB turnovers with 22 points.
UCSB will continue the season on the road next Thursday to play Long Beach State at the Walter Pyramid with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be featured on Big West TV, as well as over the airwaves on AM 1290 and online at UCSBgauchos.com.