A late rally by the UCSB women’s basketball team fell short as the Gauchos suffered a 56-48 loss to Cal State Bakersfield in their home opener, on Friday night at the Thunderdome.
Cold shooting plagued UCSB from the very beginning and visiting Cal State Bakersfield capitalized on the slow start to build a 21-point lead in the first half that proved too much for the Gauchos to overcome.
“The alarm went off at about 8:20. I’m not sure what was going on from 7 o’clock to 8:20, but the alarm went off at 8:20,” said UCSB coach Bonnie Henrickson. “We’ve got to get off to a better start.”
The Gauchos shot 1-for-10 from the field in the first quarter and 1-for-12 from the field in the second quarter as Cal State Bakersfield took a 32-14 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Despite the horrific shooting, the Gauchos managed to draw contact fairly often, converting 9-of-15 free throws in the first half, which accounted for the bulk of their offensive production.
“There’s too many (shots) that are ill advised,” said Henrickson in reference to UCSB’s lack of balance and proper mechanics on missed shots. “They’re just not ready to shoot it. Then don’t shoot it.”
In the third quarter, UCSB was able to cut into its deficit as Bri Anugwom scored four quick points on a driving layup and two free throws to bring the Gauchos within 34-18 with 9:10 remaining in the third quarter.
Freshman Megan Ormiston converted a layup inside to cap off a 6-2 UCSB run and shrink the deficit to 36-24 with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter.
However, the Roadrunners regained control and increased their lead to 50-34 on a free throw by Dalis Jones with 7:07 remaining in the third quarter. Dalis Jones is the younger sister of UCSB starting point guard Paris Jones, who is a graduate transfer.
Just when it seemed that UCSB was destined for a lopsided defeat, the Gauchos made their run.
A three-pointer by Kiana Viera brought UCSB within 50-40 at the 4:56 mark of the fourth quarter and back-to-back buckets inside by Natalia Bruening, the second of which resulted in a three-point play cutting the Gauchos deficit to 50-45 with 3:05 remaining.
Anugwom scored inside and Bruening made 1-of-2 free throws to cut the Cal State Bakersfield lead to 50-48 and cap off a 14-0 run with 1:36 to play. But that’s as close as UCSB would come to victory.
Anugwom came up with a steal on the ensuing Cal State Bakersfield possession, but missed a contested layup at the other end and UCSB would not score for the final 1:30 of the game as Cal State Bakersfield secured the victory at the free throw line.
Bruening finished with eleven points and 16 rebounds. Coco Miller also finished with 11 points after converting 6-of-7 free throw attempts. The Roadrunners were led by Alexxus Gibert, who poured in 13 points while knocking down 3-of-6 from three-point range.
UCSB will travel to USC for its next game on Friday Nov. 16.