#12 Taylor Mole glides through the lane in Thursday night’s game against Long Beach State. | Credit: Gary Kim

Twenty-one turnovers doomed the UCSB women’s basketball team in a 68-54 loss to visiting Long Beach State on Thursday night.

The Gauchos hung tough through three quarters in a showdown of two teams that figure to be near the top of the Big West standings at season’s end, but they were outscored 22-10 in the fourth quarter as Long Beach State pulled away behind suffocating defense.

“It was hard to believe we were in the game there for most of it. There was just no offensive rhythm,” said UCSB coach Bonnie Henrickson. “We just needed some momentum plays on both ends of the floor, and we didn’t get them.”

Hot shooting was UCSB’s calling card early in the game. The Gauchos held a 20-18 lead at the end of the first quarter after converting three shots from behind the arc in the period.

UCSB continued to shoot well from three-point range throughout the game, led by super senior Danae Miller, who knocked down a career-high five three-point baskets, and Megan Anderson, who continued her season-long hot streak by converting on three-of-eight from three-point range. 

However, the Gauchos could not muster much else offensively as leading scorer Ila Lane failed to establish herself inside. UCSB struggled mightily with post entry passes to Lane, which accounted for the vast majority of the team’s turnovers.

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“[Long Beach] needs to score in transition. They need to manufacture offense in transition to be successful, and give them credit, because they do that,” Henrickson said. “Sometimes we gave it to them, and some of them were forced.”

Long Beach forward Maddi Utti drained a midrange jumper just before the second-quarter buzzer sounded to give her team a 33-31 lead going into halftime. Utti finished with a game-high 21 points on nine-of-15 shooting from the field. 

The two teams went back and forth in the third quarter, and a pull-up jumpshot by Kianna Hamilton-Fisher gave Long Beach a 46-44 lead heading into the final stanza. 

After a driving layup by UCSB’s Anya Choice evened the score at 46-46, Long Beach (10-1 overall, 3-0 Big West) responded with 11 consecutive points to take a 57-46 lead, seven of which came from Jasmine Hardy, who had not scored previously in the game. 

The Gauchos failed to close the deficit and ultimately squandered a solid 10-of-25 shooting night from three-point range as a team.

UCSB (7-4 overall, 1-1 Big West) will host Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, beginning at 4 p.m.

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