#10 Anya Choice scored eleven points off the bench to boost the Gauchos. | Credit: Victor Bryant

When UCSB senior point guard and leading scorer Danae Miller hobbled off the floor early in the second quarter during a Hawai‘i run, the Gauchos could have given in to the circumstances and conceded defeat, but instead they put together an inspired second half.

Alexis Tucker scored a game-high 19 points and UCSB pulled away late for a resounding 65-51 victory on Thursday night at the Thunderdome.

“Sometimes we get caught watching Danae play,” said UCSB coach Bonnie Henrickson. “I was just really impressed how aggressive we were.”

The Gauchos were locked in at the start of the game and completely dominated the first quarter, especially on the defensive end, and took a 15-5 lead at the end of the period.

UCSB was very aware of the shooting exploits of Hawai‘i’s leading scorer Amy Atwell, and the extra attention they gave her paid off as she was held to nine points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field, which is well below her season average of 18.5.

However, Hawai‘i was able to claw back into the game in the second quarter, outscoring UCSB 19-11 to cut its deficit to 26-24 at halftime.

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Hawai‘i tied the score, 28-28, at the 7:15 mark of the third quarter on a driving layup by Atwell, but Tucker immediately responded with a three-pointer to put UCSB ahead 31-28, and the Gauchos never looked back.

“In this game, I just wanted to be aggressive. When we played against Davis and Riverside, I wasn’t as aggressive,” Tucker said. “It really hurt us when Danae went out, and I knew that was definitely a time for me to step up.”

The Gauchos closed the third quarter on a 13-7 run and then extended their lead in the fourth quarter behind a balanced offensive attack. Anya Choice came off the bench and poured in 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field, and 10 Gauchos found the scoring column overall.

“The more production we can get, and the deeper we can go down our bench with production, the better,” Henrickson said. “Those teams are hard to defend.”

UCSB center Ila Lane notched her sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Her interior presence set the stage for the rest of the team to flourish offensively.

The Gauchos (10-6 overall, 4-3 Big West) will travel to UC Irvine for their next game on Thursday, beginning at 7 p.m.

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