In a Blue-Green rivalry game that pitted two teams with polar opposite styles against each other, Cal Poly’s offense proved to be too much to handle for the UCSB women’s basketball team as the Gauchos fell 66-47 to the Mustangs on the road.
With the loss, UCSB drops to 6-11 overall and 2-3 in the Big West while Cal Poly remains one of the hottest teams in the Big West, extending its winning streak to four games. The Mustangs are now 10-6 on the season and 4-1 in conference play.
“This is a 40-minute game and we only showed up for 20 minutes,” Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. “We didn’t get the stops we needed too early in the second half.”
Despite holding Cal Poly to 28 points in the first half, UCSB gave up 38 points in the final period, allowing the Mustangs about 11 more total points than their league-leading average of 55.2 points per game.
“In the second half, we let things get out of hand defensively,” senior guard Angelei Aguirre said. “We couldn’t get them out of the paint and that hurt us.”
The Gauchos were also unable to handle two of Cal Poly’s great offensive threats in junior center Molly Schlemer and senior guard Kayla Griffin. The two combined for a total of 43 points, nearly outscoring Santa Barbara on their own.
At 6’5’’, Schlemer took advantage of UCSB in the post, scoring a game-high 22 points on 11-15 shooting.
“[Schlemer] finishes extremely well,” Mitchell said. “We made an adjustment to front her in the second half, but [you can’t] double her because everyone else can hit their shots. You have 6’5’’ going up against 6’1’’ and that’s a problem.”
Griffin hurt the Gauchos from all over the court, tallying 21 points, including 3-4 from three-point range, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals.
“I think [Griffin] got a lot of her points off of transition,” junior guard Melissa Zornig said. “She’s the type of girl that will pull up for three in transition.”
The Mustangs were on fire right from the top, taking a 10-0 lead over Santa Barbara to start the game. However, the Gauchos stayed in the game by taking away Cal Poly’s transition game, heading into the locker room down 28-22.
“We were getting easy shots, but they weren’t falling and that’s why we weren’t panicking,” Mitchell said. “We were making them work hard.”
To begin the second half, though, Cal Poly dashed any hopes of a UCSB comeback, going on a 23-7 run fueled by transition baskets to take its largest lead of the game at 22 points. While there were still eight minutes remaining, the game was long over as UCSB was unable to get any closer than 15 points.
“We’re getting better at executing, but we missed a lot of shots that we should’ve knocked down,” Zornig said.
UCSB continues its three-game road trip on Thursday at Cal State Northridge.