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This season, there has been one statistic that seems to determine wins versus losses for the UCSB women’s basketball team.
In the rebounding column, the Gauchos average 39.9 rebounds in victories compared to 32.0 boards in defeats.
Last night in Hawaii, Santa Barbara was outrebounded 38-25, including 17-8 on the offensive boards, which led to 25-7 disadvantage in second chance points. It made all the difference in the game, resulting in a 73-60 loss on the road.
“[Rebounding was] the only difference in the game,” Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. “I think we played a solid game defensively and we shot 47 percent, so you can’t ask for anything more than that. At the end of the day, it was the rebounding side of things.”
The Rainbow Wahine improve to 16-11 and 10-5 in the Big West, moving into a tie for second place with Cal Poly. UCSB on the other hand, falls to 8-20 overall and 3-12 in conference.
With Riverside losing to UC Davis last night, the Gauchos continue to hold onto the eighth and final playoff spot by a one-game margin.
Tied at 13 all with 11:43 to go in the first half, the Rainbow Wahine went on an 11-0 run sparked by offensive boards. With 11 offensive rebounds in the first half, four of those 11 points were scored on rebound putbacks. Control of the game remained in Hawaii’s hands the rest of the game.
“I think we had a lot of miscommunications on defense, but the main reason (for their run) was the rebounding,” senior guard Melissa Zornig said. “We played zone most of the game and I think we had problems finding people to box out.”
Hawaii continued to stand up to its ranking as the top defensive team in the Big West, holding UCSB to just 21 points in the first half. The Rainbow Wahine also lead the league in rebounding margin, which they exemplified tonight, outrebounding UCSB 22-10 in the first half, creating the separation that would last the entirety of the contest.
With leading scorer and rebounder Kamilah Martin on the bench due to injury, other players stepped up offensively for the Rainbow Wahine. Four players finished in double figures with senior forward Diane Moore and junior guard Ashleigh Karaitiana leading Hawaii with 17 points apiece, which is a career-high for Moore.
“They’ve played four games without [Jackson], so it’s not like this was their first game,” Mitchell said. “Because of their style of play, they’re not making any major adjustments. They do such a great job of having a balanced attack, so they don’t just rely on one player.”
The biggest bright spot to take away from last night’s game for UCSB was the play of Zornig, who tallied a game- and career-high 28 points and six rebounds on 11-20 shooting.
“She was just aggressive and took good shots,” Mitchell said. “She was able to attack off of the dribble and has played that way the entire year. I’m extremely proud of her and her growth and maturity.”
The Gauchos fly home today and will need to prepare quickly for Cal Poly Saturday for senior day. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at the Thunderdome.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.