The UCSB women’s basketball team was held to just 27.9 percent shooting as it lost its season opener on the road against Nevada, 71-58. The Gauchos return home tonight to play in the Renee Trenholm Memorial against Idaho.
With its sixth straight loss dating back to the end of last season, Santa Barbara opens the year at 0-1 while the Wolf Pack begins at 1-0.
Coming into the game, the Gauchos knew they would have their hands full going up against last year’s Mountain West Co-Defensive Player of the Year in senior Mimi Mungedi. The 6’8” center got her team off to a great start, making her first five shots as Nevada was off to an early 16-4 lead.
UCSB kept itself in the game behind a balanced scoring attack, with junior guard Jasmine Ware eventually cutting the Wolf Pack’s lead to 23-21 off a jumpshot with 5:45 remaining in the first half. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, this was the closest they would come to taking the lead.
Nevada continued to hold UCSB off for most of the game, eventually pushing its lead to 58-44 on the team’s only three-pointer of the night by Terilyn Moe with 5:41 left in the second half. The junior guard complemented Mungedi superbly from start to finish, tallying 19 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists on her way to the first triple-double in program history.
The Gauchos were able to make one final push, eventually cutting the lead to 63-58 off a triple by freshman guard Makala Roper with just over two minutes remaining. However, they were unable to score another basket as the Wolf Pack closed the game on an 8-0 run to win 71-58.
Another strong contributor for Nevada was junior forward Nyasha LeSure, who recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds on an efficient 6-9 shooting night. The dominant Mungedi ended the game with 24 points, nine boards and four blocks on a near-perfect 11-13 shooting.
While four players scored in double-digits for UCSB, an inefficient 19-68 from the field held them back for most of the night. Senior center Clair Watkins nearly recorded a double-double with 10 points to go along with eight rebounds, and Roper impressed off the bench to score a team-high 11 points on 3-5 shooting from downtown in her first career game.
Santa Barbara’s attention tonight shifts to its next opponent in the University of Idaho. The Vandals continue a three-game west coast trip to open up their season after they lost their season opener to Cal State Northridge, 67-50.
Senior guard Stacey Barr looks to be the focal point for Idaho’s offense, coming off a game in which she recorded team-highs with 18 points and 11 rebounds on 7-24 shooting. Junior guard Christina Salvatore and freshman post Geraldine McCorkell also chipped in with nine and 10 points, respectively.
Tonight’s game will be played in honor of longtime UCSB women’s basketball supporter Renee Trenholm, who passed away in May. Trenholm was the president of the Fastbreakers, a grassroots support group for the women’s basketball team, for over 15 years. The players will be wearing patches on their uniforms in memory of her contributions to the program on and off the court over the years.
The game with Idaho is set to tip off tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.