The UCSB women’s basketball team has now loss eight consecutive games after being defeated 61-42 against Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday and 68-50 at LSU on Sunday.
Just three games remain in the Gauchos’ non-conference schedule, who are 1-10 overall with little time to gain some momentum before starting Big West Conference play. Louisiana-Lafayette is now 7-1 overall for the second consecutive season after earning its fifth-straight victory over UCSB. LSU improved to 6-4 with Sunday’s win to remain undefeated in home games at 4-0.
Santa Barbara was outrebounded in both of its contests, primarily in offensive rebounds in which it registered four against La.-Lafayette and 10 at LSU.
Despite nearly matching their second-best field goal percentage this season with a 47.1 percentage against the Ragin’ Cajuns, the Gauchos recorded a season-high 28 turnovers to go along with a season-low total of 22 rebounds. Louisiana-Lafayette outrebounded UCSB 37-22.
The abundance of turnovers led to no Gaucho player tallying double-figures in scoring. Santa Barbara never led in Tuesday’s game and its slew of seven turnovers in the first quarter spurred the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 12-0 run to take a 17-4 lead. Louisiana- Lafayette’s backcourt was active early as senior point guard Kia Wilridge totaled eight points in the quarter while junior guard Jaylyn Gordon scored six to help the team go up 20-10 heading into the second quarter. Wildridge finished with a game-high 14 points as Gordon was just one point shy of her teammate at 13.
Still, UCSB remained committed to scoring its points in the paint, helping it to achieve such a high field goal percentage. More than half of Santa Barbara’s points occurred from buckets down low as it scored 22 of its points in the paint. Leading UCSB in scoring was freshman guard Coco Miller with eight points on 3-6 shooting from the field, 2-5 from behind the three-point line. She also had a career-high five steals.
However, the Ragin’ Cajuns held the Gauchos scoreless for nearly four minutes during the second quarter. A make at the free throw line by junior point guard Onome Jemerigbe ended the Gauchos’ scoring drought but Louisiana-Lafayette still went into halftime with an 11-point lead of 30-19.
UCSB’s cold shooting continued in the second half, not making its first field goal until the 5:11 mark of the third quarter from a Miller jumpshot.
Helping Louisiana-Lafayette expand its lead in the third quarter was the production of senior guard Keke Veal off the bench. She scored the team’s last six points to end the quarter, ending the game with 12 points on 6-16 shooting, four rebounds, and a team-high four steals to give La.-Lafayette a 42-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Veal’s 12 points was the primary source for Louisiana-Lafayette outscoring UCSB 22-10 in bench points.
Scoring spurts throughout the final quarter helped UCSB to trim the Ragin’ Cajuns’ lead but was not enough as they gained their largest lead of 24 with 2:01 left in regulation. They outscored UCSB 23-12 over the final 12 minutes of the game.
In spite of allowing UCSB to record a 47.1 field goal percentage, Louisiana-Lafayette concluded Tuesday with a 44.6 field goal percentage on 22 more shot attempts than UCSB from the field to earn the 61-42 win.
The Gauchos were outrebounded 29-43 against LSU, but it wasn’t just their lack of boards that resulted in their 68-50 victory over UCSB.
A career night by senior forward Akilah Bethel guided the Tigers to victory. She scored a career-high 18 points in addition to nine rebounds and tied careers high in assists (5), steals (4) and made field goals (8) to earn Louisiana Sports Writers Association player of the week honors.
Despite its field goal percentage of 34 percent to end the game, UCSB only trailed by two at 22-24 with 1:53 left in the first half. But, a jumpshot by Bethel sparked LSU’s 6-0 run to close the second quarter to take a 30-22 lead.
Leading UCSB in scoring was senior guard Jasmine Ware as she finished with 10 points but certainly her performance alone was unsuitable to trim the Tigers’ lead to single-digits.
The third quarter signaled the emergence of sophomore guard Jenna Deemer. She went scoreless in the second quarter after recording six points in the first but was 3-6 from three-point range on an overall 6-11 shooting effort to finish with 16 points, helping give LSU a 48-33 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Santa Barbara’s 42.9 field goal percentage in the fourth was its best shooting performance of the afternoon. Yet, it was a performance that was overshadowed by the outstanding 66.7 field goal percentage that the Tigers obtained in the quarter to secure the 68-50 victory.
UCSB’s last away non-conference game is a rematch at Santa Clara this Friday, Dec. 18th at 6:00 p.m. in Leavey Center. Santa Barbara will return to the Thunderdome for its final two non-conference games of the season versus La Verne on Sunday, Dec. 20th at 2:00 p.m. and Morehead State next Monday, Dec. 28th at 7:00 p.m.