After its 89-41 victory over La Verne last Sunday, the UCSB women’s basketball team surpassed its tremendous scoring performance with a new season-high in points in its 93-78 victory versus Morehead State.
Santa Barbara’s 93 points is its most since its 94-77 win over Vanguard University on October 31, 2007. Additionally, it was the first time this season that UCSB outrebounded its opponents in consecutive games, outrebounding the Eagles 58-42.
Monday’s win gave UCSB its first back-to-back game winning streak since the 2013-14 season. The Gauchos ended their non-conference schedule with an overall record of 3-11, exceeding their total of two wins last season. The loss ended Morehead State’s two-game winning streak to give it a current overall record of 6-8.
Five Gauchos managed to score within double-figures while sophomore guard Makala Roper flirted with a triple-double, finishing with a team-high 24 points along with six assists and nine rebounds.
After a rough shooting stretch at the free throw line to start the season, UCSB has shot over 75 percent at the strip in five of its last six games. It earned a 76.7 free throw percentage versus Morehead State, scoring half of 8-2 run to open the game at the free throw line.
Her best performance since being placed within the Gauchos’ starting lineup, sophomore forward Chaya Durr scored a career-high 18 points while tallying six rebounds and a team-high two blocks. Both her and junior point guard Onome Jemerigbe shot 3-3 from the field in the first quarter. Jemerigbe ended the contest with 14 points.
However, matching UCSB’s quick start was the Eagles’ sophomore forward Eriel McKee and freshman guard Miranda Crockett. Crocket scored a game-high 27 points and seven assists while McKee registered a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. The two combined for 18 points in the first quarter on 50 percent shooting but could not prevent UCSB’s 26-21 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Helping UCSB achieve its 46.5 shooting percentage was its production off the bench as well. Senior guard Jasmine Ware and sophomore forward Taylor Farris provided 27 of the team’s 29 bench points.
Farris notched a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, her second consecutive game with double-figure rebounds, while Ware scored 17 points on a 6-9 shooting effort. Helping the Gauchos maintain their narrow lead was senior forward Kendra Morrison who grabbed six rebounds in the second quarter.
As both teams traded points throughout the quarter, it was UCSB’s success at the free throw line (8-10) that allowed it to have a 46-42 lead at halftime.
The Gauchos’ improved defense in the second half enabled their splurge of points in the second half as they took their first double-figure lead in 7:37 mark of the third quarter. As UCSB held Morehead St. to an overall field goal percentage of 38.5 percent, Ware’s 10 points in the third quarter extended UCSB’s lead to 72-59.
Adding to the spectacular efforts of Crockett and McKee, redshirt junior guard Brianna McQueen scored 16 points, but was the only player besides the two that made an effective contribution to the Eagles’ attempt at a comeback.
Yet, the Gauchos’ lead continued to expand as they recorded their best shooting percentage in the fourth quarter at 52.9 percent. UCSB earned its largest lead with 3:37 remaining in regulation at 85-64, leading it to its 93-78 victory.
UCSB will begin its Big West Conference schedule in the New Year, hosting Cal Poly on Thursday, Jan. 7th at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.