Coming off a season opening 96-93 victory against Northern Arizona, the UCSB women’s basketball team (1-0) will head to Santa Clara (0-1) on Tuesday.
The Gauchos will be facing a Santa Clara team that just dropped its first regular season game to Cal State Fullerton at home.
This game carries a possible cadence of redemption, with the visiting team having the opportunity to obtain a victory against a commanding opponent.
Santa Barbara has a morbid history with Santa Clara, getting dominated in four of its last five meetings. Their most recent faceoff with the Broncos was in the 2016-2017 season, which resulted in a 69-58 loss for the Gauchos at home.
The UCSB women’s basketball team has not defeated Santa Clara since Nov. 23, 2013 while on the road.
UCSB shot 48.5 percent on 33-for-68 shooting against Northern Arizona last game, with four Gauchos scoring in double-digits. Freshman guard Sarah Bates led the team with a commanding 25 points, helping keep UCSB’s offensive success afloat.
To replicate another win, UCSB will need to come out with the same firepower, as was the case against the Lumberjacks. The Gauchos shot 7-for- 9 from three-point range in the first quarter and 14-for-30 from downtown overall.
Despite the Gauchos’ offensive surge beyond the arc – defensively, they seemed sparse.
Allowing the Lumberjacks to score on 47.4 percent shooting, the Gauchos woefully permitted Northern Arizona to score 14 points off 11 turnovers, and was beat by NAU on the boards.
Defense will be a key factor in the bout against Santa Clara, as the Broncos established a strong defensive presence against Fullerton.
Santa Clara forced 20 turnovers and tallied 16 steals in its matchup against the Titans. Santa Barbara will need to be cautious when in possession of the ball as the Broncos scored 22 points off turnovers.
A crucial player for the Broncos to look out for will be Santa Clara junior guard Emily Wolph, who is fresh off a career-high 27-point game.
In addition to Wolph, the Broncos have found a way to share the wealth as a result of other players scoring. Senior guards Taylor Berry (14), Kyla Martin (11), and senior forward Morgan McGwire (11) all scored double digits in the Broncos’ loss to Fullerton.
The Broncos loss to the Titans at home was highlighted by a 7-minute scoreless stretch in the fourth quarter. It will be essential for the visiting Gauchos to take advantage of such stretches if they occur by being assertive offensively.
UCSB goes into the game having lost the rebound battle between itself and Northern Arizona (38-43). An advantage on the boards could ignite success for the Gauchos considering that Santa Clara only recorded 28 rebounds against Cal State Fullerton.
An opportunity to win the battle on the boards could translate into the extension of possessions which turns into buckets.
Bench play will also have an enormous impact on the game, as UCSB’s bench outscored the Lumberjacks 26-14. Santa Clara had subpar production from its bench last game, only scoring 15 as a unit.
The Gauchos undeniably have more depth than the Broncos. During their last game, Santa Clara had three players well over 30 minutes of playing time, while UCSB only had two players who scarcely played over half an hour.
Santa Barbara has to be sure to exploit Santa Clara’s endurance and keep the momentum in its favor by using the depth of its roster in hopes of out hustling the opposing team.
UCSB will go head-to-head with Santa Clara at the Leavey Center on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.