The UCSB Women’s basketball team lost in its home opener on Friday to the visiting Seattle University Redhawks. At one point, the Gauchos had a comfortable 21-point lead; but the Redhawks refused to back down, coming back from the deficit to win the game 77-71.
“Honestly our freshmen are playing like freshmen, and so are our upperclassmen,” Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “We’ve got to grow up and we’ve got to defend. It’s not a can do it’s a want to. We’ve got to develop discipline on the offensive end and toughness and discipline on the defensive end. We’ll get it figured out, you know we will, it’s just frustrating in the process.”
After starting the season with a win, UCSB is now 1-2 overall, having suffered losses to Santa Clara and now Seattle.
While Seattle played its first two games at home, they fell to Idaho State and Hawaii. The Redhawks earned their first win of the season against Santa Barbara, so they sit at 1-2 as well.
Redshirt senior Drew Edelman led Santa Barbara with 16 points and 19 rebounds. Senior forward Chaya Durr added 12 points and eight boards while fellow redshirt junior guard Sarah Porter added 13 and seven boards. Freshman guard Sarah Bates contributed 11 points while freshman guard Danae Miller recorded a team-high four assists.
The Gauchos had a rough night finding the net, shooting 39.4 percent from the field and just 28.6 percent from beyond the arc. Tal Sahar, the redshirt sophomore who played for Seattle two years ago, only played five minutes, going 0-3 with one steal.
Seattle was led by Alexis Montgomery, a redshirt senior, who ended the game with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore guard Kamira Sanders contributed a bit of everything for the Redhawks, scoring 21 points to go along with 9 boards, 6 assists and 4 steals.
On the night, Seattle actually shot better from beyond the arc than overall. Converting on 10-24 threes and 27-65 shots overall, the Redhawks shot 41.7 and 41.5 percent, respectively.
Both teams appeared evenly matched in the first quarter, with the quarter ending 14-14.
After a back and forth first quarter, which was hardly impressive for either team, Santa Barbara went on a run in the second to take a 23-18 lead and forced a Seattle timeout with 5:46 remaining.
Out of the timeout, the Gauchos maintained their momentum. Porter contributed 10 of her 13 points in the second quarter. With the Redhawks shooting only 25 percent from the field in the quarter, the Gauchos were able to end the half with a slight edge at a 36-24 lead.
UCSB opened the second half with energy and looked to be in control.
With 5:39 to go in the third, the Gauchos used a Bates three to go up 51-30, leading by their largest margin of the game.
Unfortunately for Santa Barbara, it gave up a 15-9 Seattle run to end the quarter. The Redhawks used big scoring from Montgomery and a handful of three-pointers for their 21-point quarter. While Seattle remained down 15 heading into the fourth, Santa Barbara appeared to have gotten too comfortable with its lead.
In the final quarter, Seattle made a huge comeback, shocking the home crowd.
Seattle held the Gauchos to an abysmal 5-for-20 shooting and only 1-for-6 performance from beyond the arc in the quarter.
Freshmen guards Cece Quintino, Bates and Miller each faced heavy pressure from the Seattle defense, led primarily by the pestering defense of McKenzie Williams. Williams seemed to have the young guards’ numbers in the fourth, making it a hard task for Santa Barbara to simply get the ball across half court at times.
The Redhawks finally got their offense rolling in the fourth, using a big quarter from Kamira Sanders. Sanders had 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting to go with 6 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal in the fourth quarter alone.
Shooting 62.5 percent from three helped the Redhawks overcome the deficit, making 5-of-8 shots from beyond the arc. Fans watched in disbelief as the Gauchos squandered their 21-point lead and Seattle came storming back. While the Gauchos were held to 11 points in the quarter, Seattle put up 32.
After a few back and forth possessions of Seattle chipping away at Santa Barbara’s lead, it looked like UCSB had a chance to regain its composure.
The Gauchos brought the ball up the floor with 2:56 remaining, up 71-70. Santa Barbara got the ball inside to Edelman on a nice feed that gave the forward a clean look, but the 6’4 forward could not convert.
Frustration seemed to kick in for the Gauchos, as missed shots and an unanswered 7-0 run by Seattle pushed Santa Barbara into desperation mode. The Gauchos ended the game with three possessions each ending in badly-missed three-point shots, and Seattle made enough of its free-throws to close out the game.
Scoreless in the final 2:56, the Gauchos fell to the Redhawks 77-71.
Luckily for UCSB, it will have a week break to perhaps solidify its defense and work on running its offense the way Coach Henrickson wants. UCSB will travel to Moraga, CA for the Saint Mary’s Tournament, which will begin this Friday.