In what would be their second win of the season, the UCSB women’s basketball team beat Grand Canyon by 11 points and now have an overall record of 2-6.
Santa Barbara was able to hold Grand Canyon to 38 percent from the field and forced 10 turnovers which made it difficult for the Lopes to find any rhythm offensively.
It was a quick start for UCSB as they ended the first quarter with a six-point lead. Sophomore guard Bri Anugwom provided stability on offense as she had six of her 19 points in just the first quarter. Redshirt Junior Guard Coco Miller also added two three’s to prevent the Grand Canyon defense from doubling Anugwom.
Heading into this game, the Gauchos were still trying to find an identity offensively as they have struggled to score consistently. In the second quarter, the squad was able to drop 28 points through an emphasis of balanced scoring. Junior center Natalia Bruening scored the first six points in the quarter as she established herself in the post early.
After her hot start, five different ‘Chos got into the scoring action which made it difficult for the Grand Canyon defense to key in on one player. As the second quarter wrapped up, UCSB was able to outscore the Lopes by 13 points, giving them a 19-point lead heading into halftime.
They would cool off offensively in the third, however, as they were only able to score 10 points in the period. Grand Canyon made it a point of emphasis to pressure the ball more to start the second half which led to easy baskets on the other end.
One of the common trends throughout the early season is that the squad has been unable to respond when something does not go their way in the game. Despite the increased pressure, Santa Barbara continued to remain aggressive and was undeterred when they faced adversity for the first time in the game.
Grand Canyon was able to find its rhythm however, particularly in the fourth quarter as the team scored 22 points and cut their deficit to just 11 points by the end of the game. They were led by senior center Sharon Miller who had 12 points on the night, while also going 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
Bruening did a terrific job for the Gauchos as she was able to limit the post touches for Miller which prevented her from making more of an impact offensively. With her confidence growing every game, she will surely be one of the team’s best players by the end of the season.
Miller has also been fantastic in the past few games as she has not only been making an impact offensively with her jumpshot but also has provided veteran leadership for the young group.
As the season has gone on, UCSB has started to play with more chemistry which has led to more fluidity on both ends of the floor. Statistically, they have been able to improve their field goal percentage as a result of an increase in communication on the floor.
For Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson, it is very encouraging to see the team continue to fight and remain locked in despite their disappointing start to the season. As they face more talented opponents in their upcoming games, they will look to rely on the habits that they are building now to help compete in those contests.
The Gauchos are back in action next Saturday at 2 p.m. as they head to Pacific looking to go on their first win streak of the year.