With a thrilling 61-60 victory against Cal State Northridge, the UCSB women’s basketball team was able to snap its five-game losing streak, putting it at an overall record of 5-17 (2-7 in conference play).
The game would go back and forth early as both teams were able to score fairly easily. For Santa Barbara, junior guard Coco Miller got off to a quick start as she scored six of her team-high 17 points in the first quarter.
One of the issues for the Gauchos has been their inability to find consistency on the offensive end of the floor. As the young squad still tries to find their identity, it would be crucial for them to keep the game close, as they have shown they are unable to come back from large deficits.
Heading into the second quarter, the ‘Chos found themselves down one as senior center Channon Fluker paced the Matadors early with five points and five rebounds. She was also able to make an impact on the defensive end with consistent rim protection as well.
It was a stalemate in the second, with both teams unable to create any separation from the other. Junior center Natalia Bruening would score five straight points to the start the quarter but would have to sit for most of the period due to foul trouble. Guard Danae Miller for the ‘Chos struggled mightily in the first half as she was 0 for 3 from the field, along with four turnovers.
For Santa Barbara to come away with the win, they would need both Millers to make more of an impact offensively while also providing veteran leadership. CSUN was able to add to its one-point lead in the third quarter behind strong play from Fluker and freshman guard Jordyn Jackson. Fluker showed off her consistent mid-range game as she scored 11 of the matador’s 16 points in the period.
UCSB found itself down six with just a minute left in the fourth quarter but would end up going on a final push to secure the win. Coco Miller was able to knock down a three-pointer to make it a three-point game and, after a turnover on CSUN’s next possession, Danae Miller was able to hit a clutch three-point shot to tie the game with 49 seconds left in the final period.
Following another turnover by the Matadors, Santa Barbara looked to run down the clock and go for the win. Sophomore guard Bri Anugwom was fouled with just eight seconds left and headed to the free-throw line. Despite missing the first, she was able to make the second, giving the Gauchos a one-point lead.
CSUN put the ball in Fluker’s hands for the final shot, but she was unable to convert the mid-range jumper, handing the ‘Chos their second conference win of the season.
It was a gutsy win for Santa Barbara as they climbed back despite falling behind by six points multiple times throughout the game. Danae Miller, in particular, showed her resilience as she was able to hit the game-tying three-point shot despite struggling for much of the game.
With this season being a rebuild for UCSB, it will be important for it to build upon these types of games to gain momentum for not only the remainder of this year but also for years to come.
The Gauchos will be back in action at Hawaii this upcoming Wednesday at 9 p.m. as they look to pick up their third win in conference play.