After picking up their second win in conference play, the UCSB women’s basketball team was unable to string together their second consecutive win in a row as they lost to Hawaii by 23 points.
Santa Barbara entered this contest with an overall record of 5-17, with a 2-8 record in conference play. Despite struggling early on in the year, the squad had shown flashes especially with their most recent win against CSUN. Junior star guard Coco Miller has been huge for the ‘Chos and would need to play big in order for them pick up the win.
It was a slow start for UCSB as they shot 31 percent from the field and also went zero for three from the three-point line. One positive for the gauchos was the play of junior center Natalia Bruening, as she scored four points and controlled the boards. Both Coco Miller and Danae Miller struggled mightily from the field as they combined for zero for six.
Hawaii was led by junior guard Courtney Middap who had five quick points in the first period. Middap has been a stabilizing force for the Rainbow Wahine as she is averaging eight points on the season along with a team high two assists per game. They would end the first period with a four point lead, behind strong defense which created three turnovers.
The second quarter was much of the same as Hawaii was able to extend their lead to six points. It was less of a slugfest in the period as both teams started to find their rhythm offensively. Sophomore guard Bri Anugwom started to look for her shot more which led to six points behind two three pointers.
One of the key takeaways from the first half was that Hawaii was able to get to the free throw line much more often than the gauchos as they shot four more free throws, which was really the only difference in the game thus far.
The game started to get away from Santa Barbara in the third period as the Rainbow Wahine outscored them by 15 points which gave them a commanding 21 point lead. Hawaii’s leading scorer Makenna Woodfolk started to get more involved as she hit two three-pointers while Middap continued her hot hand with six points, leading to a 17-to-nothing run in their favor.
With UCSB down 21 at the start of the fourth period, they would be unable to chip into the lead and would end up losing by 23 points. The Gauchos shot 17 percent from the field in the final quarter, which made it impossible to get on any kind of run.
This game seemed to follow the path of most UCSB games this year as they have struggled to find consistency on the offensive end of the floor. Much of this can be attributed to the team still lacking an identity, whether that be a gritty defensive team or a team that constantly attacks the paint.
One thing that must happen for UCSB to start having more success as the season comes closer to an end will be for both Coco Miller and Danae Miller to be more consistent on the offensive end of the floor. As the two leaders on the team, it will be up to them to make more of an impact and provide a spark for the team.
With this being a rebuilding season for Santa Barbara, it will be important to take the positives away from every game this season. As long as they constantly give maximum effort, the results will start going in their favor.
UCSB is back in action at home against UC Irvine this upcoming Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Thunderdome where they will look to get back on track.