The University of Michigan played the UCSB women’s basketball team a rendition of its fight song by reminding the Gauchos who are the real champions of the West.
In the second of a two-game road swing, #24 Santa Barbara lost 77-64 to the Wolverines (2-0) on Monday night in Ann Arbor to even its season record to 1-1.
The Gauchos went into the locker room with a 31-all stalemate to end the first half. Santa Barbara jumped out and grabbed the lead to start the second half but could not hold off Michigan. The Wolverines obliterated a nine-point Santa Barbara lead late in the second period and tied the game with 1:05 remaining in the contest. Michigan went ahead as freshman guard Lauren Andrews nailed two free throws and sealed the victory for the Wolverines. The Gauchos did not score after the 4:34 mark in the second half.
The game was clearly won for the Wolverines at the free throw line and on the glass. The Gauchos simply could not get to the charity line. Santa Barbara made just four attempts all night while the Maize and Blue went 18-21. Michigan grabbed 49 rebounds on the evening compared to UCSB’s 29 boards.
The Wolverines pounded the ball inside all night, feeding off of senior center LeeAnn Bies. The 6’3″ senior and four-year letter-winner scored 13 points and went 7-8 from the free throw line. Bies also tallied a team-high 11 rebounds.
Junior forward Stephanie Gandy may have made the difference, though. The reserve nailed 3-4 three-pointers and finished the game with a team-high 15 points. The Wolverines, as a team, shot 50 percent from behind the arc.
Foul trouble hampered the front line of the Gauchos, while the entire starting front court for Michigan averaged only two fouls per post player. Junior center Lindsay Taylor scored just eight points on 4-13 shooting. The Big West Player of the Week never got to the foul line in 30 minutes.
Collectively, the Gauchos shot a dismal 4-20 from the three-point range, including a horrid 1-12 drought in the second half.
Sophomore forward Kristen Mann highlighted Santa Barbara’s scoring by knocking in 14 points on 7-18 from the field.
Santa Barbara returns for its home opener on Friday night at 7 against Florida. The Gators enter the Thunderdome with a 2-0 record and a reputation as a high-powered Southeastern Conference team.