From the perimeter, it was evident that UCSB didn’t have a shot in its 56-63 exhibition loss to women’s basketball club team Love and Basketball.
Santa Barbara went 0-19 from behind the arc, and sank just 30.3 percent of its shots Saturday afternoon in the Thunderdome, but Head Coach Mark French sees the shooting trouble as just a bump in the road.
“I don’t think it would be correct to freak out on going 0-19 from three-point range,” French said. “We’ve got plenty of weapons in Mia Fisher and Erin O’Bryan and Kristen Mann and once we get Ana [Onaindia] healthy. They’re all kids who can stroke the ball well from deep. We just didn’t shoot well tonight.”
None of French’s weapons proved to be deadly from the perimeter. Mann, a senior forward, went 0-6 in the first half and did not find her shot until the 15:27 mark in the second half, when she grabbed an offensive rebound off her own missed shot to put the first of the night’s seven points on the board.
Although the Gauchos had some offensive trouble in the guard positions, it was the post players who repeatedly came through from inside the paint. Sophomore center Jenna Green recorded a double-double, grabbing 15 rebounds and scoring 17 points.
“My teammates did a really good job getting me the ball and putting me in good positions to score,” Green said.
Senior center Kate Bauman came off the bench to draw four fouls from under the net and score five of her seven total points from the free throw line. As a team, UCSB hit 16 of 22 shots from the free throw line with Green accountable for five of those points.
“We shot the ball better from the free throw line tonight,” French said. “That was just about the only place where we did shoot well, other than our post players.”
Former Gaucho and current WNBA Phoenix Mercury player Kayte Christensen suited up for Love and Basketball to score six points before fouling out with 3:15 left in the game.
“I was very pleased that Kayte fouled out,” French said. “I would have been very irritated if after all those fouls she committed as a Gaucho, she came into our building as an opponent and not have that tremendous hatchet mentality. So that really felt like old times.”
Christensen was a member of the 2001-02 Gaucho roster, of which current seniors Mann, forward Brandy Richardson, guard Fisher were a part.
“It’s really strange [playing in the Thunderdome again],” Christensen said. “It was even weirder just to be sitting on the other bench and still feel like I was wearing a white uniform.”
Those players who were actually wearing the white uniforms were unable to consistently put up a defensive front against Christensen and Love and Basketball. Santa Barbara had trouble executing a solid player-to-player defense, allowing drivers to repeatedly score from inside the paint.
“I think we just need to play smart, and trust our defensive philosophy, and trust each other and just get it done,” Green said.
The Gauchos will get back into the gym today to get ready for their regular season-opener at St. Mary’s in Moraga, Calif. next Sunday at 2 p.m., but French is not freaking out.
“I feel great about our post play,” French said. “Our inside game is going to be solid, and our perimeter game is going to be fine, too.”