The UCSB women’s basketball team (4-5 overall) rung in 2005 with a heartbreaking one-point loss to Loyola Marymount (6-7) during a nonconference game on Sunday.
With six seconds left, LMU senior guard Mary Turner missed a shot, and LMU crashed boards to get the rebound. The ball was kicked back out to Turner, who made her second shot with just four seconds remaining to give the Lions a 59-58 lead. UCSB tried to get down the court in the final seconds but could not answer LMU’s basket.
“There’s a lot of things to be learned,” UCSB Head Coach Mark French said. “You learn more when you lose than when you win; we could have come away with a one-point victory and felt good about it. But it’s a terrifying thing when you lose by one.”
The game started off slow, and neither team shot exceptionally well from the field. The Gauchos’ biggest struggle was at the charity stripe, sinking only 13 of 24.
“We aren’t shooting well,” French said on KTMS 990 AM after the game. “I thought we’d be a good free-throw shooting team this year, but our good shooters missed their free throws. We’ll be thinking about that when we get back to practice and during the upcoming Big West games.”
Despite the slow start, the Gauchos were able to keep a four-point lead going into the half. Neither team possessed more than an eight-point lead at any point, and both tugged back and forth trying to snag the lead.
“Before the game, we were talking about how we liked LMU,” French said. “They played with great heart and did what they needed to do, particularly in the second half. I give a lot of credit to them.”
With 1:17 on the clock remaining and the scored tied at 55, senior forward Kristen Mann put up a shot and grabbed her own rebound when she was fouled by freshman guard Amanda DeCoud. Mann made both shots, putting UCSB up 57-55. Mann was the top scorer in the game with a double-double on 22 points and 16 rebounds.
In the last minute, Turner was fouled by senior forward Brandy Richardson and sunk the shot, tying the game at 57. Turner missed the free throw and Richardson rebounded, giving the Gauchos the ball.
Mann had possession of the ball with 32 seconds remaining and put up a shot to draw a foul. The first free throw circled the rim, but her second shot found the net, bringing UCSB ahead for the final time.
“The pain of losing is fresh in the players’ minds, and we’ll do more about it in practice,” French said. “Hopefully, we’ll learn the lessons pain is going to teach us.”