The UCSB women’s basketball team traveled to Pauley Pavilion on Sunday afternoon to play #23 UCLA and came home with a disappointing loss.
UCLA scorched the Gauchos (1-1 overall) by going on a 13-6 run late in the second half, negating a strong start by UCSB, and eventually tallying an 87-62 victory. The Gauchos’ only win on the young season came this past Friday against Portland State, when UCSB defeated Portland 88-73.
“We played even with [the Bruins] in the first half, which builds our confidence, but fouls hurt us – our better players weren’t out on the court for much of the second half,” Head Coach Mark French said. “We let the referees take us out of the game, and our emotions got to us.”
In total, the Gauchos were whistled for 27 personal fouls – including 18 in the first half – but only one Gaucho fouled out against UCLA. Besides letting foul calls dictate the game, Santa Barbara was also out-rebounded 57-35, highlighted by 30 offensive rebounds by the Bruins.
“We got out-rebounded badly tonight. They were simply bigger and stronger than us,” French said.
Junior center Jenna Green led the Gauchos on the evening with 14 points, proving that her injury problems are behind her. Junior guard Jessica Wilson and freshman forward Jordan Franey added 12 points a piece in the loss. Wilson scored all 12 of her points in the second half, while adding a team-high eight rebounds.
Battling an unranked opponent the night before in the friendly confines of the Thunderdome, UCSB seemed to play like a completely different team against Portland State. Wilson obliterated the competition, sinking a career-high 30 points in the Saturday night victory.
Former UCSB forward Kristen Mann was the last of the Gauchos to score 30 points in a single game, when she helped the Gauchos defeat Idaho in the Big West title match in January 2005.
The victory marks the 12th season-opener that Santa Barbara has won in the past 13 years, showing promise of continuing the squad’s dominance prior to entering conference play.
However, Santa Barbara’s future does not get any easier. Highly touted Louisville and North Carolina State will be coming to the Thunderdome this month, and the Gauchos will travel to play #1 Maryland on Dec. 2. The tough schedule is something that the Gauchos pride themselves on, stimulating improvement and confidence for the conference games to come.
“We like the harder schedule to tell us where we stand and build off the outcomes,” French said. “We probably rebounded the same tonight as we did against Portland State, but the outcomes were significantly different.”
The Gauchos will return home Nov. 17 to host Oregon in their next preseason matchup in the Thunderdome.