The UCSB women’s basketball snapped its five-game losing streak after splitting a pair of games on its East Coast road trip this last weekend.
After a 105-44 routing by #1 Maryland last Saturday, the Gauchos (2-5 overall) came back and beat nonconference opponent Richmond (3-7) 51-49 in the final minutes.
The loss to Maryland (10-0) was the worst loss Santa Barbara has suffered since Feb. 12, 1987. It marks the sixth-largest margin of defeat in school history. In contrast, sophomore forward and Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year Marissa Coleman recorded the first triple-double in Maryland’s history, and the Terrapins’ 10-0 start is their best since they matched that record in their 1991-1992 campaign. Junior center Jenna Green had the best night for the Gauchos, continuing her consistent scoring with 17 points on seven-for-13 shooting.
“[It] is pretty hard to find a whole lot of positives in that game,” UCSB Head Coach Mark French said. “We had a little meeting after the game, and then tried to not worry about it too much.”
Despite suffering such a crushing defeat so far from home, UCSB bounded back admirably and grabbed a victory against the Spiders. The freshmen made a huge effort, and three of the Gauchos scored in double digits. Freshmen forward Jordan Franey hit three clutch free throws inside the two-minute mark to steal away the win from Richmond.
With 1:46 left, Franey was fouled and knocked down both of her free shots to put the Gauchos up 50-49. Then, with 15 seconds left, she snatched an offensive board off a missed jumper from sophomore guard LaShay Fears and was quickly fouled. Franey made one more free throw, and the Spiders were forced to throw up a three with two seconds that missed, giving the Gauchos the comeback win. Richmond didn’t make a field goal in the last five minutes of the game.
“With a young team it was great to get the win and get our confidence back,” French said. “Our freshmen are good players; although they are young they have played big time games in their careers. Everyone is really confident in our freshmen right now.”
The Gaucho comeback was forced by their less than stellar start to the game. UCSB started with three turnovers, to give Richmond a 7-0 lead, and five minutes in, the Spiders held their biggest lead at 15-7. Santa Barbara began to settle down and cut the lead to three by the half, despite giving up 12 points off 12 turnovers.
The Gauchos came out much stronger in the second half, and dropped the Spiders from 41 percent shooting down to 24. UCSB’s rebounding also improved, with 14 offensive boards that led to 13 second-chance points. Green once again led the Gauchos with 14 points as well as a game-high nine rebounds. Franey sunk 11 and has scored into double-digits in five out of seven games this season, while freshman guard Ariana Gnekow had a career-best 10 to round out the double-digit scorers.