Facing their first ranked team for their first road game was a tall order for the UCSB women’s basketball team, and once again their shooting plagued them in a 66-42 loss to #14 Arizona State University (1-1 overall).
The Gauchos (1-2) shot just 28 percent in the first half and the 37-19 halftime deficit proved to be insurmountable. Sun Devil senior guard Jill Noe led the attack against Santa Barbara with 12 points, eight assists and seven boards.
In the spotlight for the Gauchos was senior center Jenna Green, and she didn’t disappoint despite limited minutes. In her first game of the season after being sidelined with a back injury, Green showed that she is still the leader of the Gauchos, and threw in a game-high 12 points. Green also contributed three blocks and three rebounds in only 23 minutes.
UCSB shot only one-of-nine from beyond the arc, and only 55 percent from the free throw line. With the real focus of this season being the Big West Conference in March, Head Coach Mark French used the blowout as an opportunity to get some quality minutes for a number of backups. Thirteen different Gauchos saw the floor, with 12 of them playing double-digit minutes.
The Gauchos came into the game rebounding very well, but they couldn’t keep it up against the Sun Devils. Arizona State dominated the glass with a game-breaking 46-26 rebounding margin. On top of that, the Sun Devils managed to grab 19 offensive boards.
The Gauchos will try to get back on the winning track tonight against Loyola Marymount. Last season, the teams were very evenly matched, but Santa Barbara came out on the wrong end of the 63-58 final score. This team should be fairly similar to last year’s squad as three starters and eight total players have returned. If the Gauchos are going to win, they will have to get back in the positive side of the rebound margin. Last season showed how important crashing the glass is for this team: Santa Barbara was 17-2 in games that they out-rebounded their opponents. Clearly that trend will continue this year, and the Gauchos will have to focus on the boards if they want success.