The UCSB women’s basketball team rebounded from a tough loss to one of the nation’s top teams with a road victory over Santa Clara last night.
Nearly a week after taking the country’s third-ranked team, Maryland (9-0 overall), down to the wire in a 75-71 loss, the Gauchos (3-3) earned their second consecutive win away from home by defeating the Broncos 95-82 in an offensive showdown. UCSB was led by senior guard Jessica Wilson, who scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds, and junior guard Sha’Rae Gibbons continued to be a valuable contributor for Santa Barbara, scoring a team-high 20 points on six-of-nine shooting.
Santa Clara came out hot in the first half, but UCSB was able to recover. After Wilson scored the first two points for the Gauchos on a fast-break layup, Santa Clara took control with a 9-0 run. Gibbons stopped the bleeding for UCSB with a three-pointer, which made the score 5-11 with 15:44 remaining in the half, and on Santa Barbara’s next possession sophomore Jordan Franey scored three of her own to pull the Gauchos to within three. Santa Clara continued its hot offensive play, but UCSB was able to keep the game in hand, eventually tying the score at 19-19 at the 11:23 mark. The Gauchos eventually grabbed the lead and went up by as many as 14 with 4:42 remaining, 45-31. Santa Barbara sailed into half time with a comfortable 56-44 advantage.
It did not take long for the Broncos to get back into the game early in the second half, as the home team went on a 17-1 run that turned the Gaucho’s 12-point lead into a four-point, 61-57 deficit with 15:13 remaining. Santa Clara went up by as many as six, but behind the efforts of Gibbons and Wilson, UCSB was able to remain in the game. Gibbons recorded a steal, which led to a fast-break layup, and gave the lead back to Santa Barbara at 74-72 with 9:22 left. Six consecutive points from Wilson put the Gauchos ahead by six with 1:45 left in the game, and after Santa Clara answered with a layup on the other end, she assisted on a three-pointer from Franey, which gave the visitors a seven-point advantage with just outside one minute to play. Clutch six-of-six free throw shooting in the game’s final minute allowed the Gauchos to come away with a solid 95-82 victory.
UCSB won the game on the glass, as they recorded a resounding 48-22 rebounding advantage, which included a 23-9 offensive rebound advantage. The Gauchos were also able to counter Santa Clara’s three-point attack, which has been the identity for the Broncos. UCSB shot an impressive eight-of-13 compared to 10-of-21 for the home team.
Santa Barbara will not return to action until Thursday, when it travels to Portland to face Portland State, followed by a match against Oregon the following Saturday.