The slump continues for UCSB, as the Gauchos fell to the University of Southern California 62-53 on the road Sunday afternoon.
In what appeared to be a promising game, Santa Barbara (1-3) had a lead of nine points multiple times in the first half, and held a six-point halftime lead over the Trojans (3-1). However, that lead disappeared in the second half when a fired-up USC squad clamped down on defense.
UCSB was unable to cleanly handle the ball in the second frame, giving up turnover after turnover to the Trojan defense. USC capitalized on the mistakes, and at one point put together a 15-2 run to take control of the contest. Santa Barbara’s 18 second-half giveaways were certainly a large piece of the equation, but it did not help that senior guard Lauren Pedersen missed large chunks of that half with foul trouble, and ended up fouling out with over five minutes to play.
“They definitely got the momentum after Pedersen went out,” point guard Emilie Johnson said. The freshman had trouble with the USC defense while the more experienced Pedersen was absent, and turned the ball over seven times on the match.
Sixth-year senior Jenna Green carried the team in their stead, notching a team-best 15 points. Johnson contributed heavily as well, playing all but one minute of the game and tallying five points and eight rebounds.
However, their solid efforts could not deter the Trojans, who outscored the Gauchos by 15 in the second half. Briana Gilbreath and Nadia Parker starred for USC with 18 and 19 points, respectively.
The loss comes as a disappointment to UCSB, as first-year Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb had been hoping to tally the first road win of her career against an impressive Pac-10 foe. Unlike UCSB’s last two losses, the Gauchos had a lead in this one and let it slip away, but the team is far from despair.
Johnson says that the Gauchos “just have to learn from it — to learn from the mistakes and move on.”
Santa Barbara’s next opportunity to recover will be Thursday, Dec. 4 against University of Nevada. That game will be at home in the Thunderdome, where the Gauchos are undefeated in two exhibitions and one regular season match.