Offensive shooting woes plagued the UCSB women’s basketball team Thursday night in an ugly 46-34 loss to Long Beach State. The 34 points was the lowest total scored by the Gauchos this season.
With the loss, UC Santa Barbara drops to 2-3 in conference and 7-9 overall. The 49ers improve to 8-11 overall and 3-3 in the Big West.
“When [we] hold a team to 46 points, we have to focus and make easy shots,” Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. “[They’re] Division I athletes. [They] have to make layups.”
The first half really told the story for the Gauchos, who shot 6-29 from the field (20.7 percent).
“We were getting all the shots we wanted, but we were missing layups,” sophomore guard Nicole Nesbit said. “They’re shots that we practice every day, but you miss one and it gets in your head, almost like a snowball effect.”
From the opening tip, UCSB was ice cold. After quickly going down 5-0, Mitchell yanked all five starters.
“Starting is a responsibility,” Mitchell said. “It’s their responsibility to set the tone and I didn’t feel like they did that. Everything we did was a second delayed.”
Nesbit provided the needed spark off the bench to score the Gauchos’ first four points of the game. Nesbit, who may have provided the only positive on the evening, totaled 11 points.
“Nicole has been pretty consistent the entire year,” Mitchell said. “If there was one shining point tonight, it was that Nicole gave us some consistency.”
Lucky for UCSB, the 49ers also had a slow start, keeping the Gauchos in the game.
After the Gauchos closed the gap to 13-12, senior forward Tipesa Moorer hit a jumper to start a 11-2 Long Beach run to end the first half.
In fact, Moorer seemed to find an answer every time UCSB even thought about finding some offensive momentum. She finished with 14 points on the evening.
“Moorer had a great first half,” Nesbit said. “She seemed to be in the zone. She was hitting her shots and getting everything she wanted.”
After halftime, everything continued to go wrong for the Gauchos. At the 14 minute mark, the 49ers doubled up on UCSB 32-16 and about a minute later, LBSU saw their biggest lead of the game at 19 points.
“It’s like it’s contagious,” Mitchell said, who compared her team’s offensive cold streak to a disease. “That basket gets really small, but it’s inexcusable. It’s unfortunate tonight that that disease hit, like, five players.”
UCSB narrowly avoided going into the record books as one of the program’s lowest scoring games. Back in the 1970’s, UC Santa Barbara twice scored 32 points.
“The open shots were there,” Mitchell said. The right people were taking the shots. Unfortunately they just didn’t fall.”
At the end of the day, while the Gauchos only tallied five assists and shot 27.8 percent from the field (compared to Long Beach’s 36.7 percent), UCSB was getting good shots, which eventually will land.
“We have to put this game behind us,” Nesbit said. “Two-game road trips are always hard, but we just have to move on because we can’t let this loss affect our next game.”
UCSB will look to rebound this Saturday at Cal State Northridge. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.