If the UCSB women’s basketball team wasn’t familiar with Kassandra McCalister from their last meeting, when she scored 21 points, it is now.

On Irvine’s senior day, the senior guard proved too much to handle for the Gauchos (5-7 Big West, 11-14 overall) as she led the Anteaters (8-6, 12-14) to a 72-65 victory, snapping UCSB’s three-game winning streak.

“It’s very disappointing,” Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. “Give Irvine credit, because they played extremely well, but I know that the last four to five minutes we made a lot of critical mistakes that cost us; and on the road, you can’t afford to do that.”

McCalister scored a career-high 36 points, the eighth-most allowed by an opponent in Gaucho history. Scorching hot, she hit five threes and shot 15 of 16 from the line.

“I’m going to give her all the credit,” Mitchell said. “She made a lot of contested shots, but you can’t put her at the free throw line that many times. It became a long game for us.”

Even with McCalister shooting the lights out, UCSB beat themselves with 18 turnovers, which led to 27 points by UCI.

The tempo of the game was also a huge issue. The Gauchos, which on average allow opponents 50.9 points per game, gave up 72 points, the worst of the season.

“We let them score way too many points,” sophomore guard Melissa Zornig said. “We’re not going to win if we let teams score as many as Irvine did.”

UCSB was also killed by UCI from behind the arc, where they shot 57.1 percent.

“When you know you’re guarding a shooter, you close out with a hand up,” Mitchell said. “We were closing out with our hands down. They made a lot of tough shots, but you have to make them at least take a two.”

While UCSB came out hot and took an early lead, McCalister went on an 8-0 run all by herself. The run continued, as UCI outscored the Gauchos 20-6.

UCSB made its comeback though, pulling within two on a basket from junior guard Destini Mason. However, Mason was given a technical foul for taunting, which became a crucial turning point as the Gauchos entered the break down seven.

“Even in the emotions of the game, you have to have control,” Mitchell said. “It was a critical swing, but it didn’t cost us the game.”

From the point of the technical, UCI went on a 14-3 run, but the Gauchos once again pulled together a comeback, spurred by their tenacious full-court press. With less than five minutes remaining, a free throw by junior guard Angelei Aguirre completed a 17-4 run and gave UCSB a 58-57 lead, their first lead since early in the first half.

“We all just looked at each other and said, ‘We need to win this game,’” Zornig said. “We turned it on, but we have to put two halves together.”

It was no other than McCalister who responded, sinking the Gauchos with a 9-0 run.

“With my defensive mentality, I’m a little frustrated,” Mitchell said. “We tried to deny her, go triangle and two, and face guard her.”

With McCalister’s shooting and UCSB’s sloppy play, it was amazing they were in the game at all. However, the Gauchos outshot the Anteaters 49 to 42.6 percent. Junior center Kirsten Tilleman led the Gauchos with 16 points and nine boards.

UCSB will play its final two games at home next week against Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State.