In losing to Pacific 60-40 in a devastating blowout, The UCSB women’s basketball team also lost the chance to host a home playoff game in the Big West tournament.
The last time the Tigers swept the season series was during the 1986-1987 season. With the loss, the Gauchos drop to 7-8 in the Big West and 13-15 overall. Pacific improves to 9-6 in conference and 16-11 overall.
“We didn’t match their blue-collar intensity. They started from the tip and they kept bringing it to us in every facet of the game, from rebounding to getting to the paint,” Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. “I think we were prepared, but once we were rocked back on our heels, they ran the rest of the game.”
The Gauchos will look to regroup and finish their regular season on a positive note at UC Davis Saturday afternoon. UCSB has lost six straight games to the Aggies.
“We have to play with confidence,” Mason said. “We have nothing to lose, so we have to play like that.”
Most known for their trapping defense, the Aggies feature the second best scoring defense in conference, just behind the Gauchos. They’re also second in the Big West in steals, averaging 10.6 per game.
“Davis is always a tricky game with the system they play,” sophomore guard Nicole Nesbit said. “I think for us early on, we need to be sharp and focused. We can’t be loose with the ball because Davis really takes advantage of that.”
The Gauchos will need to be patient and calm to find success on offense, which was an issue against Pacific yesterday. UCSB reverted back to their shooting woes from earlier in the season, only scoring 15 points in the second half, shooting 7-28 from the field.
“There wasn’t the ‘let’s get it done’ mentality,” junior guard Destini Mason said. “Davis is definitely different from other teams, so we really going to have to focus offensively.”
The Aggies, who lead the league in three point field goals made per game with seven, killed the Gauchos from behind the arc in the last matchup, shooting 54.5 percent in the first period. Hannah Stephens led all scorers with 16, including 4-5 from downtown.
“[Stephens] hit four threes in the first half and we did a better job in the second half,” Mitchell said. “Once someone knocks down one or two threes, you should know they’re a shooter and get your hands up.”
In yesterday’s loss, both Pacific and UCSB came out strong. Early in the first half, there were seven ties and eight lead changes. However, with the score tied at 21 apiece, the Tigers mounted a 15-4 run to end the first half and took an 11 point lead into halftime.
After halftime, it seemed nothing would go right for the Gauchos. After the Gauchos closed the gap to single digits, Pacific went on an 18-0 run. The Tigers kept control the rest of the way.
“We weren’t connecting defensively,” Mason said. “I felt we were scrambling a lot and also weren’t executing the offenses. They’re at home and they took the momentum.”
Gena Johnson led the Tigers with 17 points and three steals. Erica McKenzie also contributed 12 points, all in the first half. She shot 4-9 from behind the arc.
“They can score a lot of different ways, but they both attack very well and that’s what actually killed us tonight,” Mitchell said. “They would get a foul or an open three.”
While UCSB committed a bearable 16 turnovers, Pacific threw the ball away half as many times and scored 12 points off the Gauchos’ turnovers.
“They bodied up to us on any screen and roll and once we picked the dribble up they pressured us,” Mitchell said. “I can live with the 16 turnovers, but the 12 points off turnovers is an issue.”
Tip-off against UC Davis is set for 2 p.m.