There’s an old saying that says, “All good things must come to an end.”
The UCSB women’s basketball team had its 40-game winning streak against Cal State Fullerton snapped last night as it fell to the Titans 46-38.
With the loss, the Gauchos drop to 12-15 overall and 8-7 in the Big West. Fullerton, on the other hand, improves to 9-18 overall and 5-10 in conference.
While typically great on the road, Santa Barbara never found its rhythm and trailed the Titans the entire game. The Gauchos got off to a horrible start, turning the ball over six times in their first nine possessions. As a result, the Titans took an early 9-0 lead.
UCSB struggled offensively, failing to score until there were just under 12 minutes left in the first half, and as a result entered halftime down 23-16. The 16-point half was the Gauchos’ worst start to a game this season.
To open the second half, Santa Barbara finally began to climb back into the game. Two free throws from junior guard Nicole Nesbit brought the score within three at 27-24, but the Titans responded with a 7-0 run to extend their lead back to 10 points. However, Santa Barbara continued to fight, closing the gap to four points with four minutes to go.
While Fullerton left the door open for UCSB, the Gauchos were unable to take advantage of their many opportunities to win the game. After coming within four, the Titans turned the ball over. However, Santa Barbara returned the favor. The Titans then missed on the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, but UCSB gave the ball back to Fullerton once again with an offensive foul.
Unable to make a shot that would bring the Gauchos within one possession, Fullerton eventually took advantage. Down the stretch, the Titans went seven for eight from the free throw line.
Despite outshooting the Titans 32.6 percent to 24.4 percent, UCSB sent Fullerton to the free throw line 25 times. The Titans converted their opportunities, shooting 84.0 percent from the charity stripe.
Nesbit was the only player for the Gauchos with more than six points, tallying a game-high. For Fullerton, sophomore guard Chante Miles and junior guard Alex Thomas paced the team tallying 11 points each.
Santa Barbara will need to forget about tonight’s loss as it travels to UC Riverside Saturday. At 11-15 overall and 4-11 in the Big West, the Highlanders have lost five straight; however the last time these two teams played, Riverside upset the Gauchos 45-42.
UCSB turned the ball over 17 times leading to a 20-6 points off turnovers advantage for Riverside. Junior center Natasha Hadley dominated down low, scoring 20 points and giving the Highlanders a 20-6 advantage in the paint.
Nevertheless, their lead was just two with under a minute remaining. Nesbit drew a foul, but made just one of her free throws, exhibiting the Gaucho’s horrible night from the charity stripe as they shot 56.2 percent from the free throw line.
While Hadley gave the Gauchos fits in the last matchup, senior guard Tre’Shonti Nottingham has made her mark on the conference as the strongest offensive threat, leading the Big West in points per game with 18.2.
Tip-off Saturday is set for 1 p.m.
A version of this article appeared on page 4 of March 1st, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.
Photo by Mark Brocher of the Daily Nexus.