The second half has not been a friend of the UCSB women’s basketball team recently.
After going down just seven at halftime to Cal Poly and then losing by 18, the Gauchos once again went into the second half against Long Beach State competitive. Santa Barbara came out of the locker rooms with just a five point deficit on the road, but allowed the 49ers to go on a 13-2 run to start the final period.
The game spiraled downward from there for the Gauchos as they fell 72-53.
“It’s disappointing that the game is two halves,” Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. “I think we competed and set the tone we wanted in the first half. We were taking good shots, we were going inside-out and we were good on the defensive end of things. And then they went on a run to start the second half and we reverted to trying to fix everything with one pass and a quick shot or missed layups and then giving up transition points on the defensive end.”
With the inability to put two halves together, UCSB drops to 5-10 overall and 0-2 in the Big West. The loss is the second straight defeat for Santa Barbara with the team losing seven of its last eight. In addition, UCSB has now lost both conference games by an average 18.5 points.
Long Beach improves to 10-7 overall and 2-1 in conference.
“Maybe the starters of the game aren’t the starters of the second half. Maybe those aren’t the same people,” Mitchell said. “You would hope by this point in the season that all of that would be in place and you wouldn’t have to think those things through, but again I understand they’re 18 year old kids. I try to remind them that they’re down 0-0.”
The first half saw a competitive match-up featuring two ties and nine lead changes. Despite outshooting and outrebounding the 49ers, the Gauchos headed into halftime down five.
However, UCSB committed six turnovers in the first six minutes in the second half, allowing Long Beach to take a commanding lead, which reached 20 points with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
“We stopped focusing on defense and they started getting rebounds,” senior guard Destini Mason said. “They got really comfortable. We had to sense of urgency. It was like no one wanted to pick it up and win the game.”
On the evening, Long Beach was clearly the aggressor, shooting 21-27 from the free throw line compared to 7-8 for Santa Barbara. In addition, the 49ers outshot the Gauchos 40.4 percent to 38.6 percent on the offensive end.
Junior guard Lauren Spargo led the 49ers offensively with 19 points, more than double her average of 8.6 points per game. The total ties her career-high.
“We tried a lot of different people,” Mitchell said. “We know she’s a great shooter. She stepped up big tonight with (junior guard Alex) Sanchez playing limited minutes and that’s what good teams do.”
For UCSB, Mason took charge offensively for the second consecutive game, nearly tallying a double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds.
“I just wanted to win,” Mason said. “Whatever the stats was, it didn’t matter. [The stats] just show how badly I wanted to win, but we didn’t pull it out.”
The Gauchos will try to snap their losing streak this Saturday when they host Cal State Northridge for a rematch of last year’s Big West semifinal.
This version is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.