Despite putting forth one of its strongest efforts of the season, the UCSB women’s basketball team fell to CSU Bakersfield last night 74-64. Career performances from sophomore point guard Onome Jemerigbe and freshman forward Chaya Durr, who scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, were not enough to give the Gauchos their first win of the season.
The loss drops Santa Barbara to 0-13 on the year while improving the Roadrunners’ record to 11-4.
“It was a totally different team tonight. I feel very confident,” Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. “We competed from tip to buzzer, we just made a few critical mistakes at different moments. They’re a very good team.”
Although offensive struggles have held the Gauchos back for most of the season, that was not an issue for them yesterday as they shot a season-high 48.1 percent for the night. Having held Bakersfield to 42.9 percent shooting in the game, this marks only the second time this season that UCSB outshot its opponent from the field.
“Together as a team today we just focused in,” Jemerigbe said. “We know we can make the shots. It was all just a matter of focusing in and having a lot of confidence, so that’s what we tried to come out with.”
A back-and-forth game which saw five lead changes throughout was tight at the half with the Roadrunners leading 29-27. After a layup from junior forward Batabe Zempare with 14:56 remaining gave Bakersfield a 44-38 lead, the Gauchos responded in a big way. Highlighted by a three-pointer from freshman guard Makala Roper, UCSB made six consecutive shots to take a 49-44 lead.
Roper was 2-4 from beyond the arc on the night with eight total points as she continued her hot outside shooting. Zempare was kept well under season averages, finishing with just eight points and five rebounds.
The Gauchos’ lead would be shortlived though, as Bakersfield answered back with a 20-4 run of its own to take back control. The Roadrunners knocked down 4-5 from beyond the arc during the stretch and were an impressive 11-21 for the game.
Senior guard Brooklynn Hinkens made 5-10 from deep herself en route to a team-high 17 points. Redshirt senior guard Tyonna Outland added 15 points, eight assists and six rebounds of her own.
A late comeback by the Gauchos cut the lead to 60-64 after a three-point play by Durr with just over two minutes remaining. However, a technical foul from junior forward Jasmine Ware with 2:09 to go began a run of 10 consecutive unanswered free-throws by Bakersfield to end the game 74-64.
“We definitely came out with a lot of energy and played very hard,” Jemerigbe said. “If there’s anything we can take away from this game it’s just buckling down in the crucial minutes and being able to execute and make the easy play.”
Strong performances by key starters in Jemerigbe, Durr, and junior forward Jasmine Ware helped keep UCSB in the game, with all three shooting above 50 percent. Ware added five steals to her 12 points, while Jemerigbe recorded multiple team-highs, dishing out five assists and scoring a career-high 16 points. Durr also added a career-best 15 points to go along with her eight boards.
“Onome did a good job of being the floor general, knowing when to get a shot and when to get others involved,” Mitchell said. “Chaya had a great week of practice and we awarded her with the start, and when the minutes were presented to her she definitely took advantage.”
Although the Gauchos shot a better percentage from the field than their opponents, an inefficient 2-9 on threes for the night was not enough to answer the hot shooting of the Roadrunners.
UCSB returns home this Saturday to play Cal Poly on Alumni Day in its Big West season opener.