Entering Friday’s game against Iowa State, the ultimate defensive focus for the UCSB women’s basketball team was shutting down the Cyclones’ three-point game. If achieved, the Gauchos just might have had a chance at pulling off the upset in their regular season opener on the road.
As it turned out, it wasn’t that simple. Iowa State attempted only eight three-pointers and made three, but they still managed to defeat UCSB 77-60 in front of over 10,000 fans at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.
Iowa State is now 1-0 to start the season, while the loss lands UCSB at 0-1.
Rather than rely on the outside game, Iowa State instead leaned heavily on its offensive prowess down low. The Cyclones put up 46 points in the paint to the Gauchos’ 20 and notched an advantage in second chance baskets over UCSB 17-2.
A cold shooting night from all over the floor didn’t do the Gauchos any favors in playing from behind. UCSB finished 18-47 from the field for a shooting percentage of just 38.3 percent and shot 73.9 percent from the free throw line.
Senior point guard Onome Jemerigbe was UCSB’s leading offensive force for the night, scoring 16 points in 23 minutes. Jemerigbe was also the team’s leading outside threat, knocking down three three-pointers.
Redshirt sophomore guard Sarah Porter was the only other Gaucho to finish in double figures, putting up 10 points on 3-7 shooting. Redshirt junior point guard Drea Toler played well off the bench, dishing out six assists and coming up with four steals, the most on the team by a significant margin.
It seems counter-intuitive based on the Cyclones’ strong play in the paint, but the Gauchos did put up a strong rebounding performance on both ends of the court. UCSB pulled down 28 rebounds, nine of which came on offense, compared to Iowa State’s 36 boards.
Iowa State jumped out to an early lead and just never looked back, propelled by a combination of jump shots and layups from players like senior guard Seanna Johnson, redshirt junior Jadda Buckley and sophomore forward Meredith Burkhall.
The Gauchos never once held a lead during Friday’s game, and Iowa State at one point managed to stretch the lead all the way to 29 midway through the fourth quarter.
Johnson led all Cyclone scorers with 16 points and added seven rebounds for good measure. Four other Iowa State players finished with double-digit points, including redshirt senior forward Heather Bowe, who also had seven steals.
The Gauchos will look to move on in search of their first win of the season on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at home against Pepperdine at 7 p.m.