In Thursday night’s tightly-contested game against UC Riverside, the UCSB women’s basketball team was outlasted by the Highlanders, in the end, losing 84-76. With the loss, the Gauchos fall to .500 in Big West play at 5-5 and move to 8-14 overall despite another big double-double from Drew Edelman.
Shooting an efficient 10-11 from the field, Edelman finished with 21 points to go along with 10 boards, both team-highs on the night. The Highlanders snapped a four-game losing streak with their victory over the Gauchos, but are still behind UCSB in Big West Standings. At 7-17 overall and 4-6 in conference play, Riverside remains in 6th place while Santa Barbara holds 5th.
Out of the gate, the Gauchos proceeded to play one of their best offensive quarters, especially for being on the road. Although Riverside tied the Gauchos for 23 points in the quarter, UCSB got hot early, making 6 of 10 three-point attempts, to provide answers in the back-and-forth quarter.
Sarah Bates opened the game with a three of her own, followed by a three-point play from Edelman down low to put UCSB up 6-2. Bates then made another three to with 6:39 left to make it a 9-4 game, which seemed to wake up UC Riverside’s Michelle Curry. Curry scored 11 of her career-high 30 points in the first. Sarah Porter went 3-3 from beyond the arc for 9 of her 12 points on the night.
Tied at 23 after one, the Gauchos didn’t fare quite as well in the second quarter as they did in the first. After shooting 50 percent from the field and 60 percent from three in the first, Santa Barbara shot just 28.6 percent overall and 20 percent from beyond the arc.
Unfortunately for the Gauchos, Riverside shot 80 percent overall to outscore them 22-12 in the quarter. A tale of two quarters for UCSB, no Gaucho made more than one field goal as they were held scoreless in the last 3 minutes of the half.
Curry added 6 points for the Highlanders, while Edelman rested the full 10 minutes. Down 35-45, head coach Bonnie Henrickson had the task of re-centering her team’s efforts during halftime, and it seems she did just that.
Determined not to roll over so quickly, Santa Barbara gave the Highlanders a taste of their own medicine, outscoring Riverside 20-12 in the quarter to head into the fourth down by only 2. Opening the quarter on a 10-0 run, the Gauchos got big production from Edelman, who scored 10 points.
The Gauchos also held Riverside to just 5 of 19 field goals, preventing any Highlander from making more than one shot. Drea Toler got a layup to fall at the end of the quarter to get UCSB back on track, down only 55-57.
It seemed to be anyone’s game entering the final quarter of play, and it stayed that way until the end of the quarter. At the 2:47 mark, Edelman made another lay-in to tie the game at 73, but Riverside then went on an 11-3 run to close out the game 84-76.
Edelman added 8 points in the quarter, but it wasn’t enough as Riverside used another 11 points from Curry to beat the Gauchos.
Despite a competitive effort from Santa Barbara, the Gauchos sent the Riverside to the line 22 times, where the Highlanders knocked down 16 free throws compared to Santa Barbara’s four.
UCSB, plagued by turnovers in multiple games this season, kept possession of the ball fairly well, committing only 12 turnovers on the night while recording a season-high 25 assists.
Sarah Bates joined Edelman and Porter in double figures with 12 points and 5 assists, her twelve games this season scoring in double figures.
The Gauchos will have another chance at a victory Saturday when they visit struggling Cal St. Fullerton, which will tip off at 6:00 pm.