Angie Banks/Daily Nexus

UC Santa Barbara’s women’s basketball team was defeated twice at the hands of California State University, Long Beach, as the week came to a close with scores of 61-49 and 70-55, respectively. 

With these losses, the Gauchos fall to 2-11 while Long Beach State rises to 11-1 and is still playing undefeated basketball against conference opponents. The Gauchos’ losing streak will increase to five as their COVID-19 opt-outs from the beginning of the year continue to take a toll.  

Although UCSB kept it close in the first half of Friday’s game, the Gauchos ultimately gave up 35 points in the second half and went on to lose by 12 points. Saturday’s game was a different story, as UCSB was facing a 17-point deficit as the first-half buzzer sounded. Giving up that many points has been a worrying trend for the Gauchos, as they continue to be one of the worst defensive teams in the Big West. 

In both games, the Gauchos had quick starts, as they built small first-quarter leads. However, the Beach took control the rest of the way, as their size and suffocating zone defense overwhelmed UCSB. In both games combined, the Gauchos only lead for two minutes and 25 seconds. 

UCSB struggled to box out Long Beach in their first game, as Long Beach grabbed 8 more offensive rebounds than the Gauchos. Although there was improvement the next day, Long Beach still had 5 more total rebounds than UCSB. The Gauchos also struggled with their interior defense, as they gave up a combined 72 points in the paint. 

In their defeats, UCSB was led by Taylor Mole, who averaged a team-leading 17 points-per-game while shooting 41% from the field and 27% past the three-point line, while Lauren Lee led the team in assists with 3 per game. For the Beach, players hit individual milestones, as Long Beach guard Justina King had a career-high 9 assists in Saturday’s game, while the rest of the team only combined for 7. 

The Gauchos had issues with their ball security as they followed up their 16 turnover performance on Friday with 15 more the next day. In contrast, Long Beach improved in this regard, as they gave up the ball 11 times and then lowered that number to only 6 on Saturday.

Next week, Long Beach State will stay at home to face the UC Davis Aggies, while the Gauchos will look to end their losing streak at five games as they come back to Santa Barbara to take on the struggling Hawai’i Rainbow Wahines.