UC Santa Barbara women’s basketball battled in The Big West Championship tournament. The Gauchos took down UC Davis and CUS Bakersfield to face off against the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in the championship game. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, their run came short as they lost 61-59.
In the first quarter, both teams started slow, as there were only 6 combined points in the game’s first three minutes.
Once the Gauchos found a groove, they kept it rolling as they led strongly with 8 points in the first quarter with the help of senior guard Alexis Tucker.
UCSB ended the first quarter leading 22-15 against the Rainbow Warriors. Tucker had 10 of the 22 points for the Gauchos.
Going into the second quarter, the team continued to roll as they led by 10 points with five minutes left. The Gauchos continued dominating both sides of the ball for the rest of the quarter.
The Gauchos scored 16 points in the quarter while only allowing Hawaiʻi to score 8. As the buzzer went off for halftime, UCSB led 38-23. Tucker added to her point total to bring it to 15 points, while the rest of her team had 21 rebounds compared to Hawaiʻi’s 11.
Coming out of the locker room, the Gauchos continued to dominate on both sides as they led with 15 points with six minutes left in the third quarter. Hawaiʻi continued to fight to cut the lead in hopes of brewing a comeback.
Hawaiʻi cut the lead to 10 as the third quarter finished with the Gauchos leading 46-36.
The Gauchos found themselves one quarter away from reaching March Madness for the first time since 2012.
The Rainbow Warriors started to cut the lead in the fourth quarter, as they found themselves only down by four with six minutes left. The Gauchos proceeded to score back-to-back baskets to put themselves up by eight.
With two minutes left, it came down to crunch time as the Gauchos only led by 4 points. Unfortunately for UCSB, Hawaiʻi hit a three and a mid-range jump shot to put the Gauchos down one.
Both teams went scoreless until the last six seconds of the game. Tucker drew a shooting foul where she knocked down both free throws to give the Gauchos a 59-58 lead.
Hawaiʻi returned down the court and hit one layup to give the Rainbow Warriors the 61-59 lead. The Gauchos had a chance to win or tie it, but unfortunately, the deep three at the end was off, ending the Gauchos’ run.
Tucker was the top performer on the court, ending the game with the highest score of 21 points and leading her team with 7 rebounds.
Junior guard Anya Choice and senior forward and center Ila Lane achieved double-digit scores, with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The Gauchos finished the season with a 21-12 record overall.
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