After traveling out of state and losing to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the UC Santa Barbara women’s basketball team returned to the Thunderdome to take on the UC Irvine Anteaters. After a slow start, the Gauchos were able to start a valiant comeback that could not be completed. The Gauchos lost by a score of 54-46 as their Big West Conference record fell to 10-6. This was the first home loss of the season for the team. 


The Anteaters dominated the first quarter. The Gauchos found themselves down by 14 before they could score any points. As a team, UCSB scored 5 total points in the entire quarter. Over half of these points came from free throws, as the team shot 3 for 6 from the charity stripe. From the field, the Gauchos hit just 1 of their 6 attempts while missing their only three-point attempt. UCI shot 6/19 from the field in the quarter while hitting 1 of their 4 three-pointers. At the end of the quarter, the Anteaters were up 16-5.

In the second quarter, things improved for UCSB. The offense looked much better, as they were able to score 13 points in the period. However, UCI was able to keep up the pace by scoring 12 points of their own. The Gauchos’ shooting improved as they hit 5 of their 14 attempts. The team was still unable to make a three-pointer. At the end of the half, the Anteaters got the last laugh as they hit a buzzer-beater to extend the lead to 10. The Gauchos entered the locker room at halftime down 28-18. 

The Anteaters were able to extend their lead even further at the start of the second half. The UCI advantage ballooned to 17 points before Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson called a timeout. Even with the much-needed break, the team was unable to get anything going. UCSB could not even muster a small run and entered the final quarter down by 17. 

In this final quarter, the Gauchos were finally able to find success. Scrappy defense and fluid offense allowed UCSB to cut the lead down to 8. However, the UCI effort suddenly picked up again and the Gauchos went back to their scoring woes. UCSB would be unable to decrease the lead any further as the Anteaters held on as the final buzzer sounded. 

In the match, the Gauchos were led by junior center Flora Goed and senior guard Alyssa Marin. Goed scored 10 points and grabbed 3 rebounds while Marin scored 9 and shot 75% from the free-throw line. Additionally, senior forward Alexis Whitfield scored 7 points, dished out 7 assists and grabbed 12 boards. 

The UCI victory over the Gauchos clinched a season sweep for the Anteaters over UCSB. For their next match, UCSB women’s basketball will travel to San Luis Obispo to take on the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Mustangs. In the Gauchos’ first match against the Mustangs, Henrickson and her team left the Thunderdome with a 65-64 overtime victory. The game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. on Feb. 29 and will be available to stream on ESPN+.

A version of this article appeared on p. 13 of the Feb. 29, 2024, print edition of the Daily Nexus.