December 19, 2011

Gauchos' Road Struggles Continue in Last-Second Loss at New Mexico State

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Melissa Zornig's open three-pointer at the buzzer hit off the back of the rim and it kept UC Santa Barbara winless on the road as the Gauchos lost a heartbreaker, 52-51 at New Mexico State on Monday night.

UCSB held its largest lead of the game at 44-36 with 9:00 remaining, but watched it dwindle away when New Mexico State's Erica Sanchez hit a pair of three-pointers in a 43-second span to give NMSU a 47-46 lead with 5:07 left.

Another trey by Kaitlyn Soto pushed the lead to 50-46 before Zornig buried a three from the corner after the teams traded baskets to make it a one-point game with 0:49 left.

Tabytha Wampler missed the front end of a one-and-one with just under five seconds left and Emilie Johnson pushed the ball up to Zornig, whose attempt at a game-winner just missed.

The loss dropped UCSB to 4-6 overall – and 0-4 on the road – while NMSU snapped an eight-game losing streak and won its first game at home this season. New Mexco State improves to 2-8.

UCSB, known as defensive stalwarts this season, only allowed the 52 points, but the Aggies did it on even 50% shooting. Santa Barbara hadn't allowed its previous six opponents to score 50 points and had allowed opponents to shoot just 35.5% on the season.

Sweets Underwood and Zornig led the Gauchos with 13 points apiece while Kirsten Tilleman and Nicole Nesbit each had 10 points.

The Gauchos play at UTEP (10-0) on Wednesday with tip-off at 6:00 pm PDT. The game can be heard live online by clicking here with the pre-game show starting a half-hour prior to tip-off.