SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team finished its game on Thursday about as strong as it has at any point this season.
Problem was, the Gauchos had dug themselves too large of a hole to get out of and ended up losing to UC Davis, 51-47 at the Thunderdome, making the game close in the closing minutes after trailing by 20 points in the first half.
The Gauchos outscored UC Davis (13-6 overall, 5-2 in the Big West) 32-18 in the second half, but a 33-15 halftime deficit proved too much. It was the sixth straight loss by UCSB (8-10, 3-4) to the Aggies, who used 16 points by Hannah Stephens and 15 from Samantha Meggison to win.
Santa Barbara was led by Emilie Johnson, who scored 13 points, had five rebounds, six assists and three steals, and Nicole Nesbit, who scored 11 points for the third straight game. Sweets Underwood finished with nine points and nine rebounds for UCSB.
The Aggies opened the game with an 11-0 run and then used a 10-2 run midway through the first half to jump out to a 33-13 lead and the game looked like it would be ugly the rest of the way.
However, UCSB opened the second half on an 8-0 run and then cut the lead to eight with 6:22 remaining, the Gauchos' first single-digit deficit since it was 9-0 early on.
UCSB made it 48-43 on an Underwood basket and then another layup from Underwood cut the lead to 48-45 with 21 seconds remaining. However, Meggison hit a three of four free throws to ice it.
Turnovers haunted the Gauchos early on as UCSB had 12 at halftime – not far off their 14.2 average per game entering the night – which led to 15 first-half points for the Aggies. However, the Gauchos forced 11 second-half turnovers and turned that into 15 points in the second stanza, but it was not enough.
UCSB will look to even up its Big West record on Saturday with a 2 p.m. tip-off vs. Pacific at the Thunderdome. Tickets are available by calling 893-UCSB or clicking here.
All Gaucho games can be heard live on AM 990 in Santa Barbara or online by clicking here. The pregame show starts a half-hour before tip-off.