Late Comeback Not Enough in UCSB's 71-58 Loss at Nevada

Makala Roper (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Makala Roper (Photo by Tony Mastres)

RENO, Nev. – Despite a late comeback effort, UCSB (0-1) could not contain Nevada's (1-0) efficient attack in the 2014-15 season opener on Friday night.

With just three minutes left in the game, UCSB was down by 11 points and needed a quick score. And answering the call in her collegiate debut was Makala Roper who hit a three from the left wing to put the Gauchos back within single digits. Despite Clair Watkins fouling out on the next play, UCSB continued to carry offensive momentum as Kristine Brance earned a trip to the line and knocked down both shots.
Roper would later hit another downtown look to put UCSB within five points with two minutes to go, but Nevada closed out the game strong in scoring eight unanswered points to clinch the win.

Overall, Santa Barbara was led by three players who each had 11 points: Onome Jemerigbe, Makala Roper, and Jasmine Ware. While Jemerigbe and Ware found most of their points at the foul line, Roper was busy knocking down long-range shots, as she finished with a game-high three triples.

Led by 6-8 center Mimi Mungedi, the Wolf Pack shot 47.3 percent on the night, while the Gauchos only connected on 27.9 percent of their shots. Nevada's center finished with 24 points, which she scored off an efficient 84.6 percent shooting effort.

In the rebounds category, UCSB was led by Clair Wakins's eight boards, which complimented her 10-point scoring total. Behind her was Taylor farris with six rebounds. Nevada edged the Gauchos on the boards 51-37, as Nyasha LeSure and T Moe both paced the floor with 12 rebounds.

Nevada opened the game on an offensive tear in jumping out to a 16-4 lead. Netting 10 of those points was Mungedi, but UCSB would make it a two-possession game after going on an 11-3 run. 

With 12:12 remaining in the half, Jasmine Ware earned her first trip to the free throw line where she sunk both attempts. The junior would go on to finish her night with a perfect 7-7 shooting performance at the charity stripe.

Chaya Durr and Watkins would make it six-straight Gaucho points on back-to-back short range baskets. Just a minute later, Roper added her first points of the night starting with a three-pointer from the left wing at the 9:39 mark.

Roper then concluded the run by hitting a short jumper, narrowing the Nevada lead down to four points at 19-15.

The Wolf Pack was quick in regaining a larger lead at 23-15, but the UCSB offense caught fire with four made field goals in four straight possessions. Taylor Farris had the first bucket of the run off a baseline jumper, while Jemerigbe attacked her way to the rim for a hard-fought layup. After Ware made a short jumper of her own, Kendra Morrison put her team within one-point with an open three-pointer from the right wing.

Though Nevada bent, it would not break as it never gave up its lead through the entirety of the game. In response to UCSB's fiery comeback effort, the Wolf Pack's offensive focus went back to Mungedi who helped her team close out the first half with a 10-3 run. 

The Gauchos will return to the Thunderdome on Monday when they will face Idaho at 7 p.m. Tickets for the game are available at the Ticketing Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building, over the phone at 805.893.UCSB, or online here.