SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Without star forward Drew Edelman, who was sidelined due to injury, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team dropped its sixth straight game, coming at the hands of Fresno State by the score of 64-57 at the Thunderdome on Thursday night.
"I was really disappointed with our offensive discipline early on, and so we went with a mass substitution at the start," said head coach Bonnie Henrickson. "We were taking a lot of shots on the first side where we weren't efficient, so we need to figure that out and move the ball."
The Gauchos (1-6) started just 3-for-15 to start the game and fell behind early for the second straight game at home. Fresno State (2-4) jumped ahead to a 20-7 lead, but the constant lineup changes from UCSB generated a productive lineup that rattled off eight straight points, capping the quarter with a three-pointer at the buzzer from Makala Roper.
In the second quarter, Sarah Porter got hot from beyond the arc, draining a pair of three's a few possessions apart and made it a 23-23 game.
Led by Maddi Utti and Candice White, Fresno State went on another run and pulled ahead 40-31 in the third, before UCSB went on an 11-2 run, highlighted by three-pointers from Porter and Sarah Bates, to tie the game at 42-42 right before the end of the quarter.
Despite a poor offensive shooting night that saw UCSB shoot just 33.9 percent (21-for-62) from the field, the Gauchos found themselves in a one-possession game with under a minute to go. Trailing 60-54 with 46 seconds remaining, UCSB executed perfectly out of a timeout as Aliceah Hernandez came off a curl on the wing and drained a three-pointer to cut the lead in half. The Gauchos fouled right away and got the missed free-throws they needed, but the Bulldogs came up with a big offensive rebound to prevent UCSB a chance to tie the game.
Without Edelman down low and Natalia Bruening dealing with foul trouble, the Gauchos were outscored 28-18 in the paint and lost the battle of the boards 45-32.
Utti, meanwhile, was unstoppable around the basket for the Bulldogs, finishing with a game-high 20 points on 9-of-10 from the field while White finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
UCSB will travel to No. 7 UCLA (6-1) this Sunday, Dec. 3 for a 1:30 p.m. start at Pauley Pavilion.