BERKELEY, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team (2-8) suffered a 69-45 defeat at the hands of the No. 13 California Golden Bears (9-0) on Sunday afternoon at Haas Pavilion.
Junior guard Tal Sahar scored a season-high 20 points and junior center Natalia Bruening added nine rebounds, but Cal forward Kristine Anigwe's 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting and the Golden Bears' nine team blocks ultimately proved to be too much for the Gauchos.
UCSB got off to a hot start thanks to junior guard Coco Miller's three-pointer that put the Gauchos ahead less than a minute into the game.
The Gauchos would eventually lead 7-3 thanks to a pair of layups from Bruening under the hoop, but a nearly ten-minute scoring drought would give the advantage to the Golden Bears as the game progressed in the second quarter.
Down 16-9 with under seven minutes left in the first half, Sahar converted on five straight triples to give the Gauchos a slender 24-22 lead with less than three minutes to go before the halftime break.
"We had good looks for Tal with great screens. She had great rhythm in this game," UCSB Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson said in her postgame interview on UCSB's radio stream.
However, Cal went on an 11-0 run to close out the half with a 33-24 lead after Anigwe added seven points to her tally in the final minutes.
The Gauchos found it tough to get back in the game from that point as the Golden Bears outscored them in the following two quarters 19-10 and 17-11, respectively.
"I thought we were aggressive, but we missed too many layups. We have to finish our opportunities at the rim. We've got to grow our part of the game that we can handle some contact and find a way to manufacture some finishes."
All but three Gauchos scored in the loss, whereas only two players finished the game without any rebounds.
"There were a lot of things that went well today. Defensively, we were committed to our game plan. I liked our aggressiveness to the rim. This will serve us well later in the season," Henrickson added.
The Gauchos continue a busy week as they return to the Thunderdome for the first time in 17 days to take on California Baptist at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, before they head down to San Diego State to play the Aztecs on Friday at 1:00 p.m.