Gauchos Can't Keep Pace With First Place Aggies in Home Defeat

Bri Anugwom (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Bri Anugwom (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Playing in its first home game of the month Thursday night against UC Davis, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team fell behind early in a 70-44 defeat.

The loss puts the Gauchos at 4-17 overall and 1-7 in conference play, while the first place Aggies improve to 16-6 overall, 8-1 Big West.

Guards Bri Anugwom and Tal Sahar were the Gauchos' leading scorers on the night, finishing with nine points apiece. Despite an off-shooting night, point guard Danae Miller put together a solid all-around effort with eight points, six boards, five assists and three steals.

After the first quarter ended 18-10 in favor of the Aggies, Davis would blow the game open before halftime. The Gauchos shot just 11.1 percent (2-18 FG) in the second quarter, compared to 70 percent (7-10 FG) for Davis, as the visitors closed strong to take a 37-18 lead into the break.

Neither team had a great night shooting the ball from outside, but while Santa Barbara would combine to shoot just 23.9 percent overall and 17.4 percent from three as a team, Davis would do most of its damage from inside. The Aggies finished just 3-for-14 (21.4%) from three-point range, but still managed to shoot 44.8 percent overall – 52.3 percent (23-44 FG) from inside-the-arc.

A three-point play from senior Morgan Bertsch midway through the third put her team up 50-22. That capped a 17-4 Aggie run which gave them their largest lead of the game. Bertsch went on to lead all scorers with 27 points on 10-of-18 from the field.

UCSB would show life in the second half, answering back with five straight points late in the third, including a long three by Sahar for the Gauchos' first triple of the day. UCSB had been 0-of-12 from range before that, but would make four of its next six attempts from deep.

Sahar and Coco Miller knocked down two more treys to open the fourth quarter. The Gauchos eventually cut it to 62-43 on a Danae Miller triple, capping a 21-12 UCSB run.

The Gauchos crashed the glass all night, especially on the offensive end. Their 43 rebounds were the most in their last five games. Natalia Bruening led the way with eight. Freshman Megan pulled down seven, while Danae Miller added six. The Gauchos had more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds for most of the night, eventually settling with a season-high 20 on offense compared to 23 on the defensive end.

Santa Barbara will be back in the Thunderdome this Saturday for a 2:00 p.m. game against CSUN.