UCSB Stuns CSUN 61-60 in Wild Comeback Finish

Coco Miller (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Coco Miller (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team pulled off a remarkable comeback win Saturday afternoon at the Thunderdome, scoring the final seven points over the last 55 seconds to defeat CSUN 61-60.

Santa Barbara's second conference win, ending a run of five straight losses and putting them at 5-17 overall and 2-7 during Big West play. CSUN falls to 11-12 overall, 5-3 conference.

"We were just tougher today," said head coach Bonnie Henrickson. "To be able to respond from the Davis game, and to come back the way we did, I'm proud of them. No regrets today."

While the Gauchos have struggled with their three-point shooting at times this season, it would play a huge part in their late comeback against the Matadors. Trailing 60-54 with under a minute left, the Gauchos would score six points in five seconds to tie the game.

After swishing home a clutch three-pointer from the left wing, guard Coco Miller stole the ensuing inbounds pass. She then found her backcourt mate Danae Miller, who instantly rose up from almost the exact same spot to tie the game.

On CSUN's next possession, Coco Miller would stifle a driving attempt by Matador guard Claudia Ramos, taking possession back with 34 seconds left. UCSB would move the ball around until a hard drive to the left by guard Bri Anugwom, who was fouled with eight ticks remaining. Anugwom split the free throws, giving UCSB the 61-60 lead.

On the final possession, the Matadors got the ball in deep to center Channon Fluker with several seconds left. She would get up three shot attempts, the second one being blocked by Megan Ormiston but falling right back to her. Her final follow-up attempt would also roll off the rim, and after a mad scramble at the basket, the ball would get tipped away as the clock hit zero.

Coco Miller led the way with 17 points and seven assists and tied a career-high with six steals. going 3-of-9 from range. Center Natalia Bruening went for 15 points (6-11 FG) and Anugwom just missed out on a double-double with 13 points, nine boards and a pair of steals.

UCSB put together one of its most impressive showings of the season right from the start. An Anugwom jumper midway through the second put the home side up 25-17, but CSUN would close the first half strong to take a 27-26 lead into halftime.

Fluker was her usual dominant self, posting 23 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks. Guard Jordyn Jackson added 15 points, knocking down all three of her three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Her last trey of the day is what put CSUN up 60-54 with 1:17 left in the game.

The Gauchos were outrebounded in a win for the first time this season, 39 to 38. They shot 36.4 percent on threes, making 8-for-22, just two shy of their season-high.

Santa Barbara will be on the road next week for a Wednesday trip to Hawaii before returning home to face UC Irvine on Saturday, Feb. 16.