Titans Pull Away Late to Defeat UCSB 74-62

Lauren Lee (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Lauren Lee (Photo by Tony Mastres)

FULLERTON, Calif. – Looking for its second straight win Thursday night, a wide disparity from the free throw line would see the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team fall at Cal State Fullerton 74-62.

The Gauchos are now 6-19 overall and 3-9 in Big West play. The Titans ended a six-game skid to improve to 12-12 overall, 4-7 conference.

The difference in the game came from the free throw line, especially in the second half. After heading into halftime without a single free throw attempt, Fullerton would go 19-for-25 in the second half, compared to 1-of-3 for the Gauchos.

"We weren't aggressive. They were 10 times more aggressive than we were," head coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "They had opportunities to penetrate and drive and we didn't."

After a Natalia Bruening layup gave UCSB its largest lead of the day, 46-35, with 4:31 to go in the third, the Titans would get themselves back in the game with an 8-1 run, scoring all eight points from the line.

The two teams entered the fourth quarter all knotted up at 49-49, and UCSB would retake the lead, 56-53, on a Kiana Vierra triple with 5:03 remaining. Fullerton would take control from there, going on an 11-0 run and keeping the Gauchos at bay by forcing them to take difficult shots down the stretch.

Guards Coco Miller and Bri Anugwom led the way with 15 points apiece. Anugwom just missed out on a double-double with nine rebounds. Natalia Bruening and Tal Sahar finished with nine and eight points, respectively.

The Titans never really cooled off, shooting over 54 percent in three different quarters before settling at 53.2 percent overall and 45.5 percent from three-point range. Raina Perez paced the home side with 18 points on 7-of-11 from the field.

The Gauchos were relatively clean with the ball, committing just eight turnovers to Fullerton's 11. They managed to get off 21 more shot attempts than Fullerton, but shot just 38.2 percent as a team and 29.2 percent from deep.

Santa Barbara will head to Long Beach on Saturday for a 4:00 p.m. game against the 49ers.