Nov. 28, 2005
OGDEN, Utah - Lack of depth and poor outside shooting were the latest issues preventing the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team from winning its first game of 2005-06 as the Gauchos fell 72-62 to Weber State in the Dee Events Center on Monday night.
UCSB dropped to 0-5 on the young season and has now lost six straight contests dating back to last year, its longest losing skid since 1992-93. The Wildcats, meanwhile, evened their record at 2-2.
Santa Barbara was able to build a 32-28 halftime advantage by feeding the ball into the low-post. Trailing 14-13 with under 11 minutes remaining in the opening period, sophomore center Jenna Green ignited a 6-0 run for the visitors with back-to-back layups. The Gauchos' lead grew to 24-16 when senior forward Autumn Nichols was fouled while nailing an off-balance jumper at the 6:39 mark and then completed the three-point play. However WSU tallied the next eight points to force the sixth tie of the half, but five more points by Nichols down the stretch helped give UCSB its first lead at intermission in any game this year.
Solid pressure defense helped Santa Barbara widen its gap to five on two occasions early in the second period, including at the 17:56 mark when senior guard Karena Bonds scored a layup after making a steal. However things began to unravel for the 10-time defending Big West Conference champions after Green picked up her fourth personal foul with 12:03 to play. At that point, Weber State embarked on a 12-4 run, pulling ahead 60-50 at the 6:06 mark that included three-pointers by Chelsey Warburton and Sara Tuomi.
Meanwhile Green was unable to return due to breathing difficulties, and the home team's lead mushroomed to 65-51 with 3:13 mark as Warburton canned the last of her six trifectas on the evening. Despite being exhausted, the seven-player Gaucho rotation forced some turnovers in the waning minutes and trimmed their deficit to single-digits at the final buzzer.
Nichols enjoyed her second consecutive solid offensive effort, leading UCSB with 17 points on seven-of-eight shooting and a pair of free-throws. Green finished with 14 points in only 19 minutes of action, while Bonds posted her first career double-double with a dozen points and a career-high 10 rebounds. The Morro Bay, Calif., native scored all but two of her points after halftime, and also added four second-half steals. However the Gauchos hindered themselves offensively by connecting on just three-of-23 three-point attempts.
Warburton led all players with 22 points off the bench, while Tuomi contributed 16 to the winning effort. Laura Porter ran the WSU offense and dished off 11 assists. The Wildcats won the battle of the boards 39-33, but committed twice as many turnovers as UCSB, 18 to nine.
The Gauchos will now have a much-needed five-day break from competition before hosting Saint Mary's in the Thunderdome on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 2:00 p.m.