HONOLULU, Hawaii – UCSB (11-19, 8-8) ended the regular season with a 59-45 loss at Hawai'i (18-10, 11-4), as the Gauchos struggled shooting the ball against the Rainbow Wahine's staunch defense.
The Gauchos shot 25 percent from the field, while the Rainbow Wahine finished with a 42.5 percent clip. Coco Miller led the Gauchos with 13 points and got UCSB off to a strong start by scoring the team's first six points. The freshman also finished with four rebounds and two steals through her game high 38 minutes of play.
Behind her was Onome Jemerigbe with eight points, as she did most of her work at the free throw line where she went 6-6. Not to be overlooked, Chaya Durr added seven points and a team high eight rebounds, including two on the offensive side. Overall, the Gauchos pulled down 32 rebounds, just five behind a Hawai'i team that typically outrebounds its opponents by 10 boards.
Foul trouble hurt the Gauchos as well as they gave picked up a combined 23 personal fouls, giving Hawai'i 23 attempts at the foul line. UCSB was able help limit the effect free throws had on the game, though, as they went 18-22 from the charity stripe as a team.
UCSB initially took the a 6-4 lead in the game through the opening 4:40 thanks in part to Miller's first three field goals. The freshman netted the game's first two baskets with a pair of lay ups and later picked up the 6-4 lead after finishing a fast break play started by a steal from Jemerigbe.
From there, the Rainbow Wahine took their first lead of the game and stayed ahead until Jasmine Ware scored a lay up with 49 seconds left in the first quarter, tying the score at 13-13.
In the second quarter, the Gauchos would tie the score three times, but would never take the lead. Durr knotted the score at 19-19 following to makes from the foul line, but Hawai'i closed out the half on a 7-2 run to claim a 26-21 lead at the break.
UCSB took off on a hot start in the third quarter with a 6-0 run to reclaim their lead at 27-26. Makala Roper was the first Gaucho to score, while Durr and Je Zhé Newton wrapped up the run with a pair of lay ups. However, Destiny King hit a pair of free throws to spark a 9-2 run and grab the Rainbow Wahine the lead for the rest of the game.
Later in the fourth quarter, the Gauchos found themselves down by 17 points, but were able to cut the deficit down to nine points with eight unanswered points. Jemerigbe made six of them with four coming at the foul line and one off a lay up, while Miller also added two free throws. The run ended at the 2:59 mark with the score in Hawai'i's favor at 52-43. That would be the closest UCSB would get to the Rainbow Wahine for the rest of the game, as UH scored seven straight points in response to the 8-0 run.
The Gauchos will be back in action in the first round of the Big West Tournament next Tuesday at the Bren Events Center on the campus of UC Irvine. UCSB will either be the fifth or the sixth seed in the tournament depending on the result of the Cal Poly at Hawai'i game on Saturday. If the Mustangs were to win, the Gauchos would be the sixth seed and would play CSUN at 8:30 p.m. If the Rainbow Wahine were to win, then UCSB will be the fifth seed and will play either Cal State Fullerton or UC Irvine at 6 p.m.