Ladyjacks Top Gauchos 67-56 in Nugget Classic Opener

Celeste Salazar (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Celeste Salazar (Photo by Tony Mastres)

RENO, Nev. – The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team battled with Stephen F. Austin in the second game of the 2019 Nugget Classic, but the Ladyjacks pulled away in the third and fourth quarters to deal the Gauchos their fourth defeat of the season.

The Gauchos (3-4) battled to a 17-15 lead after the first quarter, with Ila Lane's five points and four rebounds leading the team's 7-of-15 effort from the field.

A three-point contest broke out in the second period, as both teams went back and forth from beyond the arc. Junior point guard Danae Miller, sophomore guard Lauren Lee, redshirt senior guard Coco Miller, and redshirt junior guard Aliceah Hernandez combined for five triples, but their efforts were overshadowed by guard Marissa Banfield's three treys of SFA's six in the quarter that helped the Southland Conference outfit secure a 36-34 lead at the half.

The Gauchos kept it close in the third quarter, bringing themselves back to within two points after falling behind by five with Hernandez's three-pointer with 4:20 left in the third quarter.

However, Stephen F. Austin would end the period on a 6-3 run to lead 47-42 after three.

The Ladyjacks began to take control of the game in the fourth quarter. Back-to-back makes from Aiyana Johnson gave SFA a nine-point lead, its largest of the night, with 7:44 left in regulation.

Santa Barbara chipped into the lead several times but never got to within less than six, and a Banfield triple gave SFA a ten-point lead with just over two minutes left, capping off her 16-point night and putting the Ladyjacks in a comfortable position to win.

Danae Miller finished with 20 points, three rebounds, and two assists, on 8-of-15 shooting.

Freshman center Ila Lane fell just short of what would have been her fifth-straight double-double, scoring 11 points and earning nine rebounds.

"We've got to get to where we can see two things and we can defend better. We've got to grow to where we can have somebody in front of us," said head coach Bonnie Henrickson after the game.

Next up for the Gauchos will be Chicago State on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. in the Nugget Classic's third-place game. The game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network and on with Doug Greenwald on play-by-play.

Season tickets for the 2019-20 season are still available. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here, visiting the ticket office, or by calling (805) 893-UCSB.

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