Gauchos Unable to Topple BYU

PROVO, Utah – UC Santa Barbara was unable to close out its three-game road swing with a third victory on Tuesday afternoon as the Gauchos fell to Brigham Young, 67-39, at the Marriot Center.

With the loss, UCSB falls to 4-6 on the season and evens to 2-2 in road games. The Cougars improve to 7-4 overall and remain perfect at home with a 4-0 record after handing UCSB its largest margin of loss this season.

After consecutive convincing victories at Loyola Marymount and Washington, finals week and five days on the road, it looked as though the Gauchos finally ran out of gas on Tuesday.

The game started out as a tight battle, and with 12:12 on the clock, the teams were tied at 12 apiece as they took a timeout. BYU came out of the break and went on an 11-0 run to take the lead, which they never relinquished. Morgan Bailey's six points off the bench helped fuel the Cougars' climb.

UCSB went scoreless through nearly five minutes as the Cougars continued to build their advantage to as many as 18 points – bolstered by nine points from Jennifer Hamson in the last six minutes of the period – with 1:07 to go in the half. Sweets Underwood hit a jumper with 10 seconds to go, but a last-second jumper by Stephanie Seaborn padded the Cougars' lead at 38-20 heading into the locker rooms.

BYU shot 55.2% (16-for-29) from the field in the first half and out-rebounded the Gauchos, 19-15. UCSB, which went 10-for-30 (33.3%) from the field, did not make a single attempt from the charity stripe or beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes.

Any chance of a second-half comeback seemed to be quickly extinguished as BYU opened the second half with an 18-9 run, which gave the Cougars their biggest lead of the game at 56-29 with 12:16 to go. The Gauchos were unable to come any closer than 23 points in the half as BYU sailed to the victory.

The Gauchos ended the game shooting just 32.2% (19-for-59) and got to the free-throw line just three times and sunk just one from the charity stripe. The Cougars shot 47.3% from the field (26-for-55) and 46.7% (7-for-15) from the three-point range. They sunk 8-of-12 (66.7%) from the charity stripe.

Underwood and Angelei Aguirre led the Gauchos with eight points apiece. Underwood had a team-leading nine boards while Kirsten Tilleman had seven to go with five points. Jackie Luna-Castro tied her season-high with four points off the bench and Destini Mason tied her career-high with a team-leading four assists.

BYU had four players hit double-digit points, including team-leader Hamson, who finished with 16 points and nine boards. Bailey had 15 points and six rebounds, while Kim Beeston posted 10 points, as did Seaborn. Haley Steed led the Cougars with 11 assists while collecting seven rebounds.

"We have to be more consistent," head coach Carlene Mitchell said. "We put two games back-to-back and you would think that we won the national championship. Our kids have got to understand that when you are on someone's home court, that is a good team – they are big, strong, physical – you have to match that or it is going to look like it did tonight.

"We'll get back and we'll get to work," Mitchell continued. Hopefully our kids, that want to play with a lot of pride and that are competitors, will be a little embarrassed by the showing we had tonight." 

UCSB will return home this Friday, Dec. 21 to host No. 6/7 Kentucky at 3 p.m. in the Thunderdome. Season tickets and single game tickets for women's basketball are available at the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here

UCSB Athletics, in partnership with the Santa Barbara News-Press, will host a Gauchos Give Youth Night during the Dec. 21 home game against Kentucky. All kids high school age and younger will receive free admission to the game. Tickets can be picked up at the game at the Thunderdome Ticket Booth.