Fullerton, Calif.— UC Santa Barbara failed to find any rhythm on the road as they loss 46-38 in Titan Gym on Thursday night. The Gauchos were forced into 18 turnovers and were held to just 16 first half points by the Titans' defense.
UCSB tried to mount a comeback with just 5:20 left in the game. After Sweets Underwood knocked down a jumper in the paint, her fellow senior Angelie Aguirre gave the Gauchos another possession off a quick steal. Kirtsen Tilleman helped her team capitalize on the opportunity as she made one of her two free throw attempts.
After the game's final media timeout, junior Melissa Zornig extended the Gauchos' scoring streak to five unanswered points with two successful free throws, making the score 39-35 at the 4:00 mark. But the Titans were able to secure the victory in the final three minutes of the game with eight successful shots from the charity stripe.
The Gauchos' winning streak as the road team ended at four with the loss. They also matched their lowest point total of the season. The team scored 38 points against nationally ranked Kentucky back on December 21st.
Nicole Nesbit led the floor with 12 points, going 4-4 from the free throw line. The junior brought the Gauchos within three at the 14:44 mark in the second half, but the Titans would not allow them to get any closer.
Fullerton was led by Alex Thomas and Chante Miles who both recorded a team-high of 11 points each. Overall, the Titans only shot 24.4% from the field, which is about seven percent below their season average, but it was their free throws that secured the game for them.
With 25 looks from the charity stripe, the Titans sunk 21 of them. Sophomore guard Chante Miles and junior forward led Fullerton at the line, both recording a 6-6 free throw shooting performance. UCSB went 7-8 with their free throws.
The Titans took control of the game from the opening tip as they stormed out on a 9-0 run. The Gauchos did not get their first basket of the game until the 11:59 mark when Angelei Aguirre hit her shot near the left elbow, making the score 9-2. Aguirre had an efficient 3-4 shooting night, ending with six points and four rebounds.
The teams traded baskets throughout the first half, but UCSB rode an 11-5 run to come within four points of the Titans with 3:02 left in the first. The run was capped off by Destini Mason who buried a three-pointer to make the score 20-16.
Fullerton would go on to score three unanswered points and enter the halftime break up 23-16, holding the Gauchos to their worst first-half performance of the season.
UCSB outrebounded Fullerton 34 to 32 as Sweets Underwood led the floor in that category with 11.
The loss ends a 40-game win streak the Gauchos had over Fullerton.
UCSB falls to 12-15 on the season and 8-7 in Big West play. The team will look to get back in the win column as they visit UC Riverside this Saturday in their final road game of the regular season. The game will be broadcast live online at UCSBgauchos.com and a live video stream is available on BigWest.tv.