MANHATTAN, Kan. – UC Santa Barbara pushed hard in the second half, but foul trouble prevented a comeback against Kansas State who held on to win 73-64.
"I feel like this is a game we could have won," UCSB Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. "We had some missed plays late in the game and eventually our early foul trouble played a factor."
Santa Barbara falls to 4-5 on the season, while Kansas State moves to 5-3.
Nicole Nesbit, who finished with 15 points, looked to overcome a 13-point halftime deficit as she fired off back-to-back jumpers to give UCSB a 4-0 run to start the second.
The senior is now just three points away from joining the 1,000-point club.
That hot start helped move the Gauchos within five points at the 13:42 mark. However, Kansas State reclaimed a double-digit lead at 54-44 nearly four minutes later.
Nesbit again brought the Gauchos back into contention at the 8:15 mark when she darted her way through the paint and finished with a tough lay up.
On the Wildcats' following possession, Nesbit picked up a defensive rebound and brought it the other way her self. She used a drive to get to the basket, but this time she could not finish.
Wright, though, was there for the offensive rebound and drew the foul after putting the ball in on the second effort.
The freshman completed the three-point play after a timeout and moved UCSB closer to K-State's lead at 54-49. Wright finished with seven points, going 3-3 from the field, and four rebounds.
Jemerigbe picked up four fouls in the first half alone, but she was able to help the Gauchos on offense in the second with key drives to the basket.
With 3:49 remaining, UCSB trailed by six points until Jemerigbe slashed her way through the right side of the key and picked up the foul after finishing the physical lay up.
The freshman would miss the ensuing free throw, but she got back to the line on the next UCSB possession and again drew a hard foul on her drive. Jemerigbe made both shots from the free throw line to put the Gauchos just two points shy of the Wildcats at 61-59.
She finished with a career-high 11 points.
Mason kept it a one-possession game with a floater she hit in the paint, making it 64-61 with 2:03 left. In the final 90 seconds, though, Kansas State held on to the win as they made seven of their final eight free throws.
UCSB will look to jump back into the win column on Dec. 19 when they host Utah State in the Thunderdome. Tickets are available at the Ticketing Office, over the phone at 805.893.UCSB (8272), or online here.