LONG BEACH, Calif. – After a close battle in the first half, Long Beach State opened the second with a 12-2 run, keeping UC Santa Barbara behind until the final buzzer. UCSB fell 72-53 for its third straight loss, including its second in Big West play.
The Gauchos are now 5-10 on the season and are 0-2 in conference. The 49ers continue to win at home with a now 8-3 mark in the Walter Pyramid, while the team improves to 10-7 overall and 2-1 in the Big West.
Destini Mason finished just shy of a double-double as she led the Gauchos with 17 points and nine rebounds. It is the second consecutive game Mason has led the team in scoring as she put up 24 at Cal Poly last Saturday.
Santa Barbara beat out Long Beach State with 38 rebounds compared to the 49ers' 37. Off their 11 offensive boards, the Gauchos scored 13 points as opposed to LBSU's nine in the same category.
Clair Watkins pulled down six rebounds to follow Mason's nine.
While the 49ers shot often from long range- going 5-17- they were able to pull away in the second half thanks to their penetrating guards. LBSU scored 34 points in the paint and made 27 tries from the free throw line, making 21 of them.
UCSB did shoot 87.5 percent from the free throw line, but with just eight total looks, LBSU still controlled that aspect of the game.
The 49ers' had a 14-2 run over UCSB as Lauren Spargo closed the first half with a layup to get the offensive stretch started. She finished with seven of her team's 14 points during the run, while she finished with a game-high 19 points.
The Gauchos got their first second-half basket when Mason knocked down a short jumper in the paint with 17:03 remaining.
However, by the 14:38 mark, the Gauchos found themselves down 45-29.
Fighting to keep her team in contention, Mason scored five unanswered points to put her team within 11 with 12:11 remaining.
The senior first knocked down a three after finding some room from the right wing. Vigilant in her transition defense, Mason picked off a pass from Hallie Meneses on the left sideline and finished her play with a baseline jumper, making the score 49-38.
Long Beach State, though, still had the momentum and was able to finish with a double-digit win margin thanks to their play in the paint.
UCSB kept the first half close, as the lead changed eight times before halftime. The Gauchos picked up their first lead of the game when Onome Jemerigbe laid the ball up with 15:21 left in the half to make the score 10-9.
The freshman finished with eight points and a pair of assists.
The Gauchos took their largest lead of the game when Jasmine Ware connected on a baseline jumper to move the score to 16-13.
UCSB will return to game action on Saturday when they host Cal State Northridge in their first home game of the conference season. Tickets are available at the Ticketing Office, on the phone at 805.893.UCSB (8272), and online here.