Roper Ties Career-High, Gauchos Fall 66-44 at Seattle

Makala Roper (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Makala Roper (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SEATTLE – As Seattle controlled the game with its rebounding and three-point shooting, UCSB fell 66-44 to the Redhawks at the Connolly Center on Wednesday night.

The Gauchos' record falls to 0-12, while Seattle improves to 3-10 entering the new calendar year.

While Makala Roper had a terrific outing in her native Seattle by scoring a career-high 12 points, Clair Watkins netted 10 points and also led the Gauchos with eight rebounds.

Overall, UCSB struggled to find its rhythm on offense, as it shot 34 percent from the field compared to Seattle's 45.6 shooting clip.

Pacing the Redhawks in the scoring category was Taelor Ross who finished with 19 points off a 9-12 shooting night. The 6-2 center did most of her damage in the second half in scoring 15 points (7-8). Opening up opportunities for her in the low post was her team's sharp outside shooting, particularly from Crystal Allen and Kaylee Best who dropped in 13 and 11 points, respectively. Allen shot a perfect 3-3 from downtown, while Best went 3-5 as the Redhawks hit 57.1 percent of their three-point looks as a team.

In the first half, UCSB was outrebounded 22-15, but went on to close that gap in the final 20 minutes and finished just five boards shy of Seattle at 37-32.

The Gauchos entered the second half down by ten points and saw the Redhawks improve on that lead with seven unanswered points. UCSB needed a response and it got one from their freshman sharp shooter Makala Roper. The guard scored seven straight points for UCSB in leading her team to a 7-2 run. After hitting her three jumpers – including a triple – she put the Gauchos within 12 points at 37-25.

Kendra Morrison complimented Roper's scoring with a layup to cut Seattle's led to 10 points with 14:37 to play, but the Redhawks had a swift response in scoring seven unanswered points.

As the Gauchos faced a 55-31 Seattle lead with 7:35 left in the game, Roper dropped her second three-pointer of the night and went on to score two possessions later with a layup after stealing the ball in the backcourt. While her last score made it a 17-point game, Seattle never let go of its double-digit lead and closed out the game on a 9-6 run.

UCSB will be back in action on January 6th when it visits Bakersfield at 7 p.m. The game will conclude the team's three-game road swing and will be featured locally on AM 1290 or online at UCSBgauchos.com.