Roper's 26-Point Night Leads UCSB to 66-59 Win Over UC Davis

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

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Makala Roper's 26 points lifted UCSB (7-12, 4-1) over UC Davis (10-7, 3-1) 66-59 on Thursday night, as the Gauchos handed the Aggies their first loss of the conference season.

Roper's point total was her highest in conference play this season, and second-best overall this year. She made six of UCSB's 10 three-point shots, as the Gauchos edged UC Davis in that category in limiting the Aggies to just four.

Jasmine Ware came off the bench to score 15 points and also added five rebounds in her 26 minutes of play. Coco Miller was second on the team with a pair of three pointers made, as the freshman ended the game with seven points. 

UCSB controlled the ball well against the Aggies, as the team only turned the ball over 13 times while recording 16 assists. Onome Jemerigbe led in the assist column with a season-high 10. The junior is now averaging 6.4 assists per conference game.

Both teams struggled shooting the ball in the first half, as neither shot better than 28 percent from the field including a 24.2 percent clip from the Gauchos. But UCSB's offense came to life midway through the third quarter, sparking a 23-8 run.

Dioseline Lopez delivered the spark of the bench that the Gauchos needed with a three-pointer at the 5:10 mark, taking back the lead at 30-28. She was followed by Ware with a layup, while Roper knocked down the next of what would be four more triples from the Gauchos in the run. During that stretch, UCSB was lights out and went 9-11 from the field including 5-6 from downtown.

With each shot falling through, the energy of the crowd grew until it hit its peak with Roper and Ware hitting back-to-back threes to end the third quarter. For good measure, Roper poured in one more three-pointer to end the run, as the Gauchos took a 50-36 leading heading into the final 9:31 of the game.

In the fourth quarter, UCSB maintained its lead and had to seal the win at the foul line. Jemerigbe took the lion's share of free throws and answered the call for Santa Barbara by going 7-10 in her attempts. 

From the very start, Roper wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard. She opened UCSB's scoring effort with a three-pointer and made a layup on the next Gaucho possession. With her second quarter opening layup, Roper scored seven of the first nine points for UCSB and was the only Gaucho to have made a field goal to that point.

Miller soon got in on the action with a three point shot from the left wing, and Taylor Farris poured in two points of her own with a 12-foter to put UCSB ahead 15-12 with 7:46 left in the second quarter. In total, the Gauchos opened the second period on an 8-2 run before Roper hit another three before the halftime break.

The Gauchos will continue this weekend's play on the road with a visit to UC Riverside on Saturday. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and will feature a video stream, an audio broadcast, as well as live stats.