LONG BEACH, Calif. – In a physical match up in the Walter Pyramid, UCSB (9-16, 6-5) put together a fourth quarter comeback effort, but fell short at Long Beach State (18-6, 7-3) in the 60-52 final score.
Despite beating the 49ers's press defense consistently through the game, the Gaucho offense struggled with a 28.8 shooting percentage. Makala Roper was the game's leading scorer with 16 points, as she went 4-14 overall and 4-8 from downtown. Behind her was Taylor Farris who logged in 36 minutes and finished with eight points and a team-high nine rebounds.
With Onome Jemerigbe facing foul trouble through most of the game, Dioseline Lopez played 26 minutes off the bench and finished with seven points, two assists, and two steals. Altogether, UCSB combined for 12 steals with Coco Miller and Jasmine Ware leading the game with three apiece.
In facing a team that forced its opponents to 21 turnovers per game, it was UCSB who came out ahead of the turnover battle, committing 18 compared to Long Beach State's 21. The 49ers, however, netted 26 points off those turnovers, while the Gauchos came up with 18 in the category.
After falling behind 19-11 by the end of the first quarter, the Gauchos clawed their way to a five-point deficit thanks to their work on defense. In the second quarter alone, UCSB forced LBSU into seven turnovers and held them to just four field goals. In turn, the Gauchos drained five baskets and also went 4-4 from the free throw line.
The Gauchos carried that momentum into the third quarter and put themselves within two points at the 6:03 mark thanks to an 8-5 run. Jemerigbe started the stretch with a pair of free throws, while Roper made her second triple of the game. Finishing off the run was Farris who took scored on a diving play to the hoop.
But while the 49ers' lead bent, it never broke. Long Beach State responded with seven unanswered points to regain a nine-point edge, as Madison Montgomery poured in five of those points herself.
Later in the fourth quarter, the Gauchos trailed 48-41 with 6:35 to go, but Roper led the team back into contention with five straight points. First, she hit a three-pointer from the left corner and later earned a trip to the foul line after a 49er turnover. Chaya Durr then stretched the run to seven straight points with a baseline jumper, tying the score at 48-48 with 4:34 left in the game.
With both teams playing in the bonus, Long Beach State never gave the lead back to the Gauchos, as they scored eight of their final 12 points at the free throw line.
The Gauchos will have their rematch with Long Beach State next Saturday in the Thunderdome at 2 p.m. UCSB will open next week's play by hosting Cal State Northridge on Thursday with a 7 p.m. tip-off time. Tickets for both games are now available at the Ticketing Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building, over the phone at 805.893.UCSB (8272), and online.