In a game that featured 14 lead changes, nine of them coming in the final quarter, UCSB again found themselves on the short side of a road result in a 57-55 loss to the Loyola Marymount Lions Friday night at Gersten Pavilion.
The Gauchos were out-rebounded by a 16-3 margin in the fourth, giving up nine boards on the offensive glass, and were out-scored in the paint by a 32-24 margin. UCSB did not earn a trip to the free throw line in the game.
"Clearly we've got issues that need to get cleaned up," said head coach Bonnie Henrickson. "It's been a pattern for us, and we've got to get it right."
Sarah Porter equalled her career scoring-high for the second straight game with 15 points, knocking down three of seven from the land of plenty. Onome Jemerigbe came off the bench to score 15 as well, tying for the team lead with two steals.
Loyola forwards Jackie Johnson and Cheyanne Wallace gave the Gauchos fits in the key. Johnson notched her fifth double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while also leading the Lions with five blocks and four steals. Wallace finished with 12 points and eight boards, and knocked down the decisive free throws in the final minutes.
"We don't own it. How do you hold anyone accountable if you don't take care of your own business?" Henrickson said.
UCSB started slow again, trailing 9-2 through the first five minutes of play. Triples from Aliceah Hernandez, Coco Miller, and Porter helped UCSB keep the deficit from ever hitting double digits, closing out the quarter behind 19-13. Three of the Gauchos five field goals in the first came from beyond the arc, and nine of their 23 buckets for the game went for three.
In the second stanza UCSB turned six Lions turnovers in to ten points to trim the gap, kick-started by another Porter triple. The Gauchos scored 10 of the first 13 in the quarter, with Jemerigbe's jumper putting the visitors ahead for the first time with 4:46 before half. The teams traded points before Jemerigbe knocked down a long two with the shot clock expiring to make it 31-30 LMU at the break.
Porter's third three-ball gave UCSB a 35-33 lead 1:29 in to the second half, but it didn't last long and the hosts reasummed and retained the advantage for the remainder of the period. The Gauchos held Loyola off the scoreboard for the final 3:58 to cut a seven-point deficit to 44-41 at the horn on a pair of drives for scores by Jemerigbe and Drea Toler.
The teeter-totter fourth saw neither team build an edge greater than three, keeping the action on a knife's edge. Though UCSB was able to turn five LMU turnovers in to seven points, the Lions dominated down low with eight points in the paint and eight on second chance opportunities. After missing nine of their ten free throws through 30 minutes, Loyola made five of eight down the stretch, with their final four decisive points coming on the charity stripe.
"Now we're 73-14 (behind in attempts) in our last three games at the free throw line, I'm not sure who can say much here," Henrickson said.
UCSB will have nine days to think about it and work while balancing finals to prepare for their next game, Sunday, December 11 at San Diego State at 2 PM. The game is part of the Gaucho Basketball Huddle, with the men's team visiting University of San Diego later that evening at 5 PM.
"Sometimes you get beat, sometimes you beat yourself. We've got to look at our own worst enemy in the mirror. If we cleaned some things up we'd be fine," said Henrickson.