SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team suffered its second home loss in three days on Saturday afternoon at the Thunderdome, struggling to find its shot while falling to Hawaii 47-35.
The loss puts UCSB at 4-14 overall and 1-4 in the Big West, while Hawaii improves to 7-11 overall and 3-2 in conference.
Defense wasn't the problem for the Gauchos, who for the first time this season held a team under 50 points. Santa Barbara shot just 23.5 percent as a team, scoring eight points or fewer in three different quarters. Hawaii wasn't too much better, shooting just 34.8 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from the foul line.
Junior center Natalia Bruening finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, notching her team-leading fourth double-double of the season. Guards Danae Miller and Bri Anugwom tallied six points and seven boards each.
A slow start would see UCSB trail 7-0 off the opening tip. The Gauchos made just 1-of-7 from the field in the opening period, but did manage to stay in striking distance by getting to the free throw line, where they knocked down 11-of-14 in the first half.
The Rainbow Wahine would take their largest lead of the opening half early in the second quarter, when a three-pointer by guard Courtney Middap made it 17-7 in favor of the visitors. From there, UCSB's defense would shine, as the Gauchos held Hawaii to just two points on 1-of-11 shooting over the final nine and a half minutes of the second. UCSB ended the half on a 14-2 run, taking a 21-19 lead into the break.
UCSB's offense would hit a wall in the second half, being outscored 28-14 over the final 20 minutes. After making 11 free throws in the first half, they went just 0-for-1 from the line the rest of the way.
A Bruening jumper would bring UCSB within four at 35-31 midway through the fourth, but the next five and a half minutes would see the Rainbow Wahine close things on a 12-4 run.
The outside shooting struggles continued for UCSB, which failed to make a three on 16 attempts.
The Gauchos now head back on the road next weekend for trips to UC Irvine on Thursday and UC Riverside on Saturday.