Gauchos Fall at Long Beach State 62-53

Natalia Bruening (Photo by Jeilo Gauna)
Natalia Bruening (Photo by Jeilo Gauna)

LONG BEACH, Calif. – In its second-to-last road game of the regular season on Saturday, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team fell behind late in a 62-53 defeat at Long Beach State.

The Gauchos fall to 6-20 overall and 3-10 in conference play, while the 49ers improve to 8-18 overall, 5-18 Big West.

For the second straight game, UCSB entered the fourth quarter in a tie ballgame, this time knotted at 41-41. Tal Sahar would score the Gauchos' first seven points in the quarter, as both teams traded baskets in a back-and-forth first five minutes.

After Sahar's layup with 6:10 remaining put her team up 48-47, the 49ers would answer back with a 13-2 run, taking control the rest of the way. UCSB was held without a field goal until a Danae Miller triple with 13 seconds to go.

Junior center Natalia Bruening put up a game-high 16 points to go along with eight rebounds. Sahar ended her day with 13 points and four boards, knocking down 3-of-8 from three-point range. Danae Miller tallied nine points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals in another all-around performance.

Santa Barbara got out to a slow start, trailing 16-6 through one period, but would bounce back quick with an impressive second quarter. The Gauchos reeled off 17 unanswered points, consisting of a handful of Bruening layups and capped off by three-pointers from guards Lauren Lee and Paris Jones.

UCSB would lead by as many as five points in the first half, and after giving up the lead would take its largest lead at 39-33 on a Sahar trey in the third. The Gauchos were once again dominated in the free throw battle though, making 2-of-4 attempts compared to 19-for-22 for the 49ers. UCSB was also outrebounded 44-32.

The Gauchos will return home for their next game, a midweek matchup against Cal Poly at 7:00 p.m. With just three games remaining, both teams are currently tied for the Big West's No. 8 seed with identical 3-10 marks in conference.