Gauchos Downed by USC in Second Road Game of 2018

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

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Facing USC on Thursday night in Los Angeles, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team fell by a final score of 82-39.

The Gauchos (0-3) hung with the Trojans (3-0) in the early-going, trailing 15-9 through one quarter. However, USC would pull away in the middle periods, outscoring Santa Barbara 49-16 in the second and third.

Sophomore guard Bri Anugwom paced the Gauchos on offense for the second time through three games, leading or tying for team-high honors in points (8), field goals made and attempted (3-10 FG), rebounds (5) and assists (2).

UCSB held a brief lead midway through the opening period, as Anugwom put in a layup following a Coco Miller triple to give her team an early 5-4 advantage. USC answered with an 8-2 run.

Earning the first start of her career, freshman guard Lauren Lee would cut the Trojan lead to 12-9 with a minute left on a pair of free throws. The Trojans would get hot from there, rattling off 19 unanswered points several minutes into the second quarter.

Lee finished with four rebounds to go along with her four points. She has had at least four boards in each of her first three games. Redshirt senior guard Paris Jones also ended her day with four points and four boards, setting an early season-high in the rebound department.

Santa Barbara's second-leading scorer was Coco Miller, who put in seven points to go along with three rebounds. The redshirt junior guard also knocked down both of her free throw attempts and led her team with a pair of steals.

With a 1-of-3 mark from three-point range, the San Clemente, Calif. native remains the only Gaucho to hit a triple in every game so far this season. She has had at least one three in five straight outings dating back to the 2016-17 season.

For the second straight game, UCSB's bench provided some bright spots in the form of freshmen Kiana Vierra and Megan Ormiston. Vierra went 2-of-3 from range for her six points, while Ormiston converted a layup on her only shot attempt of the night. The pair has now shot a combined 83.3 percent (5-6 FG) over the last two games.

After back-to-back stellar performances to open the season, junior center Natalia Bruening was shut out by a resilient Trojan defense, unable to connect on her three shot attempts over 18 minutes played.

Following the one-game road stint, the Gauchos will have several days to prepare to face another undefeated Los Angeles-based team as they return home next Monday to face Loyola Marymount in a 7:00 p.m. tip-off.