Gauchos Downed by UNLV in Lady Rebel Round-Up Opener

Lauren Lee (Photo by Clark Clifford)
Lauren Lee (Photo by Clark Clifford)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Despite outshooting UNLV on the opening day of the Lady Rebel Round-Up Saturday, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team suffered a 69-51 loss at the hands of the tournament host Rebels.

The Gauchos were more efficient from the field (38.6% to 38.2%) and especially from beyond the arc (38.9% to 30.8%), but a 20-10 disadvantage in the turnover department and another slow start handed UCSB (0-5) its fifth straight loss. UNLV (1-3) meanwhile earned its first win of the season.

Guards Coco Miller and Tal Sahar led the Gauchos with nine points apiece, seeing Santa Barbara finish without a double-digit scorer for the second straight time on the road.

UCSB actually outscored UNLV in two of four quarters, winning the second and third by identical 13-12 scores. However, the 22-8 disparity following the first quarter continued a trend of slow starts for the Gauchos, who have began the second quarter with at least 10 points just once in five games.

Sophomore guard Bri Anugwom made her only shot of the game, a three-pointer to open the scoring for both teams with 7:26 remaining in the first. UCSB's 3-0 lead would be its only one of the day though, as the Lady Rebels reeled off 16 unanswered over the next five minutes. UNLV's advantage would remain in double-figures the majority of the way, growing as high as 24 late in the fourth.

UCSB's 38.9% mark on 7-of-18 from three was a season-best, but the Gaucho offense wasn't as successful in other areas. Despite hitting their second-most free throws of the year, the Gauchos (10-19 FT) shot a season-low 52.6% from the line. Their 20 turnovers were also a second-worst mark.

Five Gauchos knocked down at least one three on the day, another season-high. Vierra connected on a pair of triples (2-3 3FG) for the third straight game, hitting one for her fourth straight overall. She has been the team's best shooter over the last four, making an efficient 7-of-17 (41.2%).

Junior center Natalia Bruening put up seven points on just five shot attempts (2-5 FG), also grabbing six rebounds and a block. Tal Sahar came off the bench for the third straight game, finishing with nine points (2-7 3FG), four boards and three assists.

The Gauchos close out their two-game slate at Cox Pavilion with a 12:00 match-up against Dartmouth in the Lady Rebel Round-Up third-place game.