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Basketball: UCSB Can’t Overcome Slow Start, Falls to Arizona

Wildcats eke out 54-47 win after Gauchos score just 10 first-half points.

TUCSON — UCSB’s women’s basketball team slogged through a tough first half Sunday and, despite a second-half rally, it resulted in a tough loss to Arizona, 54-47.

UCSB scored just 10 points in the first half, shooting a meager five for 30 from the field (16.7 percent). Yet as bad as the Gauchos were offensively, they couldn’t have been much better defensively as they held Arizona to 23 points and limited the Wildcats’ post players despite a significant size advantage.

UCSB falls to 1-2 this season, the first time they’ve had such a mark since 2006. Arizona improves to 3-1.

Rallying for 37 second-half points, the Gauchos avoided the ignominious tag of having one of the program’s lowest-scoring games ever. UCSB suffered through one of its worst shooting performances in recent memory but was still able to make a game of it.

Lauren Pedersen led the Gauchos with 15 points — the third-straight game she has led the team in scoring — while Ashlee Brown came off the bench to score 10 points. Jenna Green had a team-high eight rebounds to go with her eight points while Pedersen pulled down seven. Meagan Williams came off the bench to pull down six and also had three assists.

The Gauchos were 0 for 9 from 3-point range in the first half, but outrebounded Arizona 24-21, an accomplishment in itself since the Wildcats have been completely dominant on the boards through their first three games.

UCSB cut the deficit to single digits on Emilie Johnson’s three-pointer with 6:10 left, one of only three the team made in the game. The Gauchos were just 3 of 21 from the three-point line. Johnson had a layup following her trey to make it 44-37, but couldn’t quite get over the hump.

Ify Ibekwe led Arizona with 15 points and 19 rebounds.

On the bright side, despite shooting just 28.3 percent from the field, UCSB outrebounded Arizona, 43-38, and was 10 for 10 from the free-throw line while holding the Wildcats to 37 percent shooting from the floor.

Pedersen, the team’s leading scorer through the first two games, was 0 for 7 from the floor in the first half before she came out with a sore knee. She was bowled over by Arizona’s Amina Njonkou and clutched her knee but returned and played all 20 minutes of the second half.

Click here for the official box score.

The Gauchos host Nevada at the Thunderdome at 7 p.m. Dec. 4. Click here for tickets, visit the Athletics Ticket Office in the ICA Building or call 805.893.8272.

Matt Hurst is UCSB’s assistant athletics communications director.

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