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Basketball: Gauchos Turn Over Game to USC, 62-53

UCSB commits 18 second-half turnovers in third-straight loss.

LOS ANGELES — Hounded by a full-court press for much of the second half, the UCSB women’s basketball team committed nearly a turnover a minute in the final 20 minutes of a 62-53 loss to USC on Sunday at the Galen Center.

UCSB led by as many as nine points several times through the first half but saw its lead evaporate during a 15-2 run midway through the second half as the Gauchos fell to 1-3 for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

Jenna Green led the Gauchos with 15 points as the sixth-year senior carried the team for parts of the second half while Lauren Pedersen and Kat Suderman, a senior from Mission Prep in San Luis Obispo, were in foul trouble throughout the game. Pedersen fouled out with 5:49 remaining and the Gauchos trailing 49-42.

The Trojans (3-1) started using a full-court press while Pedersen was on the bench with foul trouble early in the second half and forced the Gauchos into 18 second-half turnovers. UCSB had 24 turnovers in the game, with freshman Emilie Johnson committing seven of them, mainly because of USC’s defense. Johnson did, however, have eight rebounds, tied for the team lead.

Jordan Franey finished with nine points and eight rebounds but had five turnovers. Ashlee Brown and Meagan Williams each had seven points with Williams pulling down six rebounds.

The Gauchos jumped out to a 19-10 lead with 11:28 remaining in the first half on Brown’s jumper only to see USC rally and cut the lead to 19-18 on Nadia Parker’s bucket. UCSB, though, fought back to a 25-18 advantage on Franey’s jumper and ended up leading 27-21 at the half.

UCSB again pushed the lead to nine points, 31-22, on Whitney Warren’s pair of free throws, only to see USC begin employing the pressure defense and force the Gauchos into numerous mistakes. Warren finished with six points and two rebounds.

USC went 19 of 25 from the free-throw line as UCSB was whistled for 24 fouls, seven more than the Trojans. UCSB, which entered the game shooting 80.4 percent from the charity stripe, finished the game 11 for 14 from the line.

The Gauchos shot 38.5 percent from the field compared to 34.5 percent for USC, but they did hold the Trojans to just 3 of 15 shooting from beyond the three-point line after USC came in to the game 31.1 percent from downtown.

The Gauchos host Nevada at the Thunderdome at 7 p.m. Thursday. 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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