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Saturday, March 23 , 2019, 6:41 pm | Mostly Cloudy 64º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

Basketball: Red-Hot Pepperdine Buries Gauchos

UCSB cracks under full-court press in 76-57 road loss.

Using a full-court pressing defense and a lights-out shooting performance, Pepperdine handed the UCSB women’s basketball team a 76-57 loss Sunday in Malibu.

The Waves improved to 5-4 with the victory while the Gauchos fell to 3-4, with all four defeats coming away from the Thunderdome. UCSB’s next game is at home, against Harvard at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

For the second time this season UCSB had trouble with a full-court press. The Waves employed one from the outset, forcing 11 first-half turnovers — then 12 more in the second half — and causing some havoc in the Gauchos’ backcourt. UCSB committed 18 second-half turnovers against a full-court press in a loss to USC in November, the Gauchos’ last away game before Sunday.

After cutting Pepperdine’s lead to 10 points at halftime, the Gauchos saw the Waves open the second half on a 10-2 run and after Nakeya Isabell hit a three-pointer and then a pair of free throws to give Pepperdine a 45-27 lead. That lead ballooned to 54-33 when Jazmine Jackson knocked down a three-pointer, one of 11 the Waves hit Sunday. Pepperdine, which came into the game shooting 26.9 percent from the field, went 11 of 20 (55 percent). The Waves shot 47.6 percent overall from the field.

The Gauchos got no closer than 11 points in the second half despite shooting 15 free throws. UCSB made 22 of 25 from the charity stripe and also out-rebounded Pepperdine, 36-30, but it wasn’t enough as they shot 36.2 percent from the floor. The Gauchos also made just one three-pointer in eight attempts.

Jenna Green led UCSB with 14 points while Lauren Pedersen had 10 points, all coming from her 10-for-10 performance from the free-throw line.

Whitney Warren and Emilie Johnson each had eight points, with Warren grabbing a team-high six rebounds. Johnson had five boards to go along with her four assists while Pedersen also had five rebounds.

Pepperdine went on a 20-6 run midway through the first half to take a 30-16 lead on Alisha Bryant’s jumper with 4:27 left, but the Gauchos would rally back.

Johnson knocked down a three-pointer to cut the lead to nine with 2:49 left before Warren converted a layup to make it 33-25 with 1:08 remaining. The Waves took a 35-25 lead into the half, based on their 47.1 percent shooting from the field.

Christine Spencer made her first appearance in a UCSB uniform after having to sit out a full year when she transferred from Wisconsin. Spencer played eight minutes and had one rebound while missing both her shot attempts, each coming from three-point range.

The Gauchos host Harvard at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Thunderdome. All emergency personnel who worked the Tea and Gap fires will receive two free tickets to the game by showing their emergency personnel ID at the Thunderdome box office up to an hour before tipoff. Wednesday is also Coke Family Pack Night where $40 gets you four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and four T-shirts.

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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