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College Basketball

Coco Miller, Drew Edelman Spark UCSB Women to First Win

UCSB’s Drea Toler steals the all from Pepperdine’s Sydney Bordonaro during the Gauchos’ win over the Waves. Click to view larger
UCSB’s Drea Toler steals the all from Pepperdine’s Sydney Bordonaro during the Gauchos’ win over the Waves. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Coco Miller tied a career high with 24 points, leading the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team to its first win of the season, a 66-57 decision over Pepperdine, on Tuesday night at the Thunderdome.

Miller hit 5 of 11 from three-point range through three quarters and shot 6-15 overall in bouncing back from a three-point outing against Iowa State last week.

"The defense can't take away everything, so if they take away our bigs, my shot's open," Miller said. "When my shot's not open, I can pass it to the big. They really pressured us on the inside so I had a lot of open shots. That's why on my job description it says, 'Knock down open shots.'"

Coco Miller of the Gauchos knocked down five 3-pointers en route to 24 points, tying her career high. Click to view larger
Coco Miller of the Gauchos knocked down five 3-pointers en route to 24 points, tying her career high. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

"It's not about the great plays you make, it's about the bad plays you don't make. Coco doesn't make bad plays, she's steady and consistent,"  coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "She has a really high basketball IQ, she's really mature and guards a lot of positions well, and that's valuable to us."

A 20-4 run gave Pepperdine a 33-31 advantage in the third quarter, its first lead since the 4:42 mark of the opening period. UCSB redshirt junior Drew Edelman then took over the game. Consistently setting herself up with great position deep in the paint, she went on to score all 16 of her points in the second half, finishing 8-12 from the field. She was the game's second-leading scorer.

"It was great to not be in foul trouble anymore, and my teammates are great about throwing me the ball," Edelman said. "When they kick it in and I get doubled, I can kick it out and I know Coco will knock down an open shot. It's definitely a good thing we have going."

Point guard Onome Jemerigbe had an off-shooting night but she didn't need to score to make an impact. She was most impactful distributing the ball and applying high-pressure defense all night, finishing with game-highs of seven assists and four steals. She knocked down 6 of 8 free throws.

Santa Barbara shot an abysmal 3-18 in the paint in the first half, but their poor inside scoring was balanced out by the hot outside shooting of Miller and Sarah Porter, who were a combined 6-12 on threes in the first half. That shooting sent the Gauchos on a 16-2 run midway through the second quarter, giving them a 27-13 lead.

"When we went on a run in the first half, we penetrated, kicked, drove it back, and at that point the defense has to decide to play it wide or collapse on the penetration," Henrickson said. "We really just talked about trying to reverse the ball. If our bigs are working, they're going to attract a lot of attention. If they're not (attracting attention), we're going to throw it to them."

Miller was the only player to score in double-digits in the first half with 14 points on 4-9 shooting from deep. The rest of the team went just 4-27 in the first half. Pepperdine went on a run to cut the lead to 27-22 at the half.

After a scoreless first half, Edelman scored 10 points in the third quarter alone, helping UCSB take a 45-36 lead into the fourth quarter.

Onome Jermerigbe plays tough defense on Pepperdine’s Sydney Bordonaro. Click to view larger
Onome Jermerigbe plays tough defense on Pepperdine’s Sydney Bordonaro. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

The Gauchos held off the Waves (0-2) and evened their record at 1-1.

Forward Chaya Durr led all players with 11 rebounds, tying a career-high, to go along with a team-leading three blocks. Taylor Farris chipped in with three steals to go along with six rebounds, while Porter went 3-6 from three-point range to finish with 11 points and four assists in her home debut.

The Waves were led by Sydney Bordonaro and Yasmine Robinson-Bacote, who both went 6-12 from the field to put up team-leading marks of 15 and 12 points, respectively.

The Gauchos will look to win their second straight when they travel to face Seattle this Friday.

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