BAKERSFIELD – The UC Santa Barbara women’s basketball team nearly pulled off an improbable comeback with a furious fourth=quarter finish, but CSU Bakersfield ultimately closed the game out to win 66-62 at the Icardo Center on Saturday afternoon.
Redshirt senior guard Coco Miller, the 27th and latest member of UCSB’s thousand-point club, got the Gauchos off to a fast start after she corralled the ball from Bakersfield off the tip and sped up the court to lay the ball in and earn an and-one, which she converted to put UCSB up 3-0.
The Gauchos would maintain the lead until guard Ashley Austin hit a triple with 2:05 left in the quarter to put Bakersfield up 13-11, a scoreline that grew to 17-13 by the end of the first period.
Santa Barbara kept things tight throughout the second quarter, never falling behind by more than four until 1:05 left until halftime, when Jasmin Dixon’s layup put the Roadrunners up 28-23.
Moments later, junior point guard Danae Miller went to the line and drained both of her free throws to get the Gauchos back within three, and then redshirt senior guard Tal Sahar dropped a triple via freshman guard Johnni Gonzalez with eight seconds left to tie things up at 28-all.
Danae Miller led the Gauchos in scoring with 16 points, adding five assists. Miller and junior guard Aliceah Hernandez had 13 points apiece, while Lane came up with 13 rebounds, including four offensive boards.
Bakersfield would take over in the third quarter, regaining the lead at the 7:06 mark through Miracle Saxon’s layup. The Roadrunners would pile on four three-pointers in the quarter and limit the Gauchos to just eight points to take a 46-37 lead into the final period.
The Roadrunners maintained the nine-point lead through to the 4:40 mark with a 50-41 scoreline, at which point freshman center Ila Lane and Hernandez knocked down back-to-back shots, paving the way for Miller to get the Gauchos within two at the 2:55 mark after hitting a 3-pointer.
That set up a rollercoaster final three minutes, with Bakersfield getting back out to a seven-point lead, but Hernandez cutting it down to four twice with deep treys.
Then, the Gauchos were made to play the foul game, and Bakersfield went ahead 62-56 after two trips to the foul line.
However, Hernandez and the Gauchos weren’t done yet, with the Sacramento-native sinking yet another 3-pointer to make it a one-possession game.
Another pair of made free throws all but iced the game for the hosts, even though Danae Miller converted on yet another triple to make the score 64-62 with four seconds left in regulation.
At that point, UCSB had to foul again and Saxon made no mistake on her attempts for Bakersfield to win 66-62.
The Gauchos stay on the road for the next two games, playing at Grand Canyon on Thursday at 5 p.m. and at Arizona on Sunday afternoon at 12 p.m.