Everything went right for the UC Santa Barbara women’s basketball team on Wednesday night at the Thunderdome, as the Gauchos defeated UC Irvine 67-57, controlling the game handily throughout.
Freshman center Ila Lane registered a new career-high of 25 points and matched her career-high 20 rebounds, Danae Miller added 18 points and eight rebounds, and Coco Miller surpassed 300 career assists with seven helpers as the Gauchos (9-12, 4-4 Big West) rebounded from last week’s loss at UC Davis.
“When we went to Irvine last time, I ran into foul trouble early and I had an amazing fourth quarter. This time, it was about keeping the foul count down and my points not matching theirs,” said Lane.
“I thought we shared the ball and we were intentional about throwing it inside to Ila,” coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “Then we got opportunities in transition and I didn’t think we were aggressive enough in transition and we were rushing shots [in the third quarter when Irvine began to come back]. But then we got back in rhythm”
Henrickson was recognized for winning her 400th career game on Jan. 25 against Fullerton after the game.
UCSB carried a 15-12 lead into the second quarter, in which confident, free-flowing play on both sides of the ball saw the Gauchos extend their lead to 36-28 by the end of the half.
The third quarter began with an 8-3 run from Irvine, pulling the Anteaters within three inside the first four minutes of the half. UCSB managed to get the lead back up to 10 at one point in the third quarter, and led by eight as the game headed into the fourth quarter, led in large part by Lane’s seven points and Danae Miller’s five in the period.
The Gauchos had perhaps their most comfortable fourth quarter of the season, blowing the advantage up to 15 with 2:49 left in the game before Irvine scored the final five points of the matchup.
UCSB shot 44% and shut out the Anteaters from beyond the arc, as the visitors did not convert on any of their 15 chances from long range.
Santa Barbara also heavily outrebounded Irvine, 45-26, and recorded 19 assists on 28 made shots.
“We definitely came together this game. The chemistry and our communication was amazing. We really emphasized being aware of where we are on the court at all times,” remarked Lane.
Next, the Gauchos take on Hawai’i on Saturday night at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on BigWest.TV. The 2004 women’s basketball team that made it to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen will be recognized at halftime.