A tough stretch in the third quarter that allowed Long Beach State to take the lead proved to be the deciding factor in the UCSB women’s basketball 58-57 loss Thursday night at the Thunderdome.

With the loss, Santa Barbara falls to 15-7 overall with an 8-4 Big West record and still holds onto third place in the conference standings while Big West-best Long Beach State improved to 16-7 and 11-2 in conference play.

“We got a couple players that look like they lost it for us, no,” UCSB coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “We lost it in that stretch where we turned it over five times and they went up six.

“We just lost focus and weren’t aggressive. … We weren’t matched up defensively, gave up too many baskets and we were hesitant offensively.”

After a back and forth first quarter, Santa Barbara outscored The Beach 21-13 in the second quarter to take a 6-point lead into the break at 32-26.

Things also started well in the third quarter, as buckets from senior forward Ila Lane, who had herself a monster performance, helped the Gauchos amass their biggest lead of the night at eight.

But, late in the third, The Beach were heating up.

A 3 by junior guard Alexis Tucker gave the Gauchos a seven-point lead with over five minutes remaining in the third frame.

But over the final 5:20, UCSB would go 1-for-4 and would turn the ball over five times, ultimately being outscored 11-2 and giving Long Beach State a 47-43 lead heading into the fourth.

“Consistency, we have to have more consistency,” Henrickson said about LBSU’s run.

“We get amnesia with what works. It was working and we have to keep doing it every time until it doesn’t.”

As per usual, the ‘cardiac’ Gauchos, dubbed by Henrickson herself, never gave in and gave themselves multiple chances in the end.

Another three by Tucker with 1:30 remaining cut the lead down to just 1, at 58-57. From there, the Gauchos needed stops, and they got them.

The first opportunity, the Gauchos got the ball back with 1:08, but were unable to work the ball down low to Lane, who was being guarded tough over the top, and ultimately were unable to get a shot off at all leading to a 30-second violation.

With under 10 seconds remaining, Long Beach State missed a shot but corralled the offensive board. Quick pressure from the Gauchos, however, led to an errant pass and with 8.1 seconds Lane got the steal and called a timeout.

Out of the timeout, guard Anya Choice had the ball at the top of the key and decided to do a bounce pass to Lane, who hesitated for just a second, and the ball went past her and out of bounds with 1.4 seconds left.

“I told the team, first, Anya, you didn’t lose it for us. Nobody wins one and nobody loses one. Mismanaged success is the number one reason for failure and well-managed failure is the number one reason for success,” Henrickson said.

“We are not pointing fingers, we’re not blaming, we’re gonna come back here and put the work in.”

Long Beach State missed its two free throws, giving the Gauchos actually one last chance with 0.4 seconds remaining.

With such little time left, the Gauchos ran a play to Tucker at the rim, after running other players to the 3-point line, fooling Long Beach State as she was wide open. 

But an errant pass couldn’t find her and the ball landed out of bounds with time expiring. 

“It was just disappointing, all of it. That stretch where we just really lost focus, that was a rough one,” Henrickson said.

Despite the loss it was a big night for Lane, who finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds — bringing her career total to 827, the seventh-most in program history.

Tucker was the only other Gaucho in double figures, pouring in 14 while the rest of the team shot a combined 9-for-30.

But if there is one thing Thursday night’s game showed, it’s that the talent level in the Big West is competitive, and for Henrickson, she isn’t shying away from it and neither is her team.

“We are going to play our butts off on Saturday, that’s all we can do. And, when it comes to Long Beach, we want to play them a third time. We are guaranteed to play them a second time still, but we want a third shot,” Henrickson said.

UCSB will take on UC Davis on the road at 2 p.m. Saturday.