It’s been a tough start to the women’s basketball season for UCSB.
In dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Gauchos had three non-conference games canceled, their All-American center Ila Lane and two other players opt out playing due to health concerns and a member of the team test positive for the virus, putting a hold on practices.
UCSB finally played its first game on Wednesday, a morning contest against No. 11-ranked UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. The talent-loaded Bruins, who were playing their fourth game, ran away with a 102-45 victory.
UCLA is coached by former UCSB star and Gaucho Hall of Famer Cori Close.
Senior guard Danae Miller scored the first basket for the Gauchos to make it a 6-2 game at the 7:28 mark of the first quarter. It was 14-7 after senior transfer Doris Jones nailed a three-pointer with 3:52 to go. Jones was making her UCSB debut.
UCLA took charge the rest of the way. Natalie Chou knocked down back-to-back threes and the Bruins raced to a 22-8 advantage by the end of the quarter.
UCLA shot well from the three-point line, making 10 of 19.
UCSB’s Alyssa Marin, a freshman from Camarillo, knocked down a three pointer to get the Gauchos started in the second quarter. UCLA then went on a 9-0 run to go up 33-11.
The Bruins led 56-24 at halftime.
Miller scored 16 points to lead the Gauchos, Jones had eight and Marin added six in her college debut.
UCLA (3-1), which already has played two Pac-12 games, had six players score in double figures, led by 5-foot-9 sophomore guard Charisma Osborne, an All-Pac-12 freshman, with 18 points. Chantel Horvat, a 6-1 junior guard, and 6-foot senior forward Michaela Onyenwere, a returning All-American and All-Pac 12 honoree, each scored 17 points. Emily Bessior had 15 points, Chou 14, Lindsey Corsaor 11 and Lauryn Miller 10.
The Bruins, who outscored the Gauchos 52-14 in the paint and had 25 points off of turnovers, shot 52.7% for the game (39 of 74).
UCSB, which struggled to get the ball inside against UCLA’s length, shot 23 three pointers and made seven (30.4%). Overall, the Gauchos were 14-49 from the floor (28.6%).
After going weeks without a game, the Gauchos play their second on Friday, hosting Cal Baptist at the Thunderdome at 5 p.m. The game will be live streamed on Big West TV.
— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.