No. 15 UCLA puts the pressure on Gauchos

The No. 15 UCLA women’s basketball team proved to have a much better full-court defense than UCSB’s last opponent.

The Gauchos, despite losing to Pepperdine on Friday, had little trouble with the Waves’ full-court, pressure defense. However on Sunday at Pauley Pavilion it was a different story.

The Bruins forced 23 turnovers by the Gauchos and shot 43.8 percent from the floor to hand UCSB its second defeat, 66-52.

An 18-0 run by UCLA (2-0) early in the second half put the Gauchos (0-2) in a 55-26 hole that they couldn’t recover from.

“I told their head coach Nikki Caldwell they have Final Four potential,” UCSB head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “They’re really good. They have a lot of weaponds. I thought there were times where we competed against them. But there were other times we let them do what they’re really good at.”

On the bright side, UCSB’s reserves torched the Bruins’ backups, finishing the game on a 22-6 run that featured solid play from freshmen Adaeze Okolie and Nicole Nesbit and big baskets from sophomores Sweets Underwood and Stefanie Corgel.

Emilie Johnson led UCSB in scoring for the second straight game with 14 points as she was the lone Gauchos to reach double figures. Underwood had nine points and eight rebounds for UCSB, which shot 37.7 percent from the floor.

Kelsey Adrian added eight points while Nesbit had five to go with three assists and Okolie had four points and four boards, all on the offensive end.

The Gauchos play their next three games at home, beginning with a matinee 1 p.m. start on Thursday vs. Portland State.