WBK: Gauchos crush Occidental in season opener

The UCSB women’s basketball team made its 2014-15 debut with a dominant 64-30 win over Occidental College in an exhibition game in the Thunderdome.

“It’s still early, but there are a lot of positives we can take away from this game,” UCSB Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said. “We’ll have things to work on this week, but it was good to get all of our players some time on the floor today.”

The Gauchos were led the frontcourt duo of Taylor Farris and Clair Watkins who both finished with double-doubles. Watkins finished with game-highs of 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Farris netted 12 points and pulled in 10 boards in her UCSB debut.

As a team, UCSB was terrific on the boards, hauling in 67 rebounds with 31 coming on the offensive end. Following Farris and Watkins in the rebounds category was Chaya Durr who had 10 off the bench along with nine points.

Running UCSB’s offense were point guards Onome Jemerigbe and Dioseline Lopez who combined for 10 assists. Jemerigbe started the game and led all players with six dimes, while Lopez complimented her four assists with five rebounds and a pair of steals.

This is the second win in as many years for UCSB in facing the Tigers, as they one last season’s meeting 76-54.

Watkins opened the game with a layup in the opening possession and went on to score six of the Gauchos first eight points. Jasmine Ware was also involved early offensively, as she checked in at the 17:35 mark with a layup to put UCSB ahead 6-4. The junior went on to finish with 10 points, seven rebounds, and two steals.

While Watkins helped the Gauchos garner a strong lead in opening the game, it was Farris who closed out the first half strong by scoring nine of the team’s final 12 points in solidifying UCSB’s 31-14 halftime lead.

Occidental opened the second half with a three-point shot, but the Gauchos were quick to respond with a 12-5 run. While six of those points were made by three UCSB starters, closing out the run were freshmen Chaya Durr and Makala Roper. Those two would go on to score the next 10 Gaucho points with Durr finishing with six (four from free throws) and Roper putting up a pair of layups.

The Gaucho offense was lighting up the scoreboard through the game, but the team showed its defensive grit in limiting the Tigers to just two points in the final 10 minutes.

During that stretch, Occidental made two free throws, while UCSB tallied 17 points led by Watkins’ six.

UCSB will officially tip-off the 2014-15 season this Friday when they visit Nevada in Reno.