WBK Gauchos go cold in 2nd half, fall to Santa Clara

UCSB’s offensive struggles led to its 47-33 women’s basketball  loss to Santa Clara in the Thunderdome on Thursday night.

The Gauchos now slide to 0-3 to start the season, while the Broncos improve to 2-1.

“I’m not going to fault our effort. The effort is there,” coach Carlene Mitchell said. “That’s the frustrating part. The players are playing hard, they’re diving on the floor, and we took five charges tonight, so the effort is there. Now we have to put two halves together, have a strong basketball IQ on the floor, and learn how to finish games.”

UCSB took a 21-16 lead into the halftime break, but the Broncos stampeded out of the gates in opening the second half, going on a 10-0 run.

The Gauchos did not find their first basket of the half until Makala Roper knocked down a three-pointer at the 13:00 mark to put UCSB within two points at 26-24. That was one of the two triples that Roper made in the game, as she led the Gauchos with nine points.

Kristine Brance  — who finished with seven points — later put Santa Barbara back on top at 27-26 with a free throw, but it would be the last lead that the Gauchos held. The Broncos went on to close out the game on a 21-6 run.

Beth Carlson was a force during that stretch and scored on three straight possessions for six points, accounting for half of her game-high 12. The Broncos did most of their scoring in the transition game, as they finished with 11 assists as all of Carlson’s baskets were made from quick entry passes.

UCSB will be taking a road swing through Arizona with visits to Northern Arizona on Sunday at 2 p.m. and to the University of Arizona next Tuesday at 11 a.m.