WBK: LSU makes Gauchos pay for mistakes

Despite cutting down what was a 13-point LSU lead to four points, UCSB’s second half turnovers proved costly, as the Lady Tigers came out on top in a 78-45 decision.

With the loss, UC Santa Barbara moves to 0-10 on the season, while the Lady Tigers improve to 5-5.

Makala Roper led the Gauchos with 12 points as she made two three-pointers and registered five baskets overall. Behind her was Kristine Brance with eight points, while Onome Jemerigbe came up with a game-high four assists on the night, as well.

In the rebounding category, Taylor Farris co-led the floor with seven rebounds in her official return from injury. It was the freshman’s first game since UCSB’s home opener against Idaho (11/17).

While UCSB scored the game’s opening basket with a jumper from Brance, the Lady Tigers responded with nine unanswered points in the first five minutes of play. LSU would stretch out that lead into a 23-10 score with 6:24 remaining in the half.

However, UCSB had a response and lowered the deficit down to eight points before the half time break. Roper played a big role in the Gauchos’ offensive push, as she knocked down her first triple of the game to put UCSB within nine with 2:59 on the clock. From that point on, the Gauchos only allowed LSU four points — all at the free throw line– as UCSB’s defense forced them into three missed field goals and three turnovers in the final three minutes. The Gauchos also outrebounded LSU in that stretch 7-4.

Amidst those LSU missteps, Jemerigbe made a swift steal at midcourt and finished on the other end with an easy layup, while Dioseline Lopez poured in the final basket of the half after burying a three-pointer from the left corner.

The Gauchos carried that momentum into the start of the second half with four straight points, which moved themselves within four at 32-28. Clair Watkins hit the opening basket on a short jumper, while Mi’Chael Wright made a jumper of her own in the following possession.

After the slow start, the Lady Tigers went back to work in the low post and pulled away with a 12-2 run to reclaim a double-digit lead. LSU went on to finish the second half with a 59.4 percent shooting clip in the half as they outscored UCSB 46-21 in the final 20 minutes. UCSB turned the ball over 17 times in the second half alone and 27 overall, as the Lady Tigers netted 36 points off those turnovers.

UCSB will be back in action on Dec. 28 when they will visit Stanford. It will be the first a three straight road games for the team, as they will then travel to Seattle University on Dec. 30 and will wrap up their nonconference slate on Jan. 6 in Bakersfield.