WBK: Gauchos getting closer to victory

Onome Jemerigbe connected on a clutch three-pointer in the final seconds to force overtime, but UCSB’s shot for its first victory slipped away as UC Davis outscored the Gauchos 12-6 in the extra period to win the game 60-54 at the Thunderdome.

Santa Barbara drops to 0-20 on the season and 0-7 in the Big West. The Aggies are 4-3 in Big West play and 9-10 overall.

With time ticking away, UCSB needed three points to force overtime. The Gauchos inbounded the ball with 21 seconds to go, but the Aggies forced tight passes along the perimeter and did not give the Gauchos any room to shoot a three.

Then the ball found Jemerigbe. The point guard created her own shot from 32 feet out and nailed the basket with seconds to go.

“I knew that I had to make my own shot that time,” Jemerigbe said. “When the play we tried to run didn’t work, I decided to take it. I was comfortable in knowing that my teammates trusted me to take that shot.”

The sophomore led UCSB with 14 points in the game, going 7-7 at the foul line. She also dished out six assists to remain the conference’s assists leader (5.6 apg).

“Players make plays, and that’s exactly what Onome did with that three,” UCSB coach Carlene Mitchell said.

Three other Gauchos scored in double digits as Kristine Brance and Jasmine Ware each had 11 points and Clair Watkins added 10. Ware also led the team in the rebounding category with six boards, while Watkins pulled down five. The senior completed her stat line with a career-high five steals.

The Aggies opened the extra period with five unanswered point, but the Gauchos were quick to respond with Jemerigbe completing a three-point play at the line with 2:26 to play.

On the ensuring possession, Kelsey Harris seemingly put the game out of reach with a triple. But the Gauchos nailed a three of their own with Makala Roper connecting from the right corner at the 1:46 mark.

UCSB went scoreless for the rest of the game, as Davis closed out the contest with four made free throws in the final 40 seconds.

“We ran out of gas,” Mitchell said. “Our press wasn’t as strong later in the game and Davis made shots when they had to.”