WBK: Gauchos beaten on last-second shot

UCSB’s (1-3) Kendra Morrison tied the game with 7.9 seconds left, but that was all UT-Rio Grand Valley (4-2) needed for Mary Savoy to deliver the game-winner on a layup with one second left. Coco Miller had enough time for a last second half-court heave, but the shot ricocheted off the glass as the buzzer sounded, as the game ended at 62-60.

Morrison’s tying shot gave her a season-high 10 points, as she scored seven during the Gauchos’ fourth quarter comeback effort. Makala Roper paced the team in the scoring category with her season-best 21 points in shooting 8-15 from the field and 3-7 from three-point range.

Overall, UCSB out-shot the Vaqueros with a 42.1 shooting percentage compared to UTRGV’s 39.2 clip. Shawnte’ Goff was a workhorse for Rio Grande Valley with her team-high 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 39 minutes of play.

To end the first half, the Gauchos responded to back-to-back Bernesha Peters three-pointers with a 6-2 run. Onome Jemerigbe started the stretch with a free throw, while Roper later knocked down her first triple of the night and Chaya Durr closed it out with a layup, giving UCSB the 30-27 lead.

The Gauchos struggled in opening the third quarter and were shut out 11-0 through the first five minutes. The Vaqueros’ offense exploded with three consecutive three points makes including two from Goff. By the time the period was over, UTRGV outscored Santa Barbara 18-6 in taking a 45-36 lead.

UCSB were quick in turning things around in the fourth quarter, as the team opened up the final period with a 6-2 run, led by Roper’s five points. From there, the Gauchos kept themselves close to UTRGV and soon found themselves within five at the 2:39 mark.

Morrison played a pivotal role in the Gauchos’ comeback efforts, as she replaced Kali Jones on the floor after she fouled out with 4:09 remaining. Within the first 40 seconds of being in, the senior made a nice finish at the basket, cutting into the UTRGV lead 55-51.

Roper followed her with a layup of her own that was spurred on by a steal from Taylor Farris. Vaquero Anushka Maldonado provided her team’s response with a three-pointer from the top of the arc, pushing the Gauchos back to five points down again.

But after a UCSB timeout called with 1:49 left to play, Roper produced a quick score, sparking the team’s final push.

While Goff came up with another jumper, Morrison delivered the quick rebuttal on a three-point play as she was fouled when she extended for a layup.

The Gauchos in return made a stop on the defensive side of the floor, giving themselves 24 seconds to come up with the tying shot, which Morrison provided on a lay-in set up by Jemerigbe.

But Savoy – who had limited time on the floor with foul trouble – came through in the final moments of the game with a quick lay up to take the game.

UCSB will be hitting the road for the holiday weekend with visits to Wyoming (11/27) and Pepperdine (11/29). The Gauchos will be back in the Thunderdome next Tuesday to host Santa Clara at 7 p.m.