WBK: Miller’s 24 points not enough for Gauchos

LARAMIE, Wyo. – While Coco Miller led all players with 24 points, UCSB (1-5) surrendered 35 free throws to Wyoming (3-1) who came away with the 76-67 decision at the Arena-Auditorium on Friday night.

Other than her prolific shooting performance that featured four three-pointers, Miller was also the Gauchos’ leader in rebounds (four), steals (four), and blocks (two). The freshman logged in a team-high 35 minutes while playing in NCAA basketball’s highest court with an elevation of 7,220 feet.

The Gauchos picked up 26 points off the bench with Taylor Farris leading the way with 11 points. The sophomore also added five rebounds, three assists, and three steals to her stat line.

UCSB went off to a sluggish start in the game in being outscored 18-9 by the end of the first period. In fact, the Cowgirls opened the game on a 7-0 run before Mi’Chael Wright laid in the first Gaucho basket following a steal by Dioseline Lopez.

Miller registered her first shot at 3:44 mark with a triple, which was quickly answered by Wyoming’s Marleah Campbell with a three-pointer of her own. The Cowgirls would make three of their five shots three-pointers in the first quarter.

Wyoming did not let up in the second quarter, as Marta Garza got to the line on their first possession and later made a lay up the next time they had the ball. The home team grabbed its largest lead of the game at 27-12 at the 6:45 mark following two more free throws.

However, the Gauchos would close out the half on a good note in outscoring the Cowgirls 16-7 down the stretch. UCSB opened the run with nine unanswered points with Wright starting things off with a lay up. On the ensuing possession, Jasmine Ware picked up a steal and set up Miller for the transition three to cut the Wyoming lead to 10 points. After Taylor Farris knocked down a pull up jumper, Ware came up with yet another steal and finished the job herself with a lay up on the other end.

Overall, the Gauchos recorded 11 swipes, making it the third time the team has reached double figures in the steal column.

Miller then closed out the half with UCSB’s final five points on a midrange jumper and a downtown make, putting the Gauchos within six points at 34-28.

Santa Barbara once again faced a double-digit Wyoming lead, but the team mustered another late quarter run to move themselves within five points at 55-51. Onome Jemerigbe triggered it all after draining a triple from the top of the key with 3:29 left in the period. Makala Roper scored on a pair of lay ups with two tough drives to the basket, while Miller added the finishing touch with yet another long range look in the final seconds.

Though they put themselves in good position to start the final quarter, the Gauchos committed five fouls by the 6:02 mark in the quarter. The Cowgirls took advantage of being in the bonus for the final six minutes and made 10 of 13 free throws to close out the game.

UCSB will look to bounce back into the win column when they visit Pepperdine this Sunday at 1 p.m.