WBK: Gauchos edged by LMU

Makala Roper’s and Jasmine Ware’s combined 36 points were not enough to top Loyola Marymount (3-5), as UCSB (1-7) fell 70-63 in the Thunderdome on Friday night.

Roper and Ware each scored 18 points in the game, while Chaya Durr was behind them with 10 points. Roper – who spent most of the second half playing point guard – also paced the Gauchos with three assists, and Ware finished as the team’s leader with seven rebounds.

Je Zhé Newton made her Gaucho debut and finished with five points and six rebounds after 17 minutes of play.

On LMU’s side, Deanna Johnson finished a team-best 17 points – scoring 12 of them in the second half – while Cheyanne Wallace put up 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

Though she did not start the game, Ware fired up UCSB’s offense early in the game with eight straight points over the course of 1:05. The senior first knocked down a baseline jumper at the 4:28 mark and then drained a three-pointer on the Gauchos’ next possessions. She closed out her own run with an old-fashioned three-point play after scoring on a transition layup. Ware later added seven points in the second quarter to tally 15 points by halftime.
Through the end of the first half, the Gauchos held Loyola Marymount to just 28.1 percent shooting from the floor. However, the Lions came out of halftime and outscored Santa Barbara 21-10 before the start of the fourth quarter. In fact, the Lions closed out the third quarter with 10 unanswered points through the final 2:11. Leslie Lopez-Wood led the run with five points, adding to her 12 total points.

UCSB bounced back quickly to start the fourth quarter with six straight points of its own, while keeping the Lions off the scoreboard until the 6:18 mark. Roper hit her one of her two three pointers during that stretch, while her free throw with 8:22 left moved the Gauchos within two at 53-51.

While Ware carried the team offensively in the first half, Roper took charge late in the game for the Gauchos with 11 points and two assists in the fourth quarter. In the final period, Roper was responsible for 16 of UCSB’s 18 points.

One of those assists came when she set up Coco Miller on a clutch three pointer that put the Gauchos within three at 64-61 at the 1:04 mark. But one possession later, Lopez-Wood made a layup off a backdoor cut to spark her team’s 6-2 run to close out the game.

UCSB will be back in action on the road next weekend when they will visit LSU and Louisiana- Lafayette.