The down season of the UC Riverside women’s basketball team continued this week, dropping two more Big West games. The Highlanders (4-15, 0-6) were the underdogs going into each game and managed to make the games competitive, but dry spells at inopportune times led to inevitable defeat.
The club’s first game was against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. It was particularly close, with Riverside even taking the lead with 12:28 left to play, but they did not score for the next six minutes, sealing their fate, 74-61. In the first half, the Highlanders had a lead for a majority of the time, but the half ended on a mini-Santa Barbara offensive spurt to give the Gauchos a 34-32 lead. The squads traded baskets early in the second half until the Gauchos scored 13 consecutive points, extending their lead to 12, 63-51. UC Riverside wasn’t able to recover as the team struggled on offense en route to their 11th straight loss. Simone DeCoud finished the game with 13 points, second on the team behind only Brittany Crain, who added 19.
The Highlanders managed to shoot a higher percentage than their opponent from the field (42 percent versus 39 percent). Riverside even made more three-pointers than the Gauchos, though UCSB shot a higher percentage from that distance. However, the difference in the game was made in the paint, where UCR’s struggles seem to be. Riverside had only six points all game, while their opponents had 34, 20 of which came in the second half.
Santa Barbara had 25 more total rebounds than the Highlanders, with a massive total of 55. Twenty-one rebounds came on the offensive end, which led to 23 Gaucho second-chance points, compared to Riverside’s eight. Santa Barbara’s rebounding numbers were entirely a team effort. The person with the most rebounds on the team was Jasmine Ware with 11, and four others on their team had more than five each.
On Saturday, Riverside faced the Big-West-leading Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustangs. The game took place in San Luis Obispo, where the Mustangs were 7-0 heading into the game. Riverside found itself behind early after an 11-0 run, and the relentless Mustangs never gave it up, leading by as much as 28 in the second half, en route to 89-72 thumping.
DeCoud led the team in scoring with 20 while adding two blocks on the night. Annelise Ito also scored in double figures with 13 and six rebounds. This game was better in that Riverside’s aggressiveness led to 24 points in the paint as the team attempted 13 more free throws than Cal Poly. However, the Mustangs had 47 points in the paint, which, when coupled with the Highlanders’ 33 percent shooting, led to a Highlander loss.
The squad returns to Riverside on Jan. 30 for their first home game in 12 days against Cal State Northridge.