W. Hoops Dealt 77-64 Setback at UCSB

Khalia Lark led the Aztecs with 14 points on Friday at UCSB.

Dec. 22, 2017

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The San Diego State women's basketball team wrapped up its non-conference slate on a sour note Friday, falling at UC Santa Barbara by a 77-64 count inside the Thunderdome.

With the loss, the Aztecs dropped their second in a row, slipping to 6-5 overall, while the Gauchos snapped a nine-game losing streak, moving to 2-9 on the year.

SDSU raced to a 16-7 lead by the end of the first quarter, but UCSB stormed back with a vengeance, outscoring the visitors 50-24 over the next two periods to take control.

The Aztecs received double-digit scoring totals from four players, including a season high-tying 14 points from Khalia Lark, but it wasn't enough as the Gauchos shot 67.9 percent (19-28) during the second and third frames, including a 61.5 percent clip (8-13) from three-point range.

In addition, UCSB maintained a 35-23 rebounding advantage, including a 23-13 spread on the defensive glass, and drained 18 of 21 free throws (85.7 percent) to help put the brakes on a four-game slide in the all-time series vs. the Scarlet and Black. Conversely, SDSU shot just 50 percent from the charity stripe (7-14) for the night and was outscored in the paint 38-28.

In addition to Lark's production, which included a team-best five rebounds, Najé Murray finished with 12 points of her own, highlighted by a pair of triples, before fouling out. The Aztec cause was also aided by McKynzie Fort (4 assists) and Cheyenne Greenhouse, who registered 10 points apiece, while Geena Gomez contributed nine points and three assists.

Nursing a slim 9-7 advantage, SDSU uncorked a 7-0 run to end the first quarter, with Murray knocking down a three-pointer and a layup, followed by a Greenhouse basket.

After a 2-for-13 performance from the floor in the period, UCSB flipped the switch in the second stanza, connecting on 9 of 14 field-goal attempts to claim a 30-26 lead by intermission. The Gauchos' Tal Sahar dialed up some instant offense off the bench, scoring seven straight points in the final 1:07 to put the host school in front for good.

The Aztecs were unable to keep pace in the third quarter despite hitting 6 of 11 shots in the period. Thanks to a 10-for-14 effort from the field during that span, including a 3-for-5 pace from beyond the arc, UCSB widened the gap to 57-40 with 10 minutes left in the contest. On the flip side, SDSU made just one of five free throws and was plagued by eight turnovers.

The Aztecs trailed by as many as 19 points three times in the fourth quarter, but managed to trim the deficit to 70-59 with 3:07 left on the clock. However, the Gauchos kept the visitors at bay with seven free throws down the stretch.

UCSB was paced by Drew Edelman, who logged a double-double with game highs of 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Sarah Bates chipped in 15 points and seven boards of her own. Makayla Roper also got into the act with 11 points while leading all players with eight assists.

San Diego State opens Mountain West competition next Thursday, Dec. 28, when it plays host to Wyoming at Steve Fisher Court. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. PT.

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