By ELIZABETH PALMER
It was a tough dose of reality for BYU’s women’s basketball team Thursday night, as the Cougars received a sound 97-49 beating at the hands of No. 26 University of California at Santa Barbara.
UCSB, one of the highest scoring teams in the country, went to the NCAA tournament last year, and returned all five starters from that team this year.
The Gauchos controlled the game from the beginning, jumping out to a 58-29 halftime lead at home.
The Cougars were led by junior forward Cady Williams’ 14 points, but BYU was unable to take defensive control in the game. No Cougar had more than three rebounds.
UCSB shot nearly 60 percent on the night while holding BYU to just over 30-percent shooting.
“They came out shooting very well and played one of their best games of the year,” BYU head coach Trent Shippen said. “This was a tough loss for us. We had been doing really well in getting the rebounds, but tonight we got out-rebounded 40-26, and we can’t win with those kind of numbers.”
Gaucho sophomore guard Erin Buescher led all scorers with 27 points and also managed 10 rebounds on the game. Buescher did her damage in just 24 minutes of play.
The Cougars evened it out a bit in the second half, but were still outscored 39-20.
The game did provide Shippen an opportunity to play his whole team as every Cougar got some minutes in the game.
“We need to handle the ball better and pick up our energy level,” Shippen said. “There’s a lot of things we can improve on, and it’s still early in the season.”
The win improved UCSB’s record to 4-1, while BYU dropped to 3-3.
Up next for the Cougars will be Santa Clara in California on Saturday.