Dec. 5, 2012
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LOS ANGELES - Alex Cowling recorded her third 20-plus point game of the season, but a furious late second half rally came up just short as the LMU women's basketball team dropped their first home game of the 2012-13 season, 76-69, to UC Santa Barbara Wednesday night.
The Lions fell to an even 5-5 on the season and 4-1 in Gersten Pavilion while the Gauchos improve to 3-5 overall with their first road victory.
Cowling led all scorers with 25 points while also leading LMU with eight boards. Hazel Ramirez added 14 points and Danielle Pruitt had 12 for the Lions who shot just 36 percent from the field. Taylor Anderson chipped in nine points off the bench.
Sweets Underwood had the hot hand for the Gauchos, pouring in 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and 6-for-7 from the charity stripe. Melissa Zoring added 13 points while Destini Mason chipped in 12 and Nicole Nesbit had 11.
The Lions got off to a slow start offensively, finally scoring their first basket at the 16:38 mark on a fastbreak layup by Mackenzie Kerins. Underwood scored nine of the Gauchos first 15 points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field and one free throw, leading UCSB to an early 15-6 advantage with 14:31 to play in the first half.
Six straight points by the Lions, including a three by Danielle Pruitt
and a pair of free throws by Melinda Gomez
cut the spread to three, 15-12 at the 12:29 mark. But Underwood responded with her fifth field goal of the half and the Gauchos slowly opened up a double-digit lead, 26-16 by the 7:10 mark.
Alex Cowling scored five straight points to cut it back to six, 28-22, with just under five minutes to play, but UCSB closed out the half on an 8-2 run, taking a 36-24 lead into the break.
A 9-4 LMU run to open the second half, including five Cowling points, brought the Lions to within seven, 40-33, at the 15:08 mark.
UCSB stretched its lead to as many as 19 midway through the second half, putting the Lions in a 59-40 hole with 7:38 to play.
Cowling and Anderson sparked an 11-0 run which cut it to 59-51 in favor of the Gauchos with five minutes to play. UCSB was able to push the spread back into double-figures until a three by Ramirez made it 74-69 with 11 seconds remaining, but Nesbit responded with a pair of free throws to put the game out of reach.
The Lions begin a 10-day break from action before returning to the court on Saturday, Dec. 15 to host Oregon State. Tip off in Gersten Pavilion is 2 p.m.