By John Zant
LUBBOCK, Texas - It was not the way Amy Waugh and Reetta Piipari wanted to end their college careers.
Xavier's Reetta Piipari (4) drives past UC Santa Barbara's Kristen Mann.
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Xavier's senior guards went down fighting with the rest of the Musketeers against 18th-ranked UC Santa Barbara in the opening round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
The Gauchos, seeded seventh in the Midwest Region, had four players scoring in double figures in their 71-62 victory Sunday night over 10th-seeded Xavier.
UCSB (27-4) will face second-seeded Texas Tech, the host team, on Tuesday night.
Sophomore guard Mia Fisher led UCSB with 14 points, and 6-foot-8 center Lindsay Taylor scored 13.
Waugh was the high scorer in the game with 19 points. The 5-6 guard scored the Musketeers' last seven points in a rally that brought them within six points (68-62) with 31 seconds remaining in the game. UCSB iced the victory with three free throws.
Tara Boothe, Xavier's freshman forward, had 16 points and 13 rebounds. It was her 10th double-double of the season and her first in postseason play.
Xavier's head coach Kevin McGuff reacts to a call in the last minute of the game againt UC Santa Barbara.
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Piipari, Waugh's backcourt running mate for four years, finished with six points, both on threes.
Waugh was shut out from behind the arc for the first 29 minutes of action, but she nailed back-to-back threes in a 40-second span to shave a 47-37 UCSB lead to 47-43 with 10:16 remaining.
Xavier finished the first half with a 10-3 run to trim a 13-point deficit to six (33-27). Freshman guard Kristy Wallner triggered the comeback with a three-pointer that just beat the shot clock. Alexis Handerson also hit a three, and Waugh dropped in her second field goal of the game in the last 10 seconds after a miscue by the Gauchos.
A UCSB shot came off the rim at the same time the 30-second buzzer began to sound. Sophomore Haddy Sarr had the offensive rebound, but thinking there was a shot-clock violation (there wasn't) she dropped the ball. The Musketeers gratefully took it away.
The Musketeers began the second half with a three-pointer by Piipari and a driving layup by Waugh to pull within a point at 33-32.
The Gauchos responded by outscoring Xavier 14-5, getting six points from Kristen Mann on short jumpers and steals by Mia Fisher and Debby Caine that they took to the rack.
XAVIER (20-10) - Boothe 7-13 2-4 16, Henderson 3-8 1-2 9, Waugh 7-22 2-4 19, Piipari 2-8 0-0 6, Wallner 3-10 1-2 8, Wells 1-2 0-0 2, Sarajlija 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 23-64 8-14 62.
UC-SANTA BARBARA (27-4) - Richardson 0-2 5-6 5, Mann 5-14 1-2 12, Taylor 5-13 2-2 13, Hansen 3-8 3-5 12, Fisher 6-9 2-2 14, Bonds 0-0 0-0 0, Willett 2-5 0-0 4, Caine 2-4 2-2 7, Sarr 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 25-57 15-19 71.
Halftime-UC-Santa Barbara 33-27. 3-Point goals-Xavier 8-26 (Waugh 3-13, Henderson 2-3, Piipari 2-5, Wallner 1-5), UC-Santa Barbara 6-15 (Hansen 3-5, Taylor 1-1, Mann 1-2, Caine 1-3, Fisher 0-1, Richardson 0-1, Willett 0-2). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Xavier 37 (Boothe 13), UC-Santa Barbara 44 (Richardson 11). Assists-Xavier 7 (Waugh 3), UC-Santa Barbara 15 (Richardson 4). Total fouls-Xavier 14, UC-Santa Barbara 12. A-11,059.
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