As it became clear that the game would be decided by the next mistake, the two teams traded baskets until LBSU senior guard Crystal McCutcheon sank a drive for a 53-52 lead with 1:53 to go. Then, the Gauchos (6-7 2-1) blinked first, but not last. UCSB’s Jessica Wilson missed a jumper, and the Gauchos blew another scoring opportunity when LaShay Fears missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:05 remaining. LBSU rebounded but turned it over to UCSB senior point guard Karena Bonds, who made a similar play to turn the game late in UCSB’s 85-80 overtime win last season at the Pyramid, but Jenna Green was called for a charge to return the ball to the 49ers. “It certainly had that feeling, didn’t it?” UCSB coach Mark French said of the late Bonds steal and the possibility of it igniting another late Gaucho charge. “Nobody likes to lose a game, but I felt like Long Beach beat us (today), it wasn’t like we gave it to them. So if you’re going to lose, you might as well lose to a good team.” Jeannie Saunders drew a foul on a drive to the basket and hit both free throws with 33 seconds to go, and McCutcheon (a game-high 21 points) rebounded Bonds’ miss of a wide-open 3-pointer. With no choice, the Gauchos fouled McCutcheon, who hit the first free throw and rebounded her miss on the second, then was fouled and nailed two more for the final margin. And of course, the end of more than a decade of frustration. “I’ve heard lots of stories, and last year I was here when they played Santa Barbara,” said Figueroa, who finished with 13 points. “I think it was a good win, but it gets us a step closer to being conference champs. That’s what our goal is, that’s what we want.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Mary Hegarty didn’t want to talk about the streak, didn’t want to hear about the streak, and had likely grown quite weary of hearing about the streak. And this came moments after said streak was finally broken a few days shy of its 12th birthday as Long Beach State women’s basketball team edged UC Santa Barbara, 58-52, at the Walter Pyramid on Saturday. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson After falling twice while placing a lot of focus on the Gauchos as the team to beat last season, Hegarty and her players found a way to end that streak. By not focusing on it. LBSU (8-5, 1-0) trailed 48-47 with 3:56 remaining when senior Jayme Connors committed her fourth foul. On a day when she set a 49er career mark for defensive rebounds with 490, Connors stayed in the game after committing fouls on three of four UCSB possessions over a two-minute span. “I wasn’t sure what (Hegarty) was going to do,” said Connors, who glanced nervously at the 49er bench after her third foul of the game. “When I heard new people were coming in, I was kind of looking to see if it was for me or not.” Those substitutions were not for Connors, and her presence paid off as she rebounded Shantel Thomas’ missed foul shot and called timeout while falling down to retain possession for LBSU. She then scored at the other end off an assist from freshman point guard Karina Figueroa to make it 49-48, 49ers. “At practice, our cheer is ‘Big West champs,” so no one game is more important than any other,” said Hegarty. “We’ve talked at length with our players about, don’t let someone else’s message become our message … I think it’s helped our emotions stay where they need to be, at the right level to succeed, but never too high where we’re not effective, or too low. One loss isn’t the end of the world.” But the third-year coach had the weight of 28 consecutive losses, the vast majority of which came under her predecessor. Dallas Bolla’s contract wasn’t renewed in 2003 after she went winless vs. UCSB over eighth seasons.