The No.1-seeded Wickmayer came storming out of the gates, reeling off five games in a row to surge ahead, 5-0. Gibbs, the No.5 seed, sunk her teeth into the match from there - she won three of the next four games to drop a tight first set, 6-3, then won four of the next five to go up 4-1 in the second.
But Wickmayer has been ranked as high as No.12 in the world for a reason and she lifted her game when she needed it most, breaking back and eventually sneaking past the finish line, 6-3, 7-6(4).
It's been a strong fall for the Belgian - she recently won her fourth WTA title at the International-level Japan Women's Open Tennis in Tokyo, and now the WTA 125K Series-level Carlsbad Classic.
"It's great finishing my year off with a title," Wickmayer said after the final. "It's my second title in a very short time, so I'm very excited and very happy to be able to finish my 2015 season in this way."
Her other season highlights included two more WTA semifinals, at Prague and Guangzhou, as well as a run to the fourth round of the Australian Open - her first second week at a major since 2011.
"This week has been huge for next year," Wickmayer explained. "It's a very good start. I've been practicing next to my matches, so it's very nice to see improvement and progress in my game.
"I'm very excited to start the 2016 season off this way as well."
Gibbs, a former collegiate standout who has been working her way up the WTA Rankings over the last few years, was playing the biggest final of her career. She lives in California too (Santa Monica).
And so, the WTA 125K Series has officially wrapped up for the 2015 season. Carlsbad was the sixth stop on the circuit, with Jelena Jankovic winning in Nanchang, China, Zheng Saisai winning in Dalian, China, Yaroslava Shvedova winning in Hua Hin, Thailand, Caroline Garcia winning in Limoges, France, Timea Babos winning in Taipei, Chinese Taipei, and finally Wickmayer winning in Carlsbad, USA.
As of now, there are seven WTA 125K Series events scheduled for 2016: San Antonio, Texas, USA; West Hempstead, New York, USA; Bol, Croatia; Hua Hin; Limoges; Taipei; and Carlsbad.