UCSB Faces New Mexico State, UTEP on the Road

UCSB Faces New Mexico State, UTEP on the Road

• The Schedule
Monday, December 19, 2011,  at 6:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at New Mexico State (1-7)
at NMSU's Pan American Center (12,482)
Series record vs. the Aggies – 13-4
Streak – Won 7
Last time out vs. the Aggies – W, 86-65 (@ NMSU, 1/29/00)
Game broadcast on AM 990 KTMS and streaming online by clicking here

Wednesday, December 21, 2011,  at 6:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at UTEP (10-0)
at UTEP's Don Haskins Center (12,000)
Series record vs. the Miners – 1-1
Streak – Won 1
Last time out vs. the Miners – W, 68-50 (@ UCSB, 12/11/10)
Game broadcast on AM 990 KTMS and streaming online by clicking here

• On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 990 KTMS and will stream live online by clicking here with the pregame show starting 30 minutes prior to tipoff.

The Opponents
• New Mexico State, 12/19
The Aggies, formerly of the Big West Conference, are 1-7 which includes an 0-5 mark at home. Tabytha Wampler is the lone NMSU player who scores in double figures with a 13.5 points per game average and she carries a 9.4 rebound per game mark. The Aggies average 53.4 points and allow 64.9 points to opponents. The Aggies are coached by former USC head coach, Mark Trakh, who is in his first season.

• UTEP, 12/21
The Miners, who are a perfect 10-0, average nearly 72 points per game and have four players who average 6.8 points per game or more. Gloria Brown, who has not started a game this season, leads the team with her 12.0 points per game average. UTEP has played seven home games and come off victories over two UCSB opponents _ Northern Colorado and LMU. Keitha Adams is the head coach, now in her 11th season.

• Tenacious D
UC Santa Barbara is continuing its defensive dominance this season, holding opponents to just 49.7 points per game. The Gauchos are also allowing opponents to shoot just 35.5% from the floor, which is the best mark in the conference. UCSB is far and away the best defensive team in the conference, as the next closest Big West team in points allowed is Cal State Fullerton (64.1 points per game, a -14.4 differential). Based on its defense, UCSB also leads the conference in scoring margin (+2.2), 3-point field goal percentage defense (27.5%) and the difference

• Under 50 is Nifty
Over the past six games, UCSB has not allowed any of its opponents to reach the 50-point plateau, the first time in school history that has happened. The team is allowing just 45.0 points per game and allowing its opponents to shoot just 33.6%. The team stands just 3-3 in those games despite not allowing an opponent to make at least 20 field goals in any of those games. In that same six-game stretch the Gauchos are averaging 49.8 points per game.

• UCSB or UCS-D?
The above notes shouldn't be a surprise because last year UCSB led the conference in field goal percentage defense (18th in the nation) at 35.5%. In 2009-10, UCSB allowed opponents to shoot 36.3%, which was 31st in the nation, and in 2008-09, the Gauchos allowed opponents to hit 34.6% of their shots, ranking eighth in the country.

• How Sweets It Is!
Junior forward Sweets Underwood opened the season with four straight double-digit games, and prior to the Pepperdine game, had not cracked the 10-point barrier in her previous four games. That all changed as Underwood had a game-high and career-high 18 points in the 54-44 win. The Compton, Calif. native is averaging 9.7 points per game, which leads the team, as does her 8.8 rebounds per game. For her efforts, Underwood was named the CollegeSportsMadness.com Big West Player of the Week.

• West Coast is the Best Coast
While the Big West Conference is expanding – Hawai'i will join in 2012-13 and San Diego State in 2013-14 – the UCSB women's basketball team might be considering joining the West Coast Conference. Of course, we write that in jest, but all four of UCSB's wins this season have come against the WCC as Santa Barbara has knocked off Saint Mary's, Loyola Marymount, the University of San Francisco and Pepperdine.

• Downtown Girl
Senior guard Kelsey Adrian has reached double figures in four of the team's past five games, and has been doing a lot of her damage from beyond the arc. After going 3-for-5 from downtown in the win over Pepperdine, Adrian is now shooting 46.7% from three-point range, which leads the team and ties her for first in the Big West. The Langley, B.C. native is averaging 6.9 points per game. Adrian averages the eighth-most three-pointers made in the conference with 1.56 per game.

• Z is for Zornig
Sophomore guard Melissa Zornig has scored 38 points (12.7 per game) in the past three games – which leads the team over that stretch. The sophomore guard is averaging 7.2 points per game on the season, ranking her fourth on the team and her 11 3-pointers are tied for second-most on the Gauchos.

• Movin' On Up
With six more points last week, Emilie Johnson is closing in on a top-20 mark in the school's all-time scoring book. Johnson needs just 12 more points to surpass Jess Hansen (1999-2003) for 19th place in school history and she is 15 away from overtaking Jessica Wilson (2004-08) for 18th all-time. Johnson has 11 20-point games in her UCSB career and her 9.1 points per game is second on the team.

• Turning Things Around
In an odd twist, UCSB is averaging 17.5 turnovers in each of its wins and 13.4 in its losses. As a team the Gauchos turn the ball over just 15.2 times per game – the XX lowest mark in the nation. It's a far cry from just two seasons ago when the Gauchos committed 649 total turnovers (20.3 per game) in the 2009-10 season, the eighth-highest mark in program history.

• Hang Ten
With Sweets Underwood and Emilie Johnson as the Gauchos' two leading scorers at 9.7 and 9.1 points per game, respectively, the team does not have a scorer averaging 10.0 or more points per game. Only once in UCSB program history has a team not had at least one player average double digits. That came in 1982-83 when Thyra Ladyman led the way with 9.7 points per game.

• On The Line
When it comes to free throw shooting, the Gauchos are one of the best in the Big West as they sport a 72.9% clip from the charity stripe, which is second in the conference. That number would rank the team in the program's single-season top-10. However, getting to the foul line is a completely different story. UCSB has only attempted 107 total free throws this season – an average of just 11.9 per game – ranking them last in the conference. Every other Big West school has taken at least 148 free throws this year.

• Board Games
Santa Barbara's two frontcourt stalwarts – Kirsten Tilleman and Sweets Underwood – are two of the best rebounders in relation to their Big West peers. Underwood is third in the conference with her 8.8 rebounds per game mark and Tilleman is right behind her, with 8.3 boards per game. There has been just one game this season where one of the two didn't grab at least seven rebounds.

• Making It Rain
At her current pace, Kelsey Adrian will likely break into UCSB's top-10 in career three-pointers. The senior, who has played in just 39 games as a Gaucho has knocked down 66 total treys in the blue and gold and is just 14 away from the school's top-10.

• Looking Back
At this point last season UCSB's record was an identical 4-5. UCSB finished the season 15-7 and won its 14th Big West title in the past 16 seasons.

• Score-Bored
While the Gauchos are at the bottom of the Big West's scoring average – just 51.9 points per game – yet, they still are not on pace to set a school record. The lowest points per game a UCSB team scored was 45.2 in the 1973-74 season.

• Biggest in the Big West
The Gauchos have dominated the conference for more than a decade. Since the 1995-96 season, UCSB is 226-31 (.883) in Big West games.

• At the Polls
In the preseason media poll, UCSB was picked to finish second in the Big West behind Cal Poly despite receiving the same number of first place votes (11) as the Mustangs. Cal Poly had 200 total points to UCSB's 191 followed by UC Davis (169 points, two first place votes) and UC Riverside (120).

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
F     1    Sweets Underwood - Scored a career-high 18 points in win over Pepperdine
F    2    Kelsey Adrian - Leads team with her 46.7% from downtown
G    10    Emilie Johnson - Her 35.3 minutes per game leads all conference players
G     22    Melissa Zornig - Over last three games is averaging 12.7 points per game
F/C    32    Kirsten Tilleman - Has at least 7 rebounds in all but two games this year

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G     3    Nicole Nesbit - 3rd on the team in points (8.7) and 2nd in assists (2.7)
G    5    Madeline Campbell - 12 minutes in win over LMU was a season-high
F    15    Adaeze Okolie - Injury has kept her sidelined thus far
F    21    Jackie Luna-Castro - 20 of her 38 total minutes have come in her last 3 games
G    24  Angelei Aguirre - Has taken just 3 shots this season, but has made all of them
G    33    Destini Mason - After starting 5 straight, has played just 8 minutes in last 3 games