January 25, 2012

UCSB Opens Lengthy Home Stretch vs. UC Davis & Pacific

• The Schedule
Thursday, January 26 2012,  at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Davis (12-6, 4-2)
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Series record vs. the Aggies – 11-8
Streak – Lost 5
Last time out vs. the Aggies – L, 74-70 (@ UCD, 2/5/11)
Game broadcast on AM 990 KTMS and streaming online by clicking here

Saturday, January 28 2012,  at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Pacific (10-8, 3-3)
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Series record vs. the Tigers – 49-15
Streak – Lost 1
Last time out vs. the Tigers – L, 49-45 (@ UCSB, 3/8/11)
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
• UC Davis, 1/26
The Aggies hold the second-longest active winning streak over the Gauchos, having defeated UCSB five straight times (only Stanford's 10 straight wins are better). The Gauchos' last win over UC Davis came on Feb. 21, 2009 in a 69-50 win.

• Pacific, 1/28
UOP has bragging rights over UCSB, having knocked the Gauchos out of the Big West Tournament with a first-round win last March in Santa Barbara. The Tigers have three players – Erica McKenzie, Ashley Wakefield and Kendall Rodriguez – who are averaging over 12.0 points per game.

 

• The Magic Number
It's pretty simple to know who's going to win whenever the Gauchos take the court – the team that scores 60 or more points. When UCSB hits 60, the team is 5-0. When Santa Barbara's opponents score 60 or more, the Gauchos are 1-4.

• Tenacious D
UC Santa Barbara is continuing its defensive dominance this season, holding opponents to just 50.7 points per game, best in the Big West and ranking the squad ninth in the nation. The Gauchos are also allowing opponents to shoot just 36.5% from the floor, which is the best mark in the conference and 78th in the nation. The next closest Big West team in points allowed is UC Davis (61.4 points per game, an -10.7 differential).

• This Defense Doesn't Rest
Should the Gauchos' average – or anywhere near it – hold up, it would rank as one of the best defensive seasons in school history.  The top two marks: the 1973-74 squad allowed opponents an average of 43.6 points per game, while the 2008-09 team allowed 55.5 points per game.

• Turning Things Around
As a team, UCSB is averaging just 14.2 turnovers per game, ranking it 19th in the nation. In an odd twist, UCSB is averaging 16.6 turnovers in each of its wins and 12.0 in its losses. 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.

• 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. Also, since the new millennium seven Gaucho teams rank in the single-season top-10 in opponents' points per game.


• Wake Me Up Before You Score, Girl
While the Gauchos are at the bottom of the Big West's scoring average – just 52.1 points per game – and rank 313 out of 336 teams ranked nationally in that category, 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. However, this year's team is on pace for the third-lowest point total in school history.

• Hang Ten
With Nicole Nesbit and Sweets Underwood as the Gauchos' two leading scorers at 9.2 and 8.5 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, a team that averaged 61.7 points per game.

• Climbing the Charts
With 21 points in two games last week, Emilie Johnson continued her movement up the school's all-time scoring book. With 1,197 career points Johnson stands 18th all-time. Next up for the senior from Loomis, Calif. is Kira Anthofer (1984-89) who is 17 points ahead of Johnson and Cori Close (1989-93) is 27 points in front of Johnson in 16th place all-time. Johnson has 11 20-point games in her UCSB career.

• Kelsey - It Rhymes With Three
Senior guard Kelsey Adrian has been doing a lot of her damage from beyond the arc.  Adrian is shooting 38.8% from three-point range, which leads the team and is second in the Big West. Adrian averages the eighth-most three-pointers made in the conference with 1.53 per game. The Langley, B.C. native is just two three-pointers shy of breaking into UCSB's top-10 in career treys after just 47 games as a Gaucho.


• Mason's Work
Over her past seven games, which includes five straight starts, Destini Mason has been an integral part of the team. The junior from Perris, Calif. is averaging 6.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in 22.4 minutes over that stretch. Furthermore, Mason has pulled in 32 of her 49 total rebounds and scored 45 of her 71 points in that span.

• 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. Tilleman ranks fourth in the conference with 8.0 rebounds per game and Underwood is sixth with 7.0 per game. There has been just two games this season where one of the two didn't grab at least seven rebounds.

• Tilleman's Top Ten
Rebounding is not the only spot where Kirsten Tilleman is among the Big West leaders. The junior is 7th in blocked shots (0.88 per game), 7th in offensive rebounds (2.82), 4th in defensive boards (5.18) and 5th in minutes played (32.29).

• On The Line
When it comes to free throw shooting, the Gauchos lead the Big West with a 74.2% clip from the charity stripe, which is 33rd in the country and would rank the team second in school history if that mark holds up (behind the 75.7% by the 2008-09 team). However, getting to the foul line is a completely different story. UCSB has only attempted 163 total free throws this season – an average of just 9.6 per game – ranking them last in the conference. Every other Big West school has taken at least 294 free throws this year. UCSB has taken more than 10 free throws in a game just six times this season.

• Under 50 is Nifty
In 10 of the past 14 games, UCSB has not allowed its opponents to reach the 50-point plateau, the only time in school history that has happened.

• Spark Plug
Sophomore guard Nicole Nesbit ranks second on the team in points per game, but she is adding a bit of punch off the bench. After opening the first two games of the season as a starter Nesbit has come off the bench over the past 15 and is averaging 9.6 points per game as a reserve.

• Stingy for Six
When UCSB held six straight opponents under 50 points from Nov. 19 to Dec. 16, it marked the longest such streak in program history.

• Biggest in the Big West
The Gauchos have dominated the conference for nearly two decades. Since the 1995-96 season, UCSB is 229-34 (.874) in Big West games.

• A Titan-ic Defense
By allowing just 37 points to CSUF, it marked the lowest point total allowed by the Gauchos since ... wait for it ... the team allowed 32 points to the Titans last season on Jan. 22.

• 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 - 8 points, 5 rebounds in 18 minutes @ CSUN
F    2    Kelsey Adrian - 17 points, 8 rebounds @ CSUN both season-highs
G    10    Emilie Johnson - Led team in rebounding last week (7.5 per game)
F/C    32    Kirsten Tilleman - 8.0 rebounds per game rank her fourth in the Big West
G    33    Destini Mason - Career-high 9 rebounds in win @ CSUN

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G     3    Nicole Nesbit - Leads team with nine double-digit scoring games
G    5    Madeline Campbell - Attempted a season-high 4 shots @ Long Beach
F    15    Adaeze Okolie - Played her first game this season @ Long Beach
F    21    Jackie Luna-Castro - Has played in 10 games this year, avg. 6.0 minutes per game
G     22    Melissa Zornig - 7.8 points per game in Big West play is second on the team
G    24  Angelei Aguirre - Averaging 12.2 minutes in all Big West games