January 30, 2012

Legend of the 'Dome Ceremony, ESPN Game Highlight Women's Basketball Week

• The Schedule
Tuesday, January 31 2012,  at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at USC (10-9)
at The Galen Center (6,000)
Series record vs. the Trojans – 11-14
Streak – Lost 2
Last time out vs. the Trojans – L, 67-64 (@ USC, 3/17/11)
Game broadcast on AM 990 KTMS and streaming online by clicking here

Saturday, February 4 2012,  at 2:00 p.m.
*Legend of the 'Dome Ceremony*
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal Poly (8-12, 5-3)
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Series record vs. the Mustangs – 49-15
Streak – Lost 1
Last time out vs. the Mustangs – L, 61-58 (@ CP, 12/31/11)
Game broadcast on AM 990 KTMS and streaming online by clicking here
Game broadcast live on ESPN3.com

The Opponents
• USC, 1/31
A year after losing to the Trojans in the WNIT, UCSB will head to Los Angeles to face USC (10-9). The Trojans have four players who average double figures this season although one of them, senior Jacki Gemelos, tore her ACL and is out for the season.
• Cal Poly, 2/4
The Gauchos dropped a three-point decision to the Mustangs on New Year's Eve in SLO. Cal Poly is tied for second at 5-3 in conference play and are led by Kristina Santiago (23.3 ppg, 10.2 rpg).

• CLASS-y Lady
Senior Emilie Johnson has been named one of 10 finalists nationwide for the Lowe's Senior CLASS award, given annually to the best senior who exemplifies hard work on the court, in the community and great character. Johnson is the first Gaucho to be chosen one of the 10 finalists. Fans can vote for Johnson by going to www.seniorclassaward.com.

• For The Record
At 3-5 in Big West play, the Gauchos have dropped more games than they did all of last conference season and are in danger of becoming the first UCSB team since the 1989-90 squad to post a losing conference record. Two seasons ago, the 2009-10 Gaucho team was 5-7 at one point but finished 9-7 in the Big West and went to the semifinals of the Big West Tournament.

• Big West Woes
The last Gaucho team to be three games under during the conference season was in February, 1990 a Gaucho team that held a 6-9 mark. That was the last Gaucho team to finish the conference season with a sub-.500 record.

• Tenacious D
UC Santa Barbara is continuing its defensive dominance this season, holding opponents to just 50.8 points per game, best in the Big West and ranking the squad seventh in the nation. The Gauchos are also allowing opponents to shoot just 36.6% from the floor, which is the best mark in the conference and 73rd in the nation. The next closest Big West team in points allowed is UC Davis (62.0 points per game, an -11.2 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.

• UCSB or UCS-D?
The above defensive 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.

• 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.

• Turning Things Around
As a team, UCSB is averaging just 14.3 turnovers per game, ranking it 17th in the nation. In an odd twist, UCSB is averaging 16.6 turnovers in each of its wins and 12.5 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.

• Climbing the Charts
With 17 points in two games last week, Emilie Johnson continued her movement up the school's all-time scoring book. With 1,214 career points Johnson is tied with Kira Anthofer (1984-89) for 17th all-time. Johnson, a native of Loomis, Calif. is just 10 points behind Cori Close (1989-93) for 16th place all-time. Johnson has 11 20-point games in her UCSB career.

• Top-Ten Time
It's not just career points where Emilie Johnson ranks among the best in UCSB history. Johnson is third in career three-pointers made (190, 25 behind Jess Hansen), second in career three-pointers attempted (582, 27 behind Erin Alexander), 11th in career assists (298, 9 behind Jessica Wilson) and second in career free throw percentage.

• Wake Me Up Before You Score, Girl
UCSB is at the bottom of the Big West's scoring average – just 51.6 points per game – and rank 320 out of 336 teams ranked nationally in that category, they still are not on pace to set a school record. The lowest per game average by a UCSB team was 45.2 in the 1973-74 season. 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 9.4 and 8.4 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.

• Kelsey - It Rhymes With Three
Senior guard Kelsey Adrian has been doing a lot of her damage from beyond the arc.  Adrian is shooting 35.6% from three-point range, which leads the team and is ninth in the Big West. Adrian averages the ninth-most three-pointers made in the conference with 1.37 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 49 games as a Gaucho.

• 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 third in the conference with 8.3 rebounds per game and Underwood is seventh with 6.8 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 6th in blocked shots (0.89 per game), 6th in offensive rebounds (2.84), 3rd in defensive boards (5.24) and 6th in minutes played (32.00).

• Spark Plug
Sophomore guard Nicole Nesbit leads the team in points per game, averaging 9.4 and has 11 double-digit games this season. The thing is, she's been doing her damage off the bench. After opening the first two games of the season as a starter, Nesbit has come off the bench over the past 17 and is averaging 9.7 points per game as a reserve.

• On The Line
When it comes to free throw shooting, the Gauchos are third in the Big West with a 72.4% clip from the charity stripe, which is 57th in the country and would rank the team fourth in school history if that mark holds up. However, getting to the foul line is a completely different story. UCSB has only attempted 192 total free throws this season – an average of just 10.1 per game – ranking them last in the conference. Every other Big West school has taken at least 309 free throws this year.

• Biggest in the Big West
The Gauchos have dominated the conference for nearly two decades. Since the 1995-96 season, UCSB is 229-36 (.871) in Big West games.

• 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.

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
F     1    Sweets Underwood - 1 rebound vs. Pacific was lowest total since 2/5/11 vs. UCD
F    2    Kelsey Adrian - 10 total pts, 3 reb in 2 games last week after 17 pts, 8 reb @ CSUN
G    10    Emilie Johnson - Is 2nd all-time in career free throw percentage at UCSB
F/C    32    Kirsten Tilleman - 8.3 rebounds per game is 3rd in the Big West
G    33    Destini Mason - Career-high 4 assists vs. Pacific

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G     3    Nicole Nesbit - Has reached double-digits in 4 straight 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 - Scored 4 points in 5 combined minutes last week
G     22    Melissa Zornig - 3rd on the team with 28.3 minutes played per game
G    24  Angelei Aguirre - Averaging 12.4 minutes in all Big West games

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