Defending Big West Champions Open 2012-13 Campaign this Week

Defending Big West Champions Open 2012-13 Campaign this Week

Weekly Release No. 1

• The Schedule 

Exhibition Game
Monday, November 5, 2012 at 7 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Vanguard
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Audio • Live Stats

Game 1
Friday, November 9, 2012 at 7 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at UNLV
at UNLV's Cox Pavillion
All-time record vs. Rebels: 9-27
Last meeting: L, 46-44 (Dec. 10, 2011)
Online Audio 

• Two-Year Thunderdome Celebration Begins
In 2012-13, UC Santa Barbara will begin a two-year 35th anniversary celebration of the Thunderdome. The #thunderdome35 celebration includes commemorative 2012-13 season tickets that feature some of the greatest players to ever compete on the Thunderdome court. The players will also be remembered during Gaucho men's and women's basketball home broadcasts as well as on the Gauchos in Thirty television show and online at 

• Get Your Tickets
Season tickets and single game tickets for women's basketball are available at the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.

• Exhibitionists
UCSB will host Vanguard in its only exhibition game of the 2012-13 season on Monday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Thunderdome. The Gauchos and Lions will play five days before UCSB heads to UNLV for its official season opener. 

• On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 1290 KZSB and will stream live online at and Mitchell Clement will serve as the play-by-play voice for the Gauchos. Former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB star Don Ford will handle the color commentary.

• Talk'n Gauchos
UCSB Athletics' weekly radio show, Talk'n Gauchos, airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1290 KZSB. The show is broadcast live from The Beachside Café, located on Goleta Beach and it features UCSB coaches and athletes.  The show is hosted by Gerry Fall, the Voice of the Gauchos.

• We Are The (Defending) Champions
The 2011-12 Gauchos captured the program's 14th Big West crown after a stunning run through the league's tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the 14th time. UCSB returns eight of its letterwinners from last year's championship team, including three starters. Among the returners are Big West Tournament MVP, Kirsten Tilleman, and Honorable Mention All-Big West honoree, Nicole Nesbit

• Mitchell Readies For Round Two
Head coach Carlene Mitchell will look to build upon a great ending to her first season at the helm of the Gauchos – which included the aforementioned Big West Tournamet title and NCAA Tournament berth – in 2012-13. In addition to compiling a 17-16 record in her first campaign, she was also named one of three finalists for the Spalding Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year award, which is presented by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.  

• Mondays With Mitchell
Speaking of Coach Mitchell, she can be heard every Monday on a special KZSB 1290 AM segement with the Baron Ron Herron, appropriately titled "Mondays With Mitchell" at 8:50 a.m.

• Preseason Predictions
In a preseason poll of the media, UCSB was picked to finish third in the Big West Conference in 2012-13, receiving 153 points and three of 16 first-place votes. Cal State Northridge was picked first with 161 points and six first-place votes and Pacific was picked second with 159 points and five first-place votes. Cal Poly (127 points), Long Beach State (116 points), Hawaii (81 points), UC Davis (80 points), UC Riverside (74 points), UC Irvine (65 points) and Cal State Fullerton (29 points), rounded out the poll. 

• Making Excellence A Habit
UCSB will be aiming for its 22nd winning season in the last 23 years. Dating back to the 1990-91 season, the Gauchos have finished the season with a sub-.500 record just once: in 2009-10 (15-17). UCSB has won the Big West regular season title 14 of the past 17 seasons and has captured the tournament crown 14 times.

• A Wealth Of Experience
Of this year's eight returners, four played in all 33 games last season: Sweets Underwood, Nicole Nesbit, Melissa Zornig and Kirsten Tilleman. Destini Mason, meanwhile, appeared in all but one game during the 2011-12 campaign. Tilleman averaged a team-leading 31.9 minutes on the floor while Underwood is second among returners with an average of 25.6 minutes. 

• Getting Defensive
They say defense wins championships and the Gauchos proved that last season as they held opponents to just 52.5 points per game, which was the best in the Big West and ranked the squad ninth in the nation. UCSB allowed opponents to shoot just 36.4 from the floor, which was the best mark in the league and 51st in the nation. 

• Taming The Lions
This marks the second consecutive season that the Gauchos have tipped-off their season with a home exhibition against Vanguard, an NAIA program. Last year, UCSB posted a 62-58 win over the Lions on Nov. 1. 

• Running Down The Rebels
Friday's meeting will be the 36th between the Gauchos and UNLV. The Rebels have posted a 27-9 all-time record in games against UCSB. The teams last met on Dec. 10, 2011 at the Thunderdome when UNLV edged the Gauchos, 46-44. Melissa Zornig and Nicole Nesbit led the team with 13 and 11 points, respectively. The Gauchos have won three of their last four contests in Las Vegas. 

• The Dome Is Where The Heart Is
UCSB posted a 9-6 record at home during the 2011-12 campaign. The Gauchos also carry a four-game home win streak into this season. UCSB is 294-127 (.698) all-time at the Thunderdome and has accumulated winning home records during 21 of the last 23 seasons. 

• And We're Off
In Vegas on Friday, UCSB will be looking for its first season-opening win since the 2008-09 season when it knocked off San Diego, 75-66, to begin the year. The Gauchos have gone 22-18 all-time in their season-openers. 

• Senior Citizens
The Gaucho roster features four seniors this year – Kirsten Tilleman, Sweets Underwood, Destini Mason and Angelei Aguirre – marking the first time since 2009-10 that UCSB has had more than two seniors on the team.  That season the team boasted five.