UCSB Opens Big West Play at UC Irvine, Long Beach State

Weekly Release No. 10

• The Schedule
Game 13
Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 7 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (4-8, 0-0 Big West) at UC Irvine (4-8, 0-0 Big West)
at Bren Center
All-time record vs. Anteaters: 57-26
Last meeting: W, 61-51 (Mar. 6, 2012)
Streak: Won 1
Online Audio • Video • Live Stats

Game 14
Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 4 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Long Beach State (7-5, 0-0 Big West)
at Walter Pyramid
All-time record vs. 49ers: 47-21
Last meeting: W, 63-54 (Mar. 10, 2012)
Streak: Won 2
Online Audio • Video • Live Stats 

• Listen Live
The majority of UCSB basketball games will be broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 1290 KZSB, but this week's pair will be streamed online only at UCSBgauchos.com. Mitchell Clements will serve as the play-by-play voice for the Gauchos.

Defending Tournament Champions Open 2013 Conference Play
2011-12 Big West Tournament Champion UC Santa Barbara will open league play this week on the road as the Gauchos travel to UC Irvine on Thursday, Jan. 3 and Long Beach State on Saturday, Jan. 5. 

For The Record
UCSB enters league play with a 4-8 overall record and a 2-2 record on opposing courts. The Gauchos will be looking to extend their four-game win streak against league opponents dating back to last season. UCSB will also be looking to snap its current three-game losing skid, which ties its longest of the season. 

• Familiar Territory
At 4-8, UCSB is in familiar territory as it opens conference play. UCSB has had just two seasons – 2010-11 and 2003-04 – in which it has opened league play with a .500 or better mark.

• Battle For The Big West Begins
The Gauchos will be seeking to claim their 14th Big West regular season title in the past 17 years and to defend their 2012 tournament title. In a preseason poll of the media, UCSB was picked to finish third in the conference 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. 

 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

• Conference Openers
Only twice in the last 17 seasons has UC Santa Barbara dropped a Big West Conference opener: a 70-57 defeat at UC Riverside on Dec. 28, 2006 and a narrow 61-58 loss at Cal Poly on Dec. 31, 2011. 

• Living The Sweets Life
Senior Sweets Underwood currently ranks in the Big West's top-10 in a multitude of statistical categories. Underwood is second in field goal percentage (51.9%), third in rebounding (9.0 per game), seventh in free-throw percentage (78.4%) and 11th in points per game (11.4). She is the current UCSB team leader in points and rebounds per game and has led the team with four double-doubles thus far. If she continues at this clip, Underwood could become the first Gaucho to lead the team in points and rebounds in a season since Jessica Wilson did during the 2007-08 campaign. Underwood has led the team – or tied for the team lead – in points and rebounds in the last six games. 

• Charity Work
As a team, the Gauchos have been impressive from the free-throw line as they have made 101-of-134 attempts this season for a 75.4% percentage, which is first in the Big West and ranks 22nd nationally. Junior Nicole Nesbit is second in the Big West in free-throw shooting (88.2%) and is 23rd nationally having sank 30-of-34 attempts this season. 

• The Board Game
Senior Kirsten Tilleman ranks fifth in the Big West with an average of 5.0 defensive rebounds per game. She is second on the team with an average of 7.0 boards per game, pacing slightly behind her 2011-12 team-leading average of 8.4.  

• Denied
Senior Angelei Aguirre entered this season with 17 career blocks and in the first 12 games alone, she has already posted a team-leading 12. She ranks 10th in the Big West in blocked shots and has had two or more on three occasions: UNLV (2), New Mexico State (4) and Washington (2). 

• Defensive Behavior
Last season, UCSB limited its opposition to an average of 52.5 points, which led the Big West and ranked ninth nationally. This season, the Gauchos are once again pacing the league by limiting their opposition to a conference-low 56.5 points per game, which ranks 74th nationally. UCSB is holding its opposition to just 37.8% shooting, which is fourth in the league. Additionally, the Gauchos are tops in the league in rebounding defense as they have limited their opposition to a league-low 33.8 rebounds per game. 

• Suddenly Seeking Scoring
While the Gauchos are solid on the defensive end, they have struggled to score. As a team, UCSB is 10th in the 10-team league in points per game (50.3), averaging 6.7 points less than ninth-ranked UC Irvine. The Gauchos are also 10th in rebounds as they average a league-low 33.2 boards per game. Meanwhile, UCSB is eighth in three-point field goal percentage (27.2%) and has made the fewest attempts from beyond the arc of any Big West team (92). 

• About The Anteaters
UC Irvine enters Thursday's pairing with a 4-8 record. The Anteaters have won two of their last three games, but are 0-4 on their home floor this season. UCSB leads the all-time series, 57-26, with UCI and went 1-2 in last year's series with the team. After facing a pair of losses during the 2011-12 regular season, UCSB defeated UCI, 61-51, during their last meeting: the first round of the Big West Tournament. 

Focusing On The 49ers
Long Beach State enters this week with a 7-5 overall record and will play Cal Poly on Thursday before facing the Gauchos. UCSB leads the all-time series with the 49ers, 47-21, and has won the last two pairings, including a 63-54 victory in the teams' last meeting - the Big West Tournament Championship game on Mar. 10, 2012. 

• The Mitchell File
Head coach Carlene Mitchell is looking to build upon a great ending to her first season at the helm of the Gauchos – which included a Big West Tournament 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. Her career record with the Gauchos currently stands at 21-24. 

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

 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 UCSBgauchos.com.