Gauchos Face Cal Poly on Saturday
Weekly Release No. 12
• The Schedule
Saturday, January 19, 2012 at 4 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (6-10, 2-2 Big West) vs. Cal Poly (9-6, 3-1 Big West)
at Mott Gym
All-time record vs. Mustangs: 51-18
Last meeting: L, 67-52 (Feb. 4, 2012)
Streak: Lost 2
Online Audio • Video • Live Stats
• Blue-Green Rivalry Renewed
In a relatively light week for the Gauchos, UCSB will play just one game on the road against Blue-Green rival Cal Poly on Saturday at Mott Gym. Game time is slated for 4 pm. Saturday's game will be broadcast online only at UCSBgauchos.com and a video stream can be watched on BigWest.tv.
• For The Record
The Gauchos enter this week with a 6-10 overall record and an even 2-2 mark in Big West Conference play.
• How The Wild, Wild (Big) West Was Won
After two weeks of Big West play, the Gauchos are currently tied with Long Beach State in sixth place. Cal State Northridge tops the leaderboard after getting out to a 4-0 start. Cal Poly and Hawai'i both sit at 3-1 while Pacific and Cal State Fullerton are 2-1. UC Riverside (0-3), UC Davis (0-3) and UC Irvine (0-4) are all still looking for their first league wins.
• On The Road Again
The Gauchos, who have yet to play more than two consecutive home games this season, begin a three-game road swing at Cal Poly on Saturday. UCSB has gone 3-3 on opposing courts and three of its last four victories were outside the Thunderdome.
• Skid Snapped
Heading into last Saturday's game against UC Davis, the Gauchos had dropped their previous five games in the Thunderdome. With a 58-43 victory over the Aggies, UCSB was able to snap its skid and improve to 2-5 at home. The win marked the Gauchos' second largest margin of victory this season after the 60-43 win over Mississippi State (Nov. 21). UCSB had its best shooting performance (45.5%) since the win at Loyola Marymount (48.1%) on Dec. 5.
• Zornig's Career Day
Junior Melissa Zornig had a career-best 24 points in the victory over UC Davis, surpassing her previous best of 23 points, which she tallied against Pacific on Mar. 9, 2012. She surpassed her previous season-best of 13 points in the first half alone. Additionally, she had a season-best five assists and tied her season-high for rebounds with four. Her 24 points mark the most in a game by a Gaucho this season. Her 23 points against the Tigers last season also went down as the highest single-game scoring total for a UCSB player that year. For the year, Zornig ranks third on the team averaging 8.6 points per game and is second with 2.25 assists per game. In league play, she is second with an average of 11. 5 points per game.
• Tenacious D
For the second consecutive season, the Gauchos are pacing the league by limiting their opposition to a conference-low 55.2 points per game, which ranks 48th nationally. In league games, they are limiting their opponents to an average of 51.2 points per game.
• Charity Work
As a team, the Gauchos continue to impress from the free-throw line as they have made 145-of-194 attempts this season for a 74.7% percentage, which is second in the Big West and ranks 25th nationally. Junior Nicole Nesbit is second in the Big West in free-throw shooting (86.5%) and is 33rd nationally having sank 45-of-52 attempts this season.
• How Sweets It Is
Senior Sweets Underwood leads the team in both rebounding (8.6 per game) and in scoring with an average of 11.1 points per game. She ranks third in rebounding and 14th in scoring in the Big West. Her 51.1 field goal percentage is fourth among league players. Underwood is the only player in the Big West averaging 10+ points and 8+ rebounds, while shooting at least 50% from the field and 75% from the free-throw line (76.1%). If she continues at her current 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.
• Coming On Strong
2012 All-Big West Honorable Mention Nicole Nesbit has opened Big West play in strong fashion by leading the team in scoring in their first three league contests. Nesbit – who is averaging 9.8 points per game – has averaged a team-leading 12.0 so far in league play. During conference games, she ranks fifth among all Big West players in assists (4.0 per game) and is fourth in assists to turnover ratio with 1.3 assists for every turnover.
• Living In A State of Denial
By halftime last Saturday, UC Davis had scored just 11 points, which ties as the fourth fewest points scored in a half by a Gaucho opponent, tying last season's first-half output by Long Beach State (Feb. 25, 2012). UCSB has held five opponents to fewer than 20 points in the first half this season: New Mexico State (14), Oregon State (18), Washington (17), UC Irvine (17) and UC Davis (11). The game against the Aggies marked the fourth time that the Gauchos have held an opponent to fewer than 14 points in a half during the Carlene Mitchell era.
• The Flip Side
While UCSB is the top team in the league defensively, the Gauchos are last in scoring, averaging a league-low 50.6 points per game. It's also notable that the Gauchos have taken the fewest shot attempts of any Big West team, attempting a league-low 801 from the field, 131 from the three-point range and 194 from the charity stripe.
• The Board Game
The Gauchos are tops in the league in rebounding defense as they have limited their opposition to a league-low 33.1 rebounds per game. Sweets Underwood (8.6 rpg) and Kirsten Tilleman (6.5 rpg) pace the team and rank third and 10th, respectively, in the BWC. UCSB is the only Big West team with two players ranked in the top-10 in rebounding, despite ranking 10th as a team with an average of 33.4 boards per game.
• Early Lead Leads To Wins
The Gauchos have posted a 6-1 record in games that they have led at halftime. Oregon State (Nov. 20) is the only team this season to come from behind to beat UCSB.
• Mustang Musings
Cal Poly enters Saturday's game with a 9-6 overall record and has gone 3-1 in league games. The Mustangs have won four of their last five and their last three Big West pairings, including a 96-95 triple-overtime thriller over Pacific last week. Ariana Elegado is pacing the team with her 13.3 points per game average. Meanwhile, in conference play, three players are averaging double figures: Brittany Woodard (13), Molly Schlemer (13) and Elegado (12.8). The Mustangs lead the Big West in rebounds (42.5 pg), assists (16.5 pg) and assists to turnovers (0.9 to 1.0). Meanwhile, Cal Poly is second in the league in scoring (69.5 ppg), field goal percentage (40.2%) and three-point field goal percentage (33.8%).
• Gauchos vs. Mustangs
UCSB leads the all-time series against Cal Poly, 51-18. The Mustangs won both of last year's pairings. The Gauchos' last win in San Luis Obispo was a 78-64 victory on Mar. 5, 2011.
• 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 23-26.
• 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.
• Get Your Tickets
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.