SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UCSB women's basketball team officially ushered in the 2013-14 season with the start of regular season practice last week. Though only having gone through eight full practices, Head Coach Carlene Mitchell is pleased with what she has seen so far, especially from the seniors.
"The leadership has been stellar," Mitchell said. "Their growth as on-the-court and vocal leaders has been instrumental in our practices."
Leading the Class of 2014 is two-time All-Big West Honorable Mention Nicole Nesbit. The senior guard is coming off her best offensive season as a Gaucho, averaging 10.5 points per game. She became a starter in 2012 after coming off the bench as an underclassman.
"Nesbit has developed into the ultimate point guard," Mitchell commented. "She is leading this team by example and is holding her teammates accountable which all great teams must have. We look for her to have a breakout season."
Destini Mason is also entering her final season as a Gaucho. In 2012-13, she had a career season in which she reached new heights in most statistical categories. She was also one of four Gauchos to play in all 33 games last year.
"She has worked extremely hard over the summer to make herself into one of the premier guards in the conference," Mitchell noted. "Her ability to play multiple positions will be invaluable to our young team."
Also in her senior year is sharp shooter Melissa Zornig. She led the Gauchos in three-point shooting last year with a 32.5 shooting percentage beyond the arc. She also finished third on the roster with 265 total points.
"Zornig has been the most consistent player during our first week of practice," Mitchell said. "As a senior, she is practicing with a sense of urgency and confidence that comes with time and experience."
UCSB will rely on the play and leadership of this group as more than half the roster will be underclassmen.
"The three seniors have exceeded all expectations as leaders in practice, in the locker room, and in guiding our young team off the court," Mitchell said.
"As a coach, it is so rewarding to see them grow as young women," she continued. "Their desire to leave their legacy on a storied program and to have them as an extension of our staff and the program we are building."
Be there to see Nesbit, Mason, and Zornig lead the Gauchos though the 2013-14 season starting on Nov. 4th when the Gauchos host Vanguard in the Thunderdome. Season tickets are on sale now at the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on the UCSB campus, over the phone at 805-893-UCSB, or online here.