UCSB Tips Off 2013-14 with Exhibition Against Vanguard

UCSB Tips Off 2013-14 with Exhibition Against Vanguard

Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 at 7pm
UC Santa Barbara vs.Vanguard
Radio: KZSB 1290 AM
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Video: BigWest.tv
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com

Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 at 2pm
UC Santa Barbara vs.Occidental College
Radio: KZSB 1290 AM
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Video: BigWest.tv
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com

Dome Sweet Dome
UC Santa Barbara will host its first three games of the 2013-14 season in the Thunderdome. It is the first time since the 2007-08 season since the Gauchos opened their schedule with that many home games.    

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.

On the Radio
Most games will be broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 1290 KZSB, while every game will stream live online at UCSBgauchos.com and NewsPress.com. Mitchell Clements 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.

2012-13 Season Recap
Last season, UCSB played in the postseason for 16th time in the past 17 seasons by competing in its fifth WNIT. The Gauchos finished the season overal 16-17 and 11-7 in Big West play, qualifying for the fourth seed in the conference tournament. Senior Sweets Underwood and junior Nicole Nesbit were both recognized by the Big West for their standout play on the floor, as Underwood was named first-team all-conference while Nesbit was an honorable mention. Underwood finished the season with a team-high 401 points and became the 24th player in program history to score 1,000 or more career points.

Nesbit On Point
Nicole Nesbit leads a talented senior class heading into the new season. Becoming a perennial starter as a junior last year, she is coming off her most prolific offensive season as she scored 348 points, second most on the team. Nesbit has netted 835 points in her career and is well on pace to join UCSB's 1,000-point club. She will need to average 12.7 points per game to reach the milestone before the start of the conference schedule on Jan. 11.  

Tenacious D
Since Carlene Mitchell has been head coach, the Gauchos have led the league the past two seasons in scoring defense. Last season, UCSB held its opponents to just 52.4 points per game– 19th in the nation – and allowed only 53.2 ppg –7th nationally.

Hosting the Lions
The Vanguard Lions as the No. 1 team in the NAIA Div. 1 Preseason Coach's poll. The team is the reigning Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) champion and is poised to capture its 11th conference crown under three-time GSAC Coach of the Year Russ Davis. Senior point guard Nicole Ballestero will look to lead the Lions on offense, as she averaged 21.4 ppg last year.   

Sharp Shooting Guard
Along with Nesbit, Melissa Zornig and Destini Mason are entering their final seasons at UCSB. Zornig has built her career around being an offensive spark for the Gauchos. She most notably averaged 16.7 points per game through the 2012 Big West Tournament, helping her team capture the conference crown. Last season, Zornig paced the team in three-point shooting as she made 32.5 percent of her looks from neyond the arc. Overall, recorded career-highs in the 2012-13 year as she finished the season with 37.9 field goal percentage while averaging 2.2 assists per game.  

Destini Calling
Senior Destini Mason has been described by Head Coach Carlene Mitchell as 'blue collar player.' There is no doubt that Mason works hard. As a junior last season, led all UCSB guards with 124 rebounds in 33 games, while also recording the third-most steals on the team with 19. Mason hit her stride towards the end of last season as she earned starts in the last six games of the season, averaging 32.2 minutes in that run.

Big West Preseason Poll
In the the conference's preseason media poll, the Gauchos were selected to finish fifth in the Big West, receiving 100 total votes. The defending champion Cal Poly was selected as the No. 1 team in the poll with its 17 first-place votes. Hawai'i will be entering its second season as a member of the Big West and was picked to finish second.  

Class of 2017
UCSB welcomes a talented group of freshmen to their roster this season. Onome Jemerigbe is a point guard who experienced consistent success at the high school level as she helped St. Mary's HS (Stockton, Calif.) to two CIF State Championships and four state semifinals. At forward, Mi'Chael Wright brings a physical presence to the low post. At Chaminade HS, Wright averaged 15 points as a senior while also grabbing 290 rebounds. She was named her league's CIF Player of the Year as a senior. Melissa Maragnes will add much needed height to the team this season at 6-2. With a mix of her size and athleticism, Maragnes set St. Monica High's single-season blocks record with 60.

Two-Year Thunderdome Celebration Continues
In 2013-14, UC Santa Barbara will continue its two-year 35th anniversary celebration of the Thunderdome.  In the Fall of 1979, the doors officially opened for UCSB's Events Center and a new era in Gaucho Athletics was born. Nicknamed the Thunderdome, the Events Center has been home for UCSB's prolific women's basketball program for decades. Under the bright lights of the 'Dome, the Gauchos became one of the NCAA's most consistent team as it has qualified for 12 NCAA Tournaments and five WNITs.

The Mitchell File
Head coach Carlene Mitchell has led the Gauchos to two postseason berths through her first two seasons at the helm. She is the first UCSB coach in program history to accomplish that feat. In 2012-13, the Gauchos competed in the WNIT, while in Mitchell's inaugural season the team captured the Big West crown and competed in the NCAA Tournament. In each of her seasons, Mitchell has coached two players to all-conference status, while also coached 1,000-point scorer Sweets Underwood in her most prolific scoring season. Mitchell has seen two of her players take their talents overseas to play at the professional level as Emilie Johnson is competing in Poland with Riviera Gdynia, while Sweets Underwood is now playing in Germany with the Gruner Stern Keltran Basketball Team.