Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 at 2pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. University of Arizona
at The Thunderdome
All-time record vs. Wildcats: 6-10
Radio: KZSB 1290 AM
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
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 as many home games.
Taming the Tigers
On Sunday, UCSB played its first game ever against Occidental College and came away with a 76-54 blowout victory. Since Carlene Mitchell took the helm two seasons ago, the 22-point differential is the largest win margin the Gauchos have recorded. UCSB held a lead as large as 26 points and never trailed by more than six. Nicole Nesbit led Santa Barbara with 17 points and six assists, while fellow senior Destini Mason added 16 points.
UCSB's 76 points against the Tigers marked the fourth time during Carlene Mitchell's tenure that the team broke the 70-point barrier. The final score is tied for the second-most points the Gauchos have scored with Coach Mitchell at the helm, as it matches the offensive output UCSB put up at Loyola Marymount last season (12/1/12). The highest point total the Gauchos have had under Mitchell was garnered in the team's 84-66 victory over Pacific in the 2012 Big West Tournament semifinals.
The Best Offense is a Good Defense
After forcing 20 Tiger turnovers, the Gauchos cashed in on 25 points. UCSB had 16 turnovers themselves, but limited the Tigers to just 10 points off those change of possessions.
Owning the Paint
Despite the Tigers' taller players, the Gauchos outscored Occidental in the paint 42-12. Adding to that, UCSB also held the edge in rebounds with a 42-27 comparison. Mi'Chael Wright and Kendra Morrison, who both started the game, led the Gauchos in that category with seven boards each.
Ware'd the Ball Go?
Jasmine Ware put up career numbers in UCSB's season opener. The sophomore drained 12 points –shooting 6-11 from the field– and came away with four steals. She also tied a career-best with a trio of assists. Ware accomplished this while playing 20 minutes off the bench. She helped the Gauchos score in transition with her rebounding efforts, gathering five boards on the afternoon.
All Hands on Deck
Against Occidental College, all nine Gauchos played at least 15 minutes. The bench contributed 25 points as Ware led the reserves with 12. Of all the newcomers, Mi'Chael Wright was the only one who earned a starting roll against the Tigers. The freshman forward pulled down a game-high seven rebounds and put up six points in her 25 minutes of play.
Wrangling the Wildcats
Last year, Arizona graduated Davellyn Whyte as its second all-time leading scorer (2,059). Trying to fill her spot as the Wildcats' go-to offensive player has been Candice Warthen who has averaged 21.5 points through Arizona's two games this season, while Kama Griffits has averaged 15. At the Iona Tip-Off Tournament, the Wildcats fell in overtime losses to Iona (82-75) and Michigan (73-71). Both Workhorses, Warthen and Griffits have averaged 42 and 35 minutes of play, respectively.
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. Including her recent 17-point performance, Nesbit has netted 852 points in her career and is well on pace to join UCSB's 1,000-point club. She will need to average 12.3 points per game to reach the milestone before the start of the conference schedule on Jan. 11.
In Our Defense
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 in the 2011-12 season, her team allowed only 53.2 ppg –7th nationally.
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.
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.