December 18, 2013

Gauchos Return to Thunderdome for Three Game Homestand

Schedule
Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 at 7pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. Utah State (5-3)
at The Thunderdome
All-time record vs. Aggies: 5-1
Last Time: W: 86-51
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com

Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 at 2pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. Nevada (4-6)
at The Thunderdome
All-time record vs. Wolf Pack: 17-4
Last Time: L: 59-43
Radio: KZSB 1290 AM
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com  

Dome, Sweet Dome
The Gauchos look to end their current two-game losing skid this week when they host Utah State and Nevada. The team has also dropped its past two home games, but it will look to boost its record with a season-long three game homestand.

Week in Review
UCSB played its first game in 10 days last Sunday when they visited Kansas State. The Wildcats successfully defended home court and beat the Gauchos 73-64. Melissa Zornig led the floor with 18 points, while Nicole Nesbit posted 15. Freshman point guard Onome Jemerigbe also netted a career-high 11 points, putting up nine during the Gauchos' second half comeback effort,

Three for the History Books
Nicole Nesbit is now just three points away from recording her 1,000th career point. She would become just the 25th Gaucho to reach the milestone in program history.  The senior is UCSB's leading scorer this season as she has averaged 18 points per game, and she is also the most efficient shooting starting guard in the league with her 47.6 percent clip. She will be the second player under Carlene Mitchell's tutelage to join the 1,000-point club along with Sweets Underwood who accomplished the feat last season.

On Target
The Gauchos lead the Big West by shooting 43.4 percent from the field this season. They also pace the conference by averaging the fewest turnovers with 13.9 per game. While handling the ball well on offense, UCSB has limited its competition on defense, as it has allowed 67.8 ppg (second fewest in the league).      

Charity Work
The Gauchos lead the conference by knocking down a collective 74.5 percent of their free throw attempts. UCSB also has two of the top-five free throw shooters in the league, as Melissa Zornig (88.6) is third, while Nicole Nesbit (83.3) is fourth in the Big West.

Senior Workload
UCSB's senior class has carried the offense through the first four games. With Nicole Nesbit (18), Destini Mason (13.8), and Melissa Zornig (13) all averaging double digits, the senior guards have scored over 67 percent of the team's total points. All three are among Big West's top-15 scorers: Nesbit (3rd), Mason (11th), and Zornig (14th).

Fantastic Freshmen
Though only freshmen, Onome Jemerigbe and Mi'Chael Wright have stepped up and played productive minutes for the Gauchos this season. At point guard, Jemerigbe has been a starter in all but one of UCSB's games this season and currently leads the team with 14 steals. As one of the team's true post players, Wright is the team's most efficient shooter, as she has made 63.6 percent of her shots. She is also third on the team with 4 rebounds per game.

Zealous Zornig
Melissa Zornig has become a well-rounded player this season, as she is among the top-three Gauchos in points, rebounds, and assists. She averages 13 ppg (third), 5.2 rpg, (second) and 3.3 asg (first). The senior has come close to recording her first double double on two occasions this season. First at St. Mary's, she poured in a team-high 19 points while also dishing out nine assists. She then came up just one rebound shy at Pepperdine with 18 points and nine boards on her stat sheet.

Analyzing the Aggies
After averagining 87.8 points en route to five consecutive wins to open the season, Utah State has dropped three of its past four games. Their scoring average dropped 10 points during that stretch compared to their initial five matchups. The Aggies have two players averaging over 20 points per game with Jennifer Schlott (22.6) and Makenlee Williams (20.3). On offense, the team likes to shoot beyond the arc and have hit .347 from that range. Williams is the team's leading three-point shooter, as she is has made 40.4 percent of her shots from downtown.

Wrapping Up the Wolf Pack
Nevada will be looking to end their three-game losing streak when they visit the Thunderdome on Saturday. Nevada has three players averaging over 12 points per game: Terilyn Moe (12.5), Mimi Mungedi (12.5), and Danika Sharp (12.3). Guard Arielle Wideman is the fourth player to average doudble digits with 10.2 ppg.  Overall, the Wolf Pack drop 72.3 per contest., but have only scored 64.3 as the away team.    
 
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.   

2012-13 Recap
Last season, UCSB played in the postseason for the 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.






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