Gauchos Eye Season Sweep at UC Riverside,Visit Cal State Fullerton

Gauchos Eye Season Sweep at UC Riverside,Visit Cal State Fullerton

Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 at 7pm
UC Santa Barbara at UC Riverside (5-19, 1-10)
at Student Recreation Center (SRC Arena)
All-time Record vs. Highlanders: 23-15
Last Time: W, 74-61 (1/23/14)
Online Audio:
Live Stats:

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 at 6pm
UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Fullerton (9-14, 5-5)
at Titan Gym
All-time Record vs. Titans: 49-23
Last Time: L, 67-62 (1/25/14)
Online Audio:
Live Stats:

Week in Review
Last week, the Gauchos put up a 80-69 win over Long Beach State before falling at Cal State Northridge 78-54. The 80-point output was the most by the Gauchos this season, and the most since UCSB dropped 84 points on Pacific in the 2012 Big West Tournament semifinals. Over the weekend, the Gauchos were led by Melissa Zornig who averaged 19.5 points and nine rebounds which garnered her a Big West Player of the week nomination.   

Double Double Zornig Style
In UCSB's loss to Cal State Northridge, Melissa Zornig recorded her first career double double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Both marks were season highs, while her boards were the most she grabbed in a single game. In netting those 21 points, the drained four three-pointers, which marked the eighth game in which she nabbed at least two triples. She has been exceptional during league play, shooting 44.3 percent per game. 

On Target
UCSB ranks third in the Big West with its 41.1 percent field goal shooting. The Gauchos initially struggled with their shooting at the start of the conference schedule, as they did not shoot better than 39 percent through the first four games. However, since its game against Cal State Fullerton, the team has gone back to its old form and has shot at least 42 percent in all but one game and has also recorded a 43.4 clip during that stretch.    

1,000-Point Club
Nicole Nesbit joined UCSB's 1000-point club on Dec. 19 against Utah State and has since become the program's 19th all-time leading scorer with 1,194 points. Fellow senior Melissa Zornig is currently 17 points away from reaching the milestone. With six games left in the regular season, Zornig needs to average just 2.8 points in the remaining contests, which she is likely to do as she has put up 13.3 points per game so far this season. The last time two or more Gauchos joined the 1,000-point club in the same year was in the 1998-99 season when Erin Buescher, Stacey Clinesmith, and Kristi Rohr accomplished the feat. 

'Triples' Threat
Since the start of conference play, UCSB has seen its three-point shooting percentage make a significant jump from 30.8 to 42.9 percent. Melissa Zornig has been the main reason for the improvement, as she is shooting well over 50 percent from downtown in the Big West. Zornig's 57.4 conference three-point shooting clip not only tops the league but she is just one of two players shooting about 50 percent. The senior has netted 27 triples in league play alone (averaging after 2.7 per game) after recording just 14 in the nonconference schedule.

En 'Guard'
Since the start of the season, UCSB has been a guard driven team. In nearly every statistical category, including field goal percentage, points, rebounds, assists, and steals, three Gaucho guards account for the top-three marks on the team. The team has also started five guards for the past two games. 

Board Game
For UCSB, rebounding has made all the difference between games won and games lost. During the Gauchos' seven wins, they have averaged 40 rebounds per game, while they only pull down an average of 30.6 in their losses. Against UC Riverside, the team garnered a season-high 55 rebounds, which is the most since Nov. 20, 2010 when the team pulled down 59 against Idaho. 

Senior Leadership
The three Gaucho seniors have led the team in most major categories this season. In fact, the trio makes up the roster's top-three leaders in minutes, field goals, three-pointers, and points. The seniors make up more than 63 percent of UCSB's total points this season, as they all rank among the Big West's top-15 in points per game. They are the only school to have as many players to rank in that range.    

High Five!
For the first time in nearly six years, five Gauchos reached double figures in their 80-point performance against Long Beach State. Melissa Zornig led the way with 18 points, while she was followed by Nicole Nesbit (17), Onome Jemerigbe (13, career-high), Destini Mason (12), and Jasmine Ware (12). UCSB's starters outscored the 49ers' five 72-32.

Handling the Highlanders
UCSB picked up its first Big West win after downing UC Riverside 74-61 at the Thunderdome. Nicole Nesbit led the Gauchos with 20 points, while Brittany Crain recorded 19 points for the Highlanders. In the game, UCSB grabbed a season-high 55 rebounds and limited Riverside's boards to 30. UCR is currently in last place in the league with a 1-9 record. With an 87-75 win over UC Irvine, the team ended a 16-game losing streak that started on Dec. 6. Four Highlanders average double figures, while Crain leads the team with 18.5 ppg. 

Clashing with the Titans
Cal State Fullerton enters this week in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Big West with a 5-5 record. When they played the Gauchos in the Thunderdome, the Titans rallied back from 10 points down to start the second half to win it 67-62. Melissa Zornig had a game-high 20 points behind four three-pointers, while Destini Mason added 18 points and eight rebounds. Alex Thomas and Chante Miles both lead the team with 13 ppg, while Kathleen Iwuoha averages 10 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds.