Gauchos Tipoff Big West Tournament in Long Beach

Gauchos Tipoff Big West Tournament in Long Beach

Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2014 at 6pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Davis (14-15, 9-7)
at The Walter Pyramid
All-time Record vs. Aggies: 14-11
Last Time: L, 65-47 (3/1/14)
Video: ESPN 3
Radio: KZSB 1290AM
Online Audio:
Live Stats:

Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2014 at 6pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. Hawai'i (16-12, 10-6)
at The Walter Pyramid
All-time Record vs. Rainbow Wahine: 13-22
Last Time: L, 73-60 (3/6/14)
Video: ESPN 3
Radio: KZSB 1290AM
Online Audio:
Live Stats:

History in the Big West
UCSB is the most prolific program in Big West Tournament history with a 44-14 record and a .759 winning percentage. No other Big West team of past or present holds as strong a winning percentage in tournament play. With that success, UCSB became accustomed to cutting down nets, as the program have captured the conference crown a record 14 times. The team has also had a record 40 all-tournament selections. 

Smile for the Camera!
For the first time in Big West history, ESPN 3 will be featuring all of the women's basketball tournament games through the semifinals. The live coverage will start on Tuesday night when the Gauchos open tournament play with UC Davis. Saturday's championship game will be carried by Fox Sports Prime Ticket. 

UCSB Offense
Over the course of the regular season, UCSB has had its highest scoring offense in the Carlene Mitchell era. With a 64.5 point per game average, the Gauchos easily bested their previous season averages of 51.3 (2012-13) and 53.2 (2011-12). The team has been led by its senior class, as all three have averaged double figures scoring this season. 

Rise of Watkins
Since her 10-point, 15-rebound performance at Cal State Fullerton, Clair Watkins has averaged a near double-double with 10 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. In that span, she complimented her initial double-double at Titan Gym by capturing a creer-high 16 points and 10 boards against Cal Poly. In that game, Watkins hit a career-best eight shots off 17 attempts. Prior to this stretch, she averaged just 4.8 points and 4.8 rebounds. 

Zornig Reaches Career-High
Behind her 28-point performance at Hawai'i, Melissa Zornig hit a new career-best for points scored in a single game. Her previous personal-best was 24 points, in which she drained 5-of-9 three-pointers, but Zornig did most of her scoring against the Rainbow Wahine in the paint. Overall, the senior went 11-of-20 from the field (both career-highs) and made just one shot from downtown.

From the Outside

After not attempting a three-point shot against Cal State Fullerton, Melissa Zornig has since hit seven three-pointers, including a 4-for-t performance against UC Irvine. The senior is second in the Big West with her 49.3 percent three-point shooting percentage in conference play. She is also eighth in triples made (35) and has netted a career-high 49 threes this season.  The Coto de Caza, Calif. native even had a streak of eight games in which she hit two or more three-pointers. 

Walk the Line
Aside from her performance at the three-point line, Zornig has also found success at the free throw line. She is third among Big West players with a 85.5 percent shooting clip and has reached the foul line 69 times (third most on the team). Overall, UCSB owns a 72.8 percent shooting percentage at the charity stripe, which ranks second in the league. Freshman Onome Jemerigbe has been to the foul line more than any other Gaucho (97).   

Hold and Control
The Gauchos are second in the league in averaging 13.6 turnovers per game. In the past four games, Santa Barbara has committed more than 12 turnovers on just one occassion. The Gauchos have also shown a knack for forcing the opposition in giving up possessions. UCSB has forced its opponents into 15.9 turnovers a game, which ranks fourth in the Big West. 

Margin of Victory
Though UCSB has only three Big West victories under its belt, the team won those contests by a convincing average of 11.3 points. In those victories, the Gauchos averaged 44.5 percent from the field, which is four marks higher than its average in league play. UCSB has lost three conference games in which they scored 64 or more points. In the nonconference schedule, Santa Barbara won its matchups with Division I programs by an average margin of five points. 

Board Game
For UCSB, rebounding has made all the difference between games won and games lost. During the Gauchos' eight wins, they have averaged 39.9 rebounds per game, while they only pull down an average of 32.1 in their losses. UCSB's 41-rebound performance against UC Irvine was the only game it lost after pulling down 40 or more boards. Against UC Riverside, the team collected 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 nearly 64 percent of UCSB's total points this season, as they all rank among the Big West's top-20 in points per game. 

Zornig Joins 1,000-Point Club
Melissa Zornig's 17 point-performance at Cal State Fullerton stamped her ticket into the UCSB's 1000-point club. She is just the 26th Gaucho to hit the milestone and the second to do it this year. Nicole Nesbit joined netted career 1000 on Dec. 19 against Utah State and has since become the program's 17th all-time leading scorer with 1,229 points. 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.