Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Long Beach State (17-5, 6-2)
at Walter Pyramid
Last time: L, 68-38 (2/12/15)
All-time Record vs. 49ers: 49-25
Records as of 2/10/16
Video | Audio | Live Stats
The Gauchos will be heading south to visit UC Irvine and Long Beach State this week. The Anteaters will be seeking its second win in conference play and their first win at home since beating San Diego Christian on Dec. 12, 2015. Irvine's Mokun Fajemisin leads the Big West with 40 blocks, while she also leads the team with 9.4 points per game. The 49ers are currently in second place at 6-2 and are riding a five-game winning streak. Long Beach State has forced its opponents into the most turnovers in the league with 21.5 per game.
UCSB split its two home games last week with a 79-49 win over Cal State Fullerton and a narrow 63-62 loss to Hawai'i. In completing their season sweep of the Titans, the Gauchos impressed offensively while holding Fullerton to fewer than 50 points for the second time. UCSB's offense cruised with a 48.5 shooting percentage with Makala Roper leading the way with 25 points. Against the Rainbow Wahine, the Gauchos put together a feverish comeback effort in the second half that just came up short. The team had a 62-60 lead with 24 seconds left in the game, but a last second three-pointer by Hawai'i ultimately decided the game.
Makala Roper has become one of the most impactful Gauchos on this year's roster as the team's leading scorer (12.7 ppg) with five 20-plus point performances under her belt. Her breakout performance came in her 27-point outing at Pepperdine, which earned her the starting role she still holds today. Roper's final point tally in Malibu was a career high, while she also made 11-15 shots from the foul line and made four three-pointers. Along with her recent 25-point performance versus Cal State Fullerton (2/3/16), Roper has surpassed the 20-point mark twice in conference play and came up one-point shy of hitting 20 against Cal Poly (1/7/16). Entering this week, Roper owns the seventh-best three-point shooting percentage in the Big West with a 35.6 clip. So far, she has made 47 three-pointers this season, tied for fourth in the league.
After being held scoreless at UC Davis (1/30/16), Jasmine Ware bounced back last week with back-to-back double digit scoring efforts while shooting 56.3 percent from the field. Since the start of conference play, Ware has been one of the Big West's most efficient shooting guards with a 53.6 shooting percentage. That number is the second-best among the conference's guards and the eighth highest mark overall. With the fantastic shooting clip, she has become UCSB's second leading scorer in league play with 12.8 points per game, 11th in the Big West.
She Has a Point
Onome Jemerigbe has started most of UCSB's games this season at point guard and is currently pacing the team with 4.2 assists per game, including a Big West-leading 6.6 apg in conference play. In dealing at least three assists in every conference game, the junior has played a key role in the Gauchos' shooting 43.7 percent since the start of league play. She is coming off one of her best games this season when she dealt a career-high 11 assists against Cal State Fullerton (2/3/16), while she has scored in double figures in three of the past four games. She has scored at least 10 points in four conference games, while only having one such game in non-conference play.
Highlighted by their 18-steal performance at Oregon, the Gauchos are second in the league with 8.9 steals per game with Coco Miller (37) and Jasmine Ware (37) both ranking fourth in the conference. UCSB's steals total in Eugene was the most for the program in a single game since Jan. 10, 2008 versus UC Irvine. The team has reached double figures in the steal category in seven games this year, with their most recent one coming at Cal State Northridge (1/16/16) where they had 15. The team also has had four games when they combined for nine steals, including their two most recent games against Cal State Fullerton (2/3/16) and Hawai'i (2/6/16).
Chaya Durr is UCSB's leading rebounder with 96 boards so far this season. The sophomore has done a lot of her rebounding work on the offensive side of the floor, as she has recorded 43 offensive rebounds, the 10th most in the Big West. Her best rebounding game this year came against Cal Poly when she grabbed 11, including four offensive boards. Durr also owns the team's best shooting percentage with a 47 percent clip.
Since turning the ball over 27 times against Cal Poly (1/716) and 26 times versus UC Riverside (1/916) to open conference play, the Gauchos have limited their own turnovers in averaging just 13.3 giveaways in the past seven games. In that stretch, UCSB has gone 4-3 and has only allowed the opposition an average of 12.3 points from their turnovers, compared to the 30.5 point average in their first two league games.
Though only a freshman, Coco Miller has been one of UCSB's top scorers from the start of the season, as she is currently third on the team with a 9.3 ppg average. The guard is also second only to Roper for the most three-pointers on the roster with 44, tied for sixth in the Big West. The freshman has also shown she can set up plays for her teammates, as she is third on the team with 44 assists only behind Onome Jemerigbe (96) and Makala Roper (60) who both play part or full time at point guard.
Center of Attention
Je Zhé Newton has been a force on the defensive side of the floor with 24 total blocks, ranking sixth in the league. Most recently, she recorded a conference-high four blocks against Cal State Fullerton (2/3/16); marking the second time she has reached the four-block plateau this year. Newton has scored in double figures in the four of the past six games she has played. Since the start of that stretch, she has shot 52.3 percent from the floor. The 6-3 center netted a career-high at Cal State Fullerton (1/14/16) with 15 points, while shooting 5-7 from the field.
Taylor Farris has been one of the team's sharpest shooters with a 43.7 percent from the floor. Her best performance coming against Cal Poly when she made six of her eight looks, finishing with 14 points. After playing 32 minutes off the bench in that game, she has earned a starting role with UCSB. Farris is also the team's leading defensive rebounders with 68.