• The Schedule
Saturday, Jan. 14, 2016 at 2 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (6-9, 1-1) vs UC Riverside (7-7, 1-0)
At The Thunderdome
All-Time Record vs. Highlanders: 23-20
Last Meeting: L, 92-81 (1/23/16)
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• Big West Opening Week Recap
UCSB went 1-1 on the road in the conference's first week of play, falling to Cal Poly 78-67 on Thursday before defeating Cal State Fullerton 56-49 on Saturday. The Gauchos nearly came away with the win against the Mustangs behind Coco Miller's 23 points on 7-13 shooting from three-point range, but faltered down the stretch after being outscored by 17 points in the second half and outrebounded 47-28 for the game. Against the Titans, Santa Barbara used a 17-7 third quarter advantage to help earn their first Big West win. Drew Edelman put up 12 points and 11 rebounds to notch her third double-double in the last four games. Sarah Porter and Onome Jemerigbe put up 15 and nine points, respectively, while going a combined 6-8 from beyond the arc.
• Here Come The Highlanders
This Saturday, the Gauchos play the first of a three-game homestand against a Riverside team (63.9 points allowed per game) that just barely edges UCSB (64.0 ppg) for the conference's top scoring defense. The Highlanders got off to a smooth start to their Big West schedule after taking down UC Irvine 76-58 at home in their only game last week. Forward Réjane Vérin and guard Lauren Holt put up 21 and 20 points in the opener, respectively. Vérin, who paces Riverside this season in both points (16.5 ppg) and rebounds (7.9 rpg), added ten rebounds and seven assists against the Anteaters to pick up her team-leading third double-double of the season.
• Where We Stand
The Gauchos have the sixth-best overall record in the Big West at 6-9 and are currently tied with CSUN at 1-1 for fifth-place in the conference. After a season-long five game losing streak from Nov. 25-Dec. 14, UCSB has gone 4-2 over their last six with a 1.0 average margin of victory. This Saturday marks the end of a 44-day span which saw the Gauchos play just two home games. After winning their first two games at the Thunderdome this season, they have lost their last three.
THE USUAL STARTERS
Pos # Name (GS-GP)
PG 10 Onome Jemerigbe (15-14) - First in Big West in assists (66) and three-point percentage (.459)... Sixth all-time in program history in assists (377)...
G 23 Coco Miller (15-15) - Made 87 career three-pointers, needs three more to crack program's top 10... Has made a three in 14 consecutive games...
F 11 Sarah Porter (15-11) - Matched career-high of three triples eight times this season... On pace to become sixth Gaucho with 60 threes in a season...
F 21 Chaya Durr (14-13) - UCSB's third-leading rebounder (3.6 rpg)... One of three Gauchos to reach double-figures in both points and rebounds...
C 13 Drew Edelman (15-14) - Averaging 10.0 rebounds per game over last four outings... Notched first three career double-doubles in last four games...
THE BENCH MOB
PG 1 Drea Toler (15-3) - Paces Big West with 7.3 AST/40 min... At 4.1 assists per game is the only BW player with 3 or less starts averaging at least 2.0...
G 5 Makala Roper (15-3) - Program's sixth all-time leader in three-pointers (116)... Has made 11-27 (.407) from deep since the start of Dec...
F 24 Taylor Farris (12-1) - Leads UCSB in REB/40 min with 7.4... Has Gaucho season-high for field goal percentage (3-3 FG at USD, Nov. 25... min 3 FGA)
G 3 Aliceah Hernandez (10-0) - Has shot 8-17 (.471) from three-point range in home and neutral games, but just 3-19 (.158) in away games...
C 33 Natalia Bruening (10-1) - Had two points, one rebound in first career start last Saturday at CSUF... Has made one field goal in five straight games...
C 25 Je Zhé Newton (6-0) - Has missed UCSB's last eight games dating back to Dec. 2... Averages team-high 0.7 blocks per game...
G 14 Julianna Ramey (1-0) - Made her season debut in UCSB's conference opener at Cal Poly...
• It's Miller Time
Guard Coco Miller caught fire in the opening week of conference play, averaging 16 points on 45 percent shooting from three-point range. She leads the Big West with nine triples, thanks to her 7-13 outburst in a career performance against Cal Poly. For the season, the sophomore leads UCSB in points (11.3 ppg) and minutes (33.8 mpg) while ranking second in steals (1.3 spg) and rebounds (4.3 rpg). She also has the Gauchos' top two scoring performances this season (24 vs Pepperdine on Nov. 15 and 23 at Cal Poly on Jan. 5).
• She Makes A Good Point
Senior point guard Onome Jemerigbe has assumed the leadership role she has relished over the past three seasons, running the offense and distributing the rock to the tune of 4.4 assists per game, good for second in the Big West. The difference this season has been her shooting, which is more efficient than ever. The Stockton, Calif. native is tied for first in three-point percentage (.459) and third in free throw percentage (.761). She is second on the team in scoring (9.3 ppg), first in steals (1.3 spg) and has the highest field goal percentage (.427) of any backcourt player.
• Toler Making A Difference
There's a reason why Drea Toler averages the third-most assists per game (4.1) in the conference despite only starting only three games this season, and it's this: every second she spends on the court, she's trying to make plays. Toler averages a Big West-leading 7.3 assists per 40 min, while Jemerigbe (6.3 ast/40) is the only other player in the conference to average at least six. She has also been extremely efficient with her shot, going 24-46 (.522) from the field over her last six outings.
• Double-Double Machine
Redshirt junior Drew Edelman's production dipped midway through UCSB's non-conference schedule, coinciding with the Gauchos' season-long five-game losing streak, but the past five games have seen her return to her early-season form. Since Dec. 19, Edelman is 26-51 (.510) from the field, is averaging 11 points per game and has recorded her first three career double-doubles. For the season, she ranks third in the Big West in field goal percentage (.534) and is the Gauchos' leading rebounder (6.9 rpg) and third-leading scorer (9.0 ppg). She is also UCSB's only Big West Player of the Week winner of 2016-17, which she earned after averaging 17.3 points per game on a 67.6 percent shooting clip from Nov. 20-25.
• Defense, Defense, Defense
Excluding their season-opener at Iowa State, the Gauchos have remained within striking distance in every fourth quarter this season. That can be attributed to their defense, which allows the second-fewest points (64.0 ppg) and the fewest assists (12.1 apg) in the Big West. Furthermore, UCSB has not allowed teams to beat them with the three, allowing the conference's least three-point makes (59) and attempts (205) and boasting the third-lowest opponent three-point percentage (.288). Santa Barbara has also bounced back from its early-season rebounding woes, currently ranking third in rebounding margin (-1.5). Its 7.5 steals per game during conference play ranks second.
• From The Land of Plenty
In the four seasons preceding 2016-17, UCSB had three different players average at least one three-point make per game for the entire season, with both Makala Roper (2014-16) and Melissa Zornig (2012-14) reaching that mark twice. At the midpoint of this season, four different Gauchos are averaging at least 1.0 threes per game, including Coco Miller (2.3), Sarah Porter (2.1), Onome Jemerigbe (1.1) and Aliceah Hernandez (1.1). Over its last 11 games, UCSB has averaged 8.27 threes per contest, making at least five in every contest, and has gone 91-246 (.370) from deep over that stretch. Overall, the Gauchos are third in the conference in field goal percentage (.393) and three-pointers made (111).
• Sarah Is Sizzling
Sarah Porter has been one the Gauchos' deadliest outside shooter this year, with her 31 three-pointers being the fourth-highest total in the Big West. Against Yale on Dec. 31, she failed to hit a triple for the first time since UCSB faced Seattle on Nov. 18, ending a run of nine straight games with at least one three. Through 15 games, Porter has the seventh-highest three-point percentage (.388) and has tied her career-high of three triples eight different times. Both Porter and Miller are currently on pace to finish in the top six all-time for single-season three-pointers in program history.