Gauchos Fall in Season Opener to Fresno State

Nov. 13, 2009

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - On the bright side, at least Fresno State didn't set any school records on Friday night.

In fact, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team, completely revamped for the 2009-10 season, kept pace with the high-octane Bulldog offense in the season opener for both teams.

Last year the Gauchos were used to grinding out wins, hoping to hold teams below 60 points to have a chance at victory. This year's squad can now run with most anyone and it showed at the Thunderdome. Although UCSB fell 84-76, this year's run-and-gun squad showed it is much different than last year's team.

"Gone are the 53-51 games," head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "We know we can score and we hope to be in the 70s more often."

Last year, UCSB scored over 70 points just four times and the team's season-high was 76 points vs. Pacific last January.

This season, with the shooting of Jordan Franey and Emilie Johnson and the inside play of Mekia Valentine, the Gauchos can hope to hit the 70 mark more often.

Franey set a career-high with 27 points on 10 of 16 shooting while Valentine had 22 points and 10 rebounds. Johnson added 13 points to go with five assists and five rebounds.

The Gauchos and Bulldogs played a frenetic back-and-forth game for much of the first half with UCSB jumping out to a nine-point lead with 7:50 left. However, the Bulldogs went on a 14-4 run based on their dribble-drive offense where a guard dribbles towards the basket and kicks it back out for an open 3-pointer.

Last season Fresno State had a school-record 16 three's vs. UCSB, but this year were 10-for-25 from downtown. Fresno State, a 24-win team last season, was receiving votes in one of the preseason polls.

The Gauchos opened the second half on a quick 8-0 spurt, taking a 49-45 lead, but Fresno State came back, rattling off a 19-4 run to take a 64-53 lead with 8:53 remaining. UCSB got as close as six points a handful of times, but that was it.

"Fresno State is really good," Gottlieb said. "They run the dribble-drive system as well as any team in the country and they make you pay when you make mistakes."

UCSB plays at Nevada on Monday before hosting Loyola Marymount at home on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. The games can be heard on AM 990 and streaming live on by clicking here.

Tickets are available by calling (805) 893-UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click here.

The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office now has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays, making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The ICA Ticket Office will be open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the ticket office, are already available during weekday hours, which are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Men's and women's basketball season tickets are now available, giving fans an opportunity to catch the Gauchos all season long.

Season tickets are only $125 for men's basketball and $100 for women's basketball (35% lower than last year). Similar to the successful men's soccer family plan, a new Family Plan season ticket is now available for both men's and women's basketball. Family plans, which include five season tickets (two adults and three youth season tickets), are $300 for men's basketball, $225 for women's basketball or get the combo plan (both men's and women's) for just $400. That's just $2.66 per game! UCSB faculty/staff will also receive 50% off pricing on all season tickets.

And, purchase tickets now to receive a complimentary Olé bobblehead doll! Click here to learn more about season ticket packages or to buy today!