Nov. 28, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Two-time All-Americans Erin Buescher and Kristen Mann never did it. UC Santa Barbara all-time scoring leader Lindsay Taylor didn't do it. Gaucho legends Kristi Rohr, Jenna Green and Barb Beainy couldn't turn the feat either.
Eight UCSB players have played in the WNBA and 10 others have played professionally overseas and on Sunday Mekia Valentine one-upped them all.
UCSB's senior center bested every player who has ever donned the blue and gold, turning in UCSB's first ever triple-double in the Gauchos' 63-54 victory over Northern Colorado. The 6-foot-4 native of Greensboro, N.C. had 15 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocked shots to lead the Gauchos to their first victory of the season.
"I wasn't expecting it," said Valentine, who came one blocked shot shy of tying her own school record. "I had no idea until we were in the locker room after the game. It couldn't have come at a better time. It came with a win and I got that, so it's a good pair to have."
Valentine was impressive on both ends of the floor, helping hold the Bears to a meager 24.1 field goal percentage and going seven of 10 from the field offensively to help UCSB grab a 27-point lead with less than eight minutes remaining in the game.
"In this program, it's not just about winning," UCSB head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "We were incredibly disappointed to start 0-4. We're thrilled to get the win."
Sweets Underwood continued her scorching play, scoring 11 points to go with nine rebounds. Over her past three games the sophomore forward is averaging 12.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
UCSB snapped a four-game losing skid to open the season by playing tenacious defense in the first half. Northern Colorado shot just 17.9 percent in the first 20 minutes as UCSB took a 26-11 halftime lead.
At that point Valentine had six points, five rebounds and four blocks.
The Gauchos, who entered the game shooting just 35 percent from the field, hit on 47.1 percent of their shots.
UCSB opens at two-game road trip at St. Mary's on Thursday in a 7 pm game. The Gauchos won't return home until Dec. 11 when they host UTEP. All UCSB games can be heard on AM 990 in Santa Barbara or streaming live online by clicking here
The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the Ticket Office, are also available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.