January 15, 2010

Gauchos Face UC Riverside on Saturday

Jan. 15, 2010

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• The Schedule
Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 5:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at UC Riverside (4-12, 1-2)
at UCR's Student Rec Center (3,200)
Series record vs. the Highlanders - 18-11
Streak - Won 4
Last time out vs. the Highlanders - W, 65-59 (3/5/09)
Broadcast live on AM 990 and streaming live online by clicking here.
Game available via Gametracker
Game streaming live online at BigWest.TV

The Opponents

• at UC Riverside, 1/16
UCSB is 18-11 all-time vs. UCR, including four straight victories. The Highlanders' last win over the Gauchos was in the Big West Tournament title game in 2007, which marked five straight wins by UCR over UCSB (including the 2006 Big West tourney title game, too). Riverside has three players averaging double digit points - led by Alyssa Morris' 11.7 points per game - but UCR allows its opponents to shoot 43% and score 70 points per game. UCR dropped its first two conference games before defeating Cal State Northridge, 74-61, on Thursday.

• at Cal State Fullerton, 1/23
UCSB is 42-21 all-time vs. the Titans, defeating Cal State Fullerton in 33 straight games. UCSB's last loss to Fullerton was on Feb. 26, 1995 which was an 89-86 defeat on Fullerton's campus. The streak is easily the longest of any winning streak by the Gauchos. Last season UCSB defeated CSUF three times, including a 60-52 win in the semifinals of last season's Big West Tournament. The Titans are led by Megan Richardson's 15.5 points per game, which ranks third in the Big West.

• Legends Of The Dome
For years, the Gauchos have been exciting crowds in the Thunderdome. Through the years, legends were made in the 'Dome. Now, five former UCSB standouts are being saluted as "Legends of the Dome." The first legendary women's volleyball star, Roberta Gehlke, was unveiled Oct. 19, 2009. The first men's basketball legend will be unveiled on Jan. 23 before a 7:00 p.m. game against Cal State Fullerton. Three other legends will be introduced this year. The second men's hoops legend will be unveiled prior to UCSB's 4:00 p.m. Feb. 13 game against Long Beach State. Women's basketball legends will be honored on Feb. 11 before a 7:00 p.m. game against UC Riverside, and on Feb. 27 before a 2:00 p.m. Blue-Green Rivalry Series game against Cal Poly.

• See The Legends in Person!
To commemorate the "Legends of the Dome" UCSB Athletics recently announced its "Legends Pack" ticket offer. For just $40 fans will receive four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas to the game. Please click here for men's "Legends of the 'Dome" games and please click here for women's "Legends of the 'Dome" games. Should fans wish to purchase one "Legends Pack" ticket offer to see all four games, please call (805) 893-UCSB.

• Quick Recap
Long Beach State hit 51% of its shots on Thursday night - the highest of any UCSB opponent this season - and defeated the Gauchos, 78-63. The loss snapped an 18-game home winning streak vs. the 49ers. Three UCSB players scored in double figures for the second straight game as Emilie Johnson led the team with 17 points, Jordan Franey chipped in 11 and Ariana Gnekow had a season-best 10 points.

• The L Word
UCSB's loss to UC Davis last week equaled its Big West loss total from each of the past two seasons and at 2-2 after four games, it marks the first time a UCSB team has dropped two of its first four conference games since the 1994-95 season, although the Gauchos finished that season 13-5 in the Big West. UCSB hasn't had a losing record more than one game into conference play since a 7-8 mark as of Feb. 20, 1991.

• Slow Start
UC Santa Barbara's five victories in its first 15 games is the program's toughest start since the 1986-87 season when UCSB went 4-22 overall in Darla Wilson's final season as head coach (The 1988-89 team started 6-11 in Mark French's first season as head coach). Including this year, UCSB has had double-digit losses over an entire season just four times in the past 16 years.

• No Tourniquet for Turnovers
One positive came out of Thursday's loss - UCSB turned the ball over just 15 times, its second-lowest total of the season and the first time since Dec. 20 vs. Pepperdine the Gauchos had fewer than 20 turnovers. UCSB averages 22.0 turnovers per game, which is second in the Big West. Santa Barbara ranks 301st out of 332 teams nationwide in turnovers per game. Just twice this season has UCSB had fewer turnovers than its opponent - winning both games - and only six times have the Gauchos turned the ball over less than 20 times in a game (going 2-4).

• She's Our Valentine
Mekia Valentine ranks third in the nation with her 4.2 blocks per game and has swatted away 63 shots already this season, which is third all-time in UCSB single-season history. Lindsay Taylor's 69 blocks in 2001-02 is the school's top mark. Valentine is close to breaking into the top-10 for career blocks at UCSB. Currently Brandy Richardson (2001-05) is 10th with 74.

• Neato for Gnekow
Senior Ariana Gnekow scored a season-high 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting vs. Long Beach State on Thursday, falling one point shy of matching her career high (set Dec. 9, 2006 vs. LMU). Over her past five games the Santa Ynez native is averaging 5.0 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per game.

• Swat Team
UCSB is averaging 6.3 blocks per game, which ranks the team seventh in the nation. UCSB has blocked 101 shots this season tying the team for 10th in school single-season history with the 1981-82 team. The Gauchos are on pace for 183 blocks, which would shatter the school's single-season record of 140 (set in 2003-04).

• Not Necessarily "Free"
Last season UCSB set a school record by shooting 75.7% from the free throw line. Following its 5-for-13 performance on Thursday, the Gauchos' 64.3% from the charity stripe is eighth in the nine-team Big West.

• Leading Ladies
Not only do Mekia Valentine and Emilie Johnson lead the Gauchos in every statistical category, the duo rank at the top of the conference in several areas. Valentine leads the Big West with her 4.2 blocks per game, 7.7 rebounds per game and her 60.2% field goal mark. Johnson ranks fourth with her 86.4% free throw percentage and her 35.8 minutes per contest are first. The duo have accounted for 37% of the shots the entire team has attempted and has either led or tied for the team-high in scoring in 10 of the Gauchos' 16 games.

• Sure Shot
Valentine's 60.2% field goal clip is ninth in the country and the 6-foot-4 junior from Greensboro, N.C. is on pace to break the school's single-season record. The current top spot is occupied by Kira Anthofer, who shot 59.6% from the field in 1985-86.

• No Advantage at Home
UCSB has dropped six of its eight games at the Thunderdome this season, already surpassing the number of losses from last year when the Gauchos went 13-2 at home. The last UCSB team to drop more than five home games was the 2006-07 squad, which lost nine games at home.

• Under .500? No Problem
UCSB entered Big West play with a record under .500 for the sixth straight season. In that time the Big West has proven to be the elixir for any woes. UCSB is 68-14 in conference play over that stretch.

• Biggest in the Big West
Speaking of UCSB's success in conference play ... Since the 1995-96 season, UCSB is 207-21 (.908) in Big West games.

• This Defense Doesn't Rest
If there's one thing we can glean from the Lindsay Gottlieb era, it's that she puts an emphasis on defense. Last year the Gauchos allowed opponents to shoot just 34.4% and this year UCSB is allowing a Big West low 36.9% of opponents shots to fall.

• The Lindsay Gottlieb File
Lindsay Gottlieb is in her second season as the Gauchos' head coach, and she is just the fourth head coach in UCSB women's basketball history. Last season Gottlieb guided the Gauchos to a 22-10 overall mark (15-1 in the Big West) and the Big West regular-season and tournament championships. Named the Big West Coach of the Year, Gottlieb became the first coach in Gaucho history to win at least 20 games and the Coach of the Year award in her first season - and one of only seven coaches nationwide to do so. Gottlieb led the Gauchos to their 14th consecutive postseason appearance and the team won 20 games for the 12th time in the past 14 years. In her first season at the helm of the program, Gottlieb guided the Gauchos to national prominence, ranking in the top-10 in field goal percentage defense, a top-20 finish in points allowed per game while watching her team set a school record for free throw percentage. No stranger to success, Gottlieb was formerly the associate head coach at Cal, helping the team to a 68-28 (.708) overall mark in her time there. Prior to that, Gottlieb was an assistant at the University of Richmond, where she helped the Spiders to three straight 20-win seasons.

• Talk'n Gauchos
UCSB Athletics has a new weekly radio show called Talk'n Gauchos which airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1490 KIST. The show is broadcast live from State & A Bar and Grill, located on the corner of State Street and Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara. Fans are encouraged to attend the show for free gear and ticket giveaways or to even e-mail a question in to one of the guests and have it read live over the air. The show also airs live online via audio streaming and fans can click here to check out the entire lineup of live audio streaming online.

• Listen Up!
All men's and women's basketball games will be broadcast live on AM 1490 and AM 990 again this year, and those games will also be available online, by clicking here.. And, UCSB Athletics is proud to announce that the baseball team will have over 20 games broadcast live on the air and through our website, UCSBgauchos.com.

• Single Game Tickets Available
Men's and women's basketball single game tickets are now on sale. You can purchase tickets by calling (805) 893-UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus or to buy online and print at home, click here.

• Purchasing Tickets Has Never Been Easier
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.