January 26, 2011

UCSB Hosts First-Place Cal Poly on Thursday

Jan. 26, 2011

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• The Schedule
Thursday, January 27, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal Poly (11-7, 7-0)
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Series record vs. the Mustangs - 50-15
Streak - Won 1
Last time out vs. the Mustangs - W, 85-70 @ UCSB (2/27/10)
Tickets available by clicking here
Game broadcast streaming live online by clicking here and on AM 990 KTMS
Live stats available via Gametracker
Live video available through BigWest.TV
Saturday, January 29, 2011, at 4:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Northridge (1-18, 1-5)
at CSUN's Matadome (1,600)
Series record vs. the Matadors - 34-11
Streak - Won 7
Last time out vs. the Matadors - W, 67-54 @ UCSB (2/24/10)
Game broadcast streaming live online by clicking here and on AM 990 KTMS
Live stats available via Gametracker
Live video available through BigWest.TV

• On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 990 KTMS and will stream live online by clicking here. Josh Suchon is the voice of the Gauchos, performing the play-by-play, while former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB star Don Ford will handle the color commentary. On select road games, much to the chagrin of the listening audience, yours truly, Matt Hurst, will provide color commentary.

The Opponents

• vs. Cal Poly, 1/27
The Gauchos will host first-place Cal Poly, who is without reigning Big West Player of the Year Kristina Santiago after she injured her ACL in the first game of the year. However the Mustangs are led by Rachel Clancy who is averaging 16.1 points, ranking her second in the Big West, and 5.9 rebounds per game, ranking her 12th. Abby Bloetscher is fourth in the conference with 7.2 boards per game. The Mustangs carry a seven-game winning streak into the game and have won nine of their past 11 games.

• at Cal State Northridge, 1/29
UCSB has defeated Cal State Northridge in 24 of its past 25 meetings with the Matadors, dating back to the 1984-85 season. The one hiccup came on Jan. 25, 2007 in a 66-64 loss at the Thunderdome. CSUN's lone victory this season came in its Big West opener at Pacific.

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
G 10 Emilie Johnson - Has played just 27 minutes in last two games
G 24 Angelei Aguirre - Did it all on Sat: 6 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals
G 2 Kelsey Adrian - After scoring 17 on 1/6, has totaled just 12 points in 4 games
F 32 Margaret Johnson - Shooting 29.8% from the floor, 84.2% from the FT line
F 44 Mekia Valentine - Her 6 double doubles are tied for second-most in the BW

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F 1 Sweets Underwood - Her 8.0 rebounds per game is 3rd in the Big West
G 3 Nicole Nesbit - Is averaging 6.0 points per game in conference action
G 11 Stefanie Corgel - Is 4-for-5 with 16 points in her last two games
F 15 Adaeze Okolie - Has 3 points, 3 rebounds in 11 minutes of last two games
G 22 Melissa Zornig - Her 42 points scored in last 3 games leads all players
G 33 Destini Mason - DNP on Saturday due to illness

• How `Bout a Little Fire, Scarecrow?
Over UC Santa Barbara's last 13 games - 10 of which have been victories - the Gauchos have shot 45.1%. Four times during that stretch have the Gauchos shot better than 50% in a game. In the last baker's dozen of games the Gauchos have gone from the bottom of the Big West in field goal percentage (35.0%) to its current top spot in the conference with a 42.6% clip. Santa Barbara's shooting percentage is 58th in the country.

• Getting Stingy
The Gauchos improved on their already-impressive defensive numbers with a mind-boggling 17.5% opponent field goal percentage vs. Cal State Fullerton last weekend. UCSB has allowed opponents to shoot just 34.2% in games, ranking the squad 15th in the country and first in the conference. Ten times this season Santa Barbara hasn't allowed an opponent to shoot over 35% from the floor, winning eight of those games. But, this shouldn't be a shock because UCSB has been among the nation's best in the Lindsay Gottlieb era. In each of the past two seasons, UCSB has led the Big West in opponent's field goal percentage. Last season the squad ranked 31st in the nation with its 36.3% and in 2008-09 UCSB ranked eighth in the country with a 34.6% clip.

• So You Know ...
The last time a Gaucho squad led the Big West in both field goal percentage and field goal percentage defense was the 2003-04 squad which hit 46.0% of its shots and limited opponents to a 35.9% shooting clip.

• Swat Team
As a team, the Gauchos are averaging 5.11 blocked shots per game, the best mark among Big West schools - UC Riverside is next with 4.94 per game - and 21st in the nation. Last season UCSB finished sixth in the nation with an average of 6.3 swats per game and set a school record with 202 swats. This year's Gaucho squad has blocked 92 shots.

• We're a Boarding School
Santa Barbara is averaging 41.2 rebounds per game, which leads the Big West. The Gauchos hold a +3.4 rebounding margin, which also is tops among conference schools and 82nd in the nation. Mekia Valentine and Sweets Underwood rank second and third, respectively, in the Big West with averages of 9.5 rebounds and 8.0 rebounds per game.

• Cleaning the Glass
Over her past five games, Mekia Valentine has pulled in 70 rebounds, or an average of 14.0 per contest. That has upped her average from 7.8 to its current 9.5 per game, which is second in the Big West and 42nd in the nation. In conference games, Valentine is averaging a league-leading 12.7 per game. Sweets Underwood is pulling in 7.8 rebounds per conference game, ranking the sophomore fifth in the Big West.

• Only Trailing Taylor
Mekia Valentine leads the Big West with her 3.8 blocked shots per game and ranks fifth in the nation. The Greensboro, N.C. native is second all-time in career blocked shots at UCSB in just 48 games, trailing only Lindsay Taylor (2000-04) by just 54. At her current pace, Valentine should become the Gauchos' all-time shot blocker by season's end. Last season the 6-foot-4 center blocked 120 shots, setting a new school record and her average of 4.0 per game ranked third in the country.

• Double Dippers
There is a chance that two Gauchos could become the first to average a double-double since Erika Kienast had 15.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game in 1991-92. Mekia Valentine is averaging 9.7 points and 9.5 boards per contest while Sweets Underwood is averaging 9.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

• Countdown to 1,000
Mekia Valentine has scored 175 points this season, giving her 896 in her career between Wake Forest and UCSB. While she might hit 1,000 career points in her collegiate career, she will not be a member of UCSB's 1,000-point club as not all of her buckets came as a Gaucho (she scored 351 points at Wake). The next likely member to join the 22-person 1,000-point club is Emilie Johnson, who has scored 846 total points in her Gaucho career.

• Biggest in the Big West
The Gauchos have dominated the conference for more than a decade. Since the 1995-96 season, UCSB is 218-28 (.886) in Big West games.

• RPI Report
In the most recent release of the Ratings Percentage Index by the NCAA, the Gauchos hold a No. 118 spot, up six from last week. This is the third-best mark in the conference, behind UC Riverside (No. 94) and UC Davis (No. 116). Santa Barbara's opponents this coming week are Cal Poly at 170 (fifth in the conference) and Cal State Northridge has an RPI of 327 out of 343 teams nationwide.

• Zornig Zeroes In
Freshman Melissa Zornig has led the team in scoring with 42 points (an average of 14.0 per game) in the team's last three contests. She has three consecutive double-digit games and in doing so has raised her overall scoring average from 4.9 to its current 6.4 per game. In Big West action, the Coto de Caza, Calif. native is scoring 8.5 points per game, which is third on the team, while shooting 50.0% from the field and 70.0% from three-point range.

• Tickling the Twine
A season after finishing second in school history with her 57.4% mark from the field, senior Mekia Valentine is at it again. Valentine is shooting at a 57.1% clip this season, again challenging Kira Anthofer's school record shooting percentage of 59.6% in 1985-86. Valentine is currently leading the Big West in shooting percentage.

• Apple or Mushroom, It's Still a Turnover
Last season the Gauchos committed 649 turnovers, or an average of 20.3 per game, which counted as the eighth-highest mark in UCSB program history. This season the team has turned the ball over 356 times, or an average of 19.7 per game. This year's squad ranks seventh in the nine-team Big West with a -3.78 turnover margin.

• Oh, Canada
After tying her career high with 17 points against UC Davis, junior Kelsey Adrian has been held to just 12 points in her past four games. She is still fourth on the team with a 9.1 points per game average and she leads the Gauchos with her 36.1% shooting clip from three-point land. That mark ranks her eighth in the Big West and her 1.67 treys per game puts her fifth in the conference.

• FYI ...
The 32 points the Gauchos allowed to Cal State Fullerton tied for the 10th fewest in school history - and nine of those results happened in 1977 or before. The 14 first-half points allowed tied for sixth-fewest in a half ever and the 18 second-half points tied for the fifth-fewest allowed by a UCSB team.

The Lindsay Gottlieb File
Lindsay Gottlieb is in her third 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 wins in seven of the squad's last eight games, taking a team that finished 9-7 in the Big West to the conference tournament's semifinals, keeping alive a streak of 20 years that UCSB had finished Big West play with a record above .500. In her first season at the helm, Gottlieb led the team 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 two seasons with the program, Gottlieb has guided the Gauchos to national prominence, leading the conference in field goal percentage defense both years while having her team set a school record in free throw percentage (08-09) and blocked shots in a season (09-10).. 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.

The Gaucho Fund, launched as part of the Dare to Be Great strategic plan, is UCSB Athletics' annual giving program to provide vital funding support for scholarships, academic success and leadership development for Gaucho student-athletes. The Gaucho Fund is the anchor to the Dare to Be Great campaign.

GKids is the official kids club of UCSB Athletics. Members receive a free GKids t-shirt, free admittance to tons of Gaucho games, opportunities to be ball boys and girls at games, a special birthday greeting from Olie (the GKids mascot) and much, much more! For more information on GKids, or to become a member, please click here.

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