Jan. 31, 2007
Game No. 21
Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. No. 8 Stanford Cardinal
The Thunderdome (6,000)
Game No. 22
Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Davis Aggies
The Thunderdome (6,000)
UC Santa Barbara wraps up its non-conference schedule this week with two games in the Thunderdome. The Gauchos will take on a Top 25 opponent for the fourth time this season when they welcome No. 8 Stanford Thursday, Feb. 1 with tip-off scheduled for 7:00 p.m. UCSB will then entertain future Big West foe UC Davis Saturday, Feb. 3 at 2:00 p.m. Santa Barbara has defeated the Cardinal just once in nine tries but holds a 6-2 all-time record against the Aggies following the 77-53 win Jan. 13.
The Gaucho Record
The Gauchos saw their season-best six game winning streak snapped last Thursday when a much improved Cal State Northridge squad came to town and defeated UCSB for the first time in 17 previous meetings, a streak dating back to 1984, 66-64. The Gauchos responded with a resounding 89-55 win over Pacific on Saturday, their largest margin of victory this season. After the 1-1 week, Santa Barbara enters Thursday's showdown with Stanford with an overall record of 11-9. UCSB has won seven of the last eight is currently in third place in the BWC conference standings at 5-2. The Gauchos, who are 6-6 in the Thunderdome this season, will be looking for their first win over a ranked team in 2006-07 on Thursday.
UCSB on the Air & Web
This week's match-ups with the Cardinal and Aggies will be broadcast live on KIST 1340 AM in Santa Barbara. KEYT-TV Sports Director Gerry Fall will fill in for Steve Wendt as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos during the current four game homestand alongside former Los Angeles Laker and UCSB star Don Ford, who will handle the color commentary. Broadcasts begin 15 minutes prior to tip-off with the "Gaucho Pregame Show". Fans can also catch all games live via the internet by going to www.ucsbgauchos.com and purchasing the "UCSB All-Access Pass". With this option hoops fans can enjoy live audio and video from the comfort of their homes courtesy of CSTV.
Records Fall As Gauchos Trounce Pacific, 89-55
The UC Santa Barbara offense was firing on all cylinders Saturday, with the Gauchos making a school record 14 three-pointers on the way to an 89-55 thumping of Pacific in the Thunderdome. After the Gauchos shot just 34% in Thursday's loss to CSUN, they made 31-of-53 attempts from the field Saturday against the Tigers, a season-high of 58.5%. Santa Barbara was absolutely unconscious from behind the three-point arc, draining 14-of-18 attempts, 77.8% to set a new school record for three-point shooting percentage. The previous high was 75% in a game against North Texas in 1999. In addition, the 14 threes made was the most ever by a Gaucho team and was two more than the previous total of 12 that came against Arizona in January of 2002. UCSB's total of 89 points was also a season-high, eclipsing the team's previous best of 88 scored against Portland State in the season-opener. It was the highest total since Santa Barbara scored 90 in an overtime win over UCLA December 17, 2005. Not surprisingly, the Gauchos also tied a season-high with 22 assists on 31 made baskets in the win over UOP and the 34-point win was also a high in 2006-07.
A Tale of Two Halfs
There is no question that Santa Barbara has been a different team after halftime this season. The Gauchos have out-scored their opponents in the second half in 14 of their 20 games in 2006-07 and have done so in the last eight, posting a 7-1 record. In fact, UCSB has out-scored its opposition 347-273 in the second period over that span. With the ability to turn it up after halftime, the Gauchos have erased sizeable deficits on numerous occasions this year. Santa Barbara climbed out of a double-digit hole in the Dec. 18 win at Pepperdine, erased a 16 point deficit to defeat Cal State Fullerton Dec. 30, and most recently closed the game on a 24-6 run after trailing by 12 in the win at Cal Poly two weeks ago. Even in last Thursday's loss to Northridge, the Gauchos trailed 36-23 early in the second half and used a 13-0 run to even the score at 36. Avergaing six more points in the second half than in the first this season, Coach French and his staff definitely know how to make the right adjustments at the break.
Mark French returned to his alma mater at the start of the 1987-88 season and women's basketball at UC Santa Barbara has never been the same. Now in his 20th season as head coach of the Gauchos, French has had an immensely successful career, posting a record of 407-187 (.685) while at UCSB and an overall mark of 505-301 (.627). Since the 1991-92 campaign, a period spanning 15 years, French's Gauchos have won 12 Big West Conference titles and advanced to 11 NCAA Tournaments, including five second rounds and a Sweet 16 appearance, as well as two WNITs. Individually, French has earned an unprecedented seven Big West Coach of the Year honors, while in 2002-03 he was named WBCA District 8 Coach of the Year and a finalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year award. He is the dean of Big West coaches, with nine more years of experience in the league than any of his current counterparts. 2006-07 has been a year of milestones thus far, as French collected his 400th win at UCSB when the Gauchos defeated Pepperdine 78-67 Dec. 18. Less than three weeks later, he added another notch on his belt, winnnig his 500th career game as a head coach with UCSB's victory over Long Beach State Jan. 4.
Probable Starters - Notes
G - LaShay Fears - Tied a season-high with six assists against Pacific.
G - Jessica Wilson - Made all three of her threes and scored 17 points in win over Tigers.
G - Chisa Ononiwu - Set new career-highs in points, field goals made, threes, and minutes Saturday.
F - Whitney Warren - Was a perferct 7-for-7 for 14 points with six rebounds in win over UOP.
C - Jenna Green - Limited to a season-low seven points in win Saturday.
Probable Reserves - Notes
F - Jordan Franey - Leads the squad with 33 three-point baskets in 2006-07.
G - Meagan Williams - Scored six points in 20 minutes against Pacific.
G/F - Ariana Gnekow - Played a total of 19 minutes in contests with CSUN and UOP.
C - Jessica Goble - Grabbed two rebounds in a season-high eight minutes Saturday.
Injury Report - Notes
G - Sha'Rae Gibbons - Out indefinitely with right knee injury.
F - Ashley Hall - Sat out the last two contests with an ankle injury.
Seven Out of Eight Ain't Bad
Although UCSB lost to Cal State Northridge for the first time in the Mark French era last Thursday, the team has still been on tear as of late. After rebounding with their most convincing win of the season Saturday against Pacific, the Gauchos have now won seven of their last eight and 10 of 14 overall since losing five straight from Nov. 11 through Dec. 2. Last year's team had a similiar run in the middle of the season, winning 11 of 14 games from Dec. 4 through Feb. 4. UCSB then lost at Stanford Feb. 9 -- the first of three consecutive defeats. Needless to say, the Gauchos will try and avoid a repeat of last year.
As we have examined the last few weeks, one of the biggest barometers of the Gauchos' success this season has been rebounding. UCSB is now an impressive 10-1 when out-rebounding the opponent and 1-8 when the opposition controlls the glass in 2006-07. When the Gauchos handle the backboards, they are almost always successful and last week was no exception. As you would expect, CSUN held a 42-35 rebounding advantage in last Thursday's loss, but the Gauchos controlled the glass by a 33-27 margin in the win over Pacific Saturday. UCSB is tops in the Big West in rebounding defense allowing just 35.4 boards per game and ranks second in the conference in terms of rebounding margin at +4.7. The Gauchos enter this week's competition averaging 37.5 boards per contest to their opponent's 38.4.
Toeing the Line
While free-throws have not been one of UCSB's strong points this season, they still factor into to the team's success. As a team, the Gauchos have made 284-of-421 shots at the line this season, just 67.5%, but they have improved recently. In the last three games, UCSB has made 47-of-64 attempts at the charity stripe, 73.4% -- including one of the team's better performances, making 13-of-17 (76.5%) in the win over UOP. Santa Barbara is 8-1 when shooting more free-throws than the opposition in 2006-07 and just 1-8 when the opposing makes more trips to the line.
Scouting the Cardinal
In one of its most anticipated match-ups this season, UCSB welcomes Pac-10 power and 8th-ranked Stanford to the Thunderdome Thursday night. The Gauchos trail the all-time series with the Cardinal 8-1 after an 81-47 defeat Feb. 9, 2006 in Stanford despite 15 points and nine rebounds from Kat Suderman. UCSB's first and only win over Stanford was a narrow 62-61 victory in 1977. Santa Barbara is 0-3 against ranked teams this season.
Currently ranked No. 8 in this week's AP Poll, Stanford enters Thursday's contest with an overall record of 18-3 and has won 16 straight. The Cardinal are in first place in the Pac-10 with a perfect 11-0 record. Stanford averages 72.8 points per game while limiting the opposition to just 58.0. The Cardinal have out-rebounded the opposition by an average of 42.7 to 35.7 and shoot 45.5%% from the field to their opponent's average of 35.1%. Reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week Candice Wiggins leads the team averaging 16.3 points per game, while fellow senior Brooke Smith averages 13.7 and freshman Jayne Appel has put in 12.6 points per contest. Senior forward Kristen Newlin leads the team averaging 8.2 rebounds per game. Stanford is 8-2 on the road this season.
Junior center Jenna Green leads UCSB averaging 15.5 points and 7.5 rebounds and has recorded a team-high 31 blocked shots in 2006-07. The San Jose, Calif. native has led the team in scoring a total of 11 times this year, more than any other player. Green, who also leads the squad shooting 51% from the floor, has scored in double-figures in all but two games this season. As far as Big West statistics go, Green ranks second in the conference in field goal percentage and blocks, third in scoring, and seventh in rebounding. A week after posting a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Gauchos' win at Cal Poly, Green produced another solid stat line last Thursday in the loss to Northridge. She made 8-of-16 shots from the field and finished with a team-high 19 points to go with six rebounds, three assists, a block and one steal. Green was double-teamed every time she got the ball on the block against Pacific Saturday and took just seven shots, finishing with a season-low seven points. That total eclipsed her previous low of eight against UC Davis and was her lowest total since scoring seven against the Aggies Feb. 11 of last year. She did finish with a game-high seven rebounds and three assists against the Tigers.
Like a Rock
Jessica Wilson has certainly been a player to watch this season and she has been exceptional the last few weeks. In UCSB's convincing win over Pacific, the junior guard made 6-of-9 shots from the field, including all three of her attempts from three-point territory, and finished with 17 points. She added five assists and five rebounds, marking the ninth straight game she has tallied five or more boards. The Sacramento, Calif. native also recorded two steals. The Big West Conference's assist leader at 4.42 per night, Wilson has greatly improved her game in that area this season. After leading the team in assists in 2005-06 averaging 2.56 per contest, the junior has nearly doubled her average this season. She is second on the team in scoring at 13.4 ppg and rebounding at 5.9 rpg and leads the squad averaging two steals per contest. The guard ranks 11th in the BWC in scoring, 13th in rebounding, and fourth in steals.
The Sky is the Limit
I have said it before and I will say it again because it happens week in and week out. Junior transfer Chisa Ononiwu contiunes to improve seemingly every game and has quickly established herself as one of the premiere scorers in the Big West. Ononiwu has scored in double figures in seven straight games and nine of 11 overall since becoming eligible Dec. 18 and had an outstanding performance in the win over UOP Saturday. The native of Houston, Tex. scored a career-high 29 points on 9-for-14 shooting, which was also a career-best. She was a big reason the Gauchos' sank a school record 14 threes, finishing 6-of-8 from downtown, in 34 minutes. The six treys and 34 minutes played were both career-highs, as well. After her brilliant 29-point performance -- the second most points scored by a Gaucho this season -- her scoring average is up to a season-best 13.3 points per game, which is third on the squad. Ononiwu has started seven of the 11 games she has played in and leads the team shooting 50% (18-36) from three-point range.
Like A Veteran
Freshman Forward Jordan Franey has started 16 games this season and is averaging 9.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per game. The San Diego native has proven to be one of the conference's top three-point shooters, ranking fourth with 33 triples in 2006-07. Franey has been in the starting lineup in five of the last six games and has averaged 11 points during that span. In all, the San Diego native has scored in double figures a total of 11 times this year, including four of the last five, and finished with 13 points in the Gauchos' 66-64 loss to the Matadors last week. Franey shot 3-of-7 from distance and 4-of-10 overall from the floor, dished out three assists, and recorded two steals. She knocked down both of her three-point attempts in the record-breaking win over Pacific and finished with eight points in 20 minutes. Franey is fourth on the team in scoring this season and leads the UCSB freshman in a number of statistical categories, including points, free-throw percentage, assists, and minutes per game.
The Warren Court
After making just 1-of-9 shots and finishing with a season-low two points in the Gauchos' 68-62 win at Cal Poly Jan. 20, Whitney Warren turned in two excellent performances against Northridge and Pacific last week. In the loss to the Matadors, the sophomore forward went 4-for-8 from the field and finished with nine points. She drained her first-career three-point basket late in the second half as UCSB put together one final rally and hauled in a team-high seven rebounds, two assists, and a career-best three steals. Two days later Warren was a perfect 7-for-7 from the floor for 14 points against the Tigers to go with six rebounds, two assists, and a steal. The seven field goals made was one off of her career mark of eight that came earlier this season in the loss to Louisville. The Lawndale, Calif. native is averaging 7.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists this season. She is third on the team shooting 45.2%.
UCSB Lands Three Prized Recruits
On Wednesday, November 8, UCSB announced the signing of three high school seniors to National Letters of Intent during this year's early signing period. Ashlee Brown, a 6'0" forward from Good Year, Ariz., a 5'11" guard Courtney Collishaw of Visalia, Calif., and Margaret Johnson, a 5'11" forward from Lake Oswego, Ore. will join the Gauchos next season as true freshmen. Brown was named to the 2005-06 Arizona Tribune First Team and garnered First Team All-Fiesta Region accolades after averaging 21 points, 16 rebounds, five steals, four assists, and three blocked shots per game as a junior at Chandler High School. Collishaw signs with UCSB after earning Cal-Hi Sports All-State Junior Second Team honors at Redwood High School. She was named to the CIF Central Section First Team after scoring 22.6 points per game a year ago. Johnson enters her final season at Lake Oswego High School having guided the team to a second place league finish in 2006 at 10-4 and an 18-8 overall record. In 2007-08 Santa Barbara will also gain the services of 5'10" guard Lauren Pedersen, a junior transfer from UCLA. A native of Brea, Calif., she played two seasons with the Bruins, averaging 2.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 54 career games while making 11 starts during that span. Pedersen will have two years of eligibility at UCSB starting next season.
Gauchos Look To Start Streaking
2005-06 was a very disappointing year by UCSB standards. Finishing just 16-14 last season and losing in the WNIT First Round, Coach French and the Gauchos had a number of streaks broken that they will be looking to reestablish this year. UCSB saw its streak of nine consecutive Big West Tournament titles come to a crashing halt after a narrow loss to UC Riverside in the title game. That being said, Santa Barbara did not receive the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and its string of nine-straight trips to the Big Dance was also severed. With a total of 16 victories, UCSB saw its span of 10 seasons with at least 20 wins broken, as well. Finally, although the Gauchos did win the Big West regular season title, they shared the honor with Long Beach State, which snapped their streak of 10-straight outright conference championships--a run that was the longest in the nation. Needless to say, UCSB will aim to start a new set of streaks in 2006-07.
O'Bryan, Thomas Leave UCSB
On October 17, head coach Mark French announced that two key players would not be with the Gauchos in 2006-07. Guard Erin O'Bryan and forward Shantel Thomas both left the program citing personal reasons. O'Bryan, who appeared in 27 games for UCSB last season, averaging 6.9 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists, will not be back for her senior season. Thomas, on the other hand, is expected to return at some point, provided she maintains her eligibility. The Sacramento, Calif. native appeared in 25 games as a true freshman in 2005-06, averaging 2.5 ppg and 2.6 rpg in 11.2 minutes per contest.
Less than a month later, the coaching staff was dealt more bad news when the decision was made that Kat Suderman will redshirt in 2006-07. The San Luis Obispo, Calif. native will be inactive this season as she rehabilitates from a knee surgery she had last spring. Suderman was one of only two players to appear in all 30 games last season, starting eight games for UCSB. She posted career-highs averaging 6.2 points and 6.1 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game. Over the past two seasons, Suderman has appeared in a combined 56 games, more than any other Gaucho over that span.
Following this week's contests with No. 8 Stanford and UC Davis, UCSB will take to the road and resume Big West play at UC Irvine and Long Beach State. The Gauchos will take on the Anteaters Thursday, Feb. 8 at 7:00 p.m., followed by a 5:00 p.m. match-up with the 49ers Saturday, Feb. 10.