On 3-Game Winning Streak, Gauchos Travel to Irvine

March 2, 2010

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• The Schedule
Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at UC Irvine (9-18, 6-8)
at UCI's Bren Events Center (5,000)
Series record vs. the Anteaters - 53-24
Streak - Won 7
Last time out vs. the Anteaters - L, 67-62 (1/30/10)
Broadcast live on AM 990 and streaming live online by clicking here.
Game available via Gametracker
Game streaming live online at BigWest.TV

Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 5:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Bakersfield (16-10)
at CSUB's Icardo Center (3,800)
Series record vs. the Roadrunners - 53-24
Streak - Won 1
Last time out vs. the Roadrunners - W, 79-51 (12/13/09)
Broadcast live on AM 990 and streaming live online by clicking here.
Game available via Gametracker

• Listen To All UCSB Games On AM-990 KTMS
All women's basketball games are broadcast live on 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.

• Highs and Lows
In what was perhaps the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team's best all-around game last Saturday, the Gauchos set a season-high for points scored with 85 and a season-low for turnovers with 12. In fact, the team seems to be turning both of those totals around lately. While UCSB is still last in the Big West in points per game (59.3) and has the most turnovers in the conference (561, or 20.8 per game), over the Gauchos' three-game winning streak, they have reversed those trends. UCSB is averaging 69.0 points per game - its highest three-game total this season - and just 15.0 turnovers per game - the team's lowest three-game total this year.

• Not The Jumpman, But Still Em-J
Combining for 48 points, 12 assists and five steals in a pair of victories last week earned Emilie Johnson her second Big West Player of the Week award this season. Johnson set a career-high with eight assists on Saturday vs. Cal Poly and her 27 points were just two off her career-best. By banking consecutive 20-point games, Johnson became the first Gaucho to do so since Jessica Wilson had three straight 20-point games from Feb. 9 to Feb. 16, 2008.

• The Fight For Fourth
It's a pretty easy scenario to figure out how UCSB can get fourth place in the Big West Conference, thus securing a first-round bye. The Gauchos have to defeat UC Irvine on Wednesday and hope that first-place UC Riverside defeats Long Beach State on Saturday. Should the Gauchos lose or the 49ers win, UCSB would have to play on Wednesday, the first day of the tournament.

• Valentine's Block Party
Junior Mekia Valentine, swatted seven shots vs. Cal Poly, giving her 101 this season. Valentine is just the 11th player in Big West history to reach triple digits in blocks and the first since Long Beach State's Rhonda Smith achieved the feat in 1999-00. Already the single-season record holder, Valentine now ranks fifth all-time in career blocks at UCSB. The Greensboro, N.C. native is third nationally with her average of 4.0 blocks per game.

• Two Decades Strong
At 8-7 in conference play, the Gauchos can either finish over .500 or at .500. Should UCSB finish its conference slate with a .500 mark, it would be the first time in school history a team did so. If UCSB beats UCI, it would be 20 straight seasons that UCSB had a winning conference record.

• Leading Lady
Sophomore point guard Emilie Johnson leads the Gauchos with her 13.7 points per game average while also pacing the team in assists (92; 3.41 per game) and steals (49; 1.81 per game). Johnson would be the second player in as many years to lead the Gauchos in those categories after Lauren Pedersen did so last year. Pedersen, however, was the first UCSB player to accomplish the feat since Iesha Smith in 1993-94.

• Super Soph
Johnson will likely also finish this season as the Gauchos' leading scorer, which would mark the first season a sophomore led UCSB in scoring since Jenna Green did so in the 2005-06 season.

• Swat Team
The 2009-10 Gauchos already own the school record with 173 blocked shots, besting the previous mark of 140 set in 2003-04. UCSB ranks seventh in the nation with its average of 6.4 blocks per game.

• Got a Minute?
Emilie Johnson leads the Big West with 998 minutes played for an average of 37.0 minutes per game. She has played 40 or more minutes nine times this season, played all 50 minutes of a double overtime road game against Cal State Fullerton and has played in 91% of UC Santa Barbara's 1,095 minutes this season. Teammate Meagan Williams ranks second in the Big West with an average of 34.6 minutes per game.

• She's Listed At 5-9, But 6-9 With The Afro
If you're not a fan of the classic film "Fletch," there's no way you get that headline reference. Either way, Ariana Gnekow plays far taller than her height indicates. The senior is second on the team with her 4.5 rebounds per game average despite typically being one of the shorter players on the floor. In conference play, Gnekow averages 5.2 rebounds per game, also second on the Gauchos.

• A Better Williams Than Billy Dee
Meagan Williams, who averaged 2.2 points per conference game last season, is second on the team with her 13.0 points per Big West game this season (and ninth in the conference). The Sacramento native has reached double figures in 14 games this season, eclipsing her total of six during her previous three years combined. Williams is tied for the team lead with 3.6 assists per conference game.

• Chris-tal Clear
Senior Chris Spencer leads the team with her 45.7% mark from beyond the arc (and 48.3% in conference games) and is averaging 7.4 points per game during Big West play, which is fourth on the team. Over her past eight games (one of which she was held scoreless), the Traverse City, Mich. native is averaging 9.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

• Taking the Lead
Mekia Valentine's 58.3% field goal clip leads the Big West and ranks her 12th in the nation. Valentine also leads the Big West with her 8.5 rebounds per game this season. Valentine can become the first Gaucho to lead the conference in rebounding since Brandy Richardson's 9.2 average did so in 2003.

• For the Record
UCSB's 16 losses this year marks the most defeats by a Gaucho team since the 1988-89 season when Santa Barbara went 9-19. UCSB will need to win the remainder of its games - including all in the Big West Tournament - to avoid finishing with a losing record for the first time since going 13-15 in the 1989-90 season.

Probable Starters

No. Name Pos Quick Notes
10 Emilie Johnson G Reigning Big West Player of the Week
12 Ariana Gnekow G 4.5 reb per game is 2nd on team
14 Jordan Franey F 8 pts vs. Cal Poly are most since 1/14
21 Meagan Williams G 13.0 ppg, 3.6 apg in conference play
44 Mekia Valentine C Has blocked 101 shots this season

Possible Reserves

0 Bree Richardson G Missed last 10 with foot stress fracture
1 Sweets Underwood F First career double-double last Wed.
3 Megan Kritscher F/C Made first career start last Wed @ CSUN
11 Stefanie Corgel G Has seen action in 3 straight games
22 Chris Spencer G Avg. 7.4 ppg per BW contest, 4th on team
25 Jessie Goble F/C Had 1 block in 1 minute vs. Cal Poly
32 Margaret Johnson F Career-high 4 assists last Wed @ CSUN

• 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.