Gauchos Finish Regular Season at Bakersfield on Saturday

March 5, 2010

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• The Schedule

Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 5:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Bakersfield (16-11)
at CSUB's Icardo Center (3,800)
Series record vs. the Roadrunners - 2-1
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

• Tourney Time!
The Big West Tournament begins next week at the Anaheim Convention Center and fans should purchase their tourney tickets immediately! Call (805) 893-UCSB for tickets, visit the Ticket Office inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus, or click here to download the tournament ticket form.

• 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.

The Opponents

• at Cal State Bakersfield, 3/6
Last season the Gauchos suffered a last-second loss at the Icardo Center when Krista Aruse drove the length of the court with eight seconds left and scooped a layup in to give Cal State Bakersfield a stunning 69-67 victory. This season UCSB enjoyed its largest victory of the season, beating the Roadrunners at the Thunderdome, 79-51, and shot a season-best 59.3% in the game. CSUB is led by Katie Williams, who averages 18.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while Phynique Allen averages 16.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while dishing out a team-high 124 assists (4.6 per game).

Quick Fact
UCSB is allowing opponents to shoot just 36.4% from the floor, which is the lowest mark in the Big West and the 38th best mark in the nation. Last season the Gauchos allowed opponents to shoot just 34.4% from the field, which also led the Big West.

Probable Starters

No. Name Pos Quick Notes
10 Emilie Johnson G Has led team in scoring last three games
12 Ariana Gnekow G Tied career high with 12 points @ UCI
14 Jordan Franey F Has scored 8 pts in consecutive games
21 Meagan Williams G Avg. 3.6 assists in BW play - tops on team
44 Mekia Valentine C Just 3 pts @ UCI, but 12 reb & 3 blocks

Possible Reserves

0 Bree Richardson G Foot stress fracture sidelined her 11 games
1 Sweets Underwood F Frosh has played in every game this year
3 Megan Kritscher F/C Avg. 1.4 pts, 1.4 reb per game this year
11 Stefanie Corgel G Has seen action in 3 of past 4 games
22 Chris Spencer G Avg. 7.5 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 Her career highs in pts, reb are vs. CSUB

• Quick Recap
UCSB defeated UC Irvine, 57-55, in its final regular-season Big West game on Wednesday with Emilie Johnson again leading the way with 15 points. It marks the third straight game that Johnson paced the Gauchos in scoring and the 10th time overall this season, which leads the team. Mekia Valentine has led the team in scoring in eight games while Meagan Williams has done it seven times. UCSB also won its first game of the season when trailing at halftime. Previously this year the Gauchos had dropped all 11 of their games when behind at the break. The Gauchos are 11-4 when leading at intermission.

• 20/20 Vision
The victory over UC Irvine also marked the 20th straight season that the Gauchos have finished with a winning conference record. To put that in perspective, only 10 of the current Gauchos (redshirts included) were alive when the streak began.

• The Fight For Fourth
Santa Barbara did its part in trying to grab fourth place in the Big West, and thus, a first-round bye in the conference tournament beginning next week. Now, UCSB will be closely monitoring Saturday's game between UC Riverside and Long Beach State. Should the Highlanders defeat the 49ers, UCSB will be the No. 4 seeded team. If Long Beach knocks off UCR, UCSB will be seeded fifth (holding the tiebreaker over the lower three teams) and would have to play on Wednesday, the first day of the tournament.

• The Seed 2.0
If UCSB retains its No. 5 seed into the Big West Tournament, it would mark UCSB's lowest seed in the tournament since being seeded sixth in 1990. If the Gauchos secure the fourth spot, that would be their lowest seed since being the No. 4 seed in 1994. Do not fret, though, because UCSB doesn't need to reach back in its memory banks to recall a No. 4 seed winning the tournament. No. 4 UC Riverside knocked off the top-seeded Gauchos in 2006. However, that proved to be the lowest seed to ever win the tournament, which began in 1984.

• Super Soph
Unless Mekia Valentine outscores Emilie Johnson by 70 points on Saturday - or combined through any of UCSB's upcoming Big West Tournament games - the Gauchos' guard from Loomis, Calif. will become the first sophomore to lead Santa Barbara in scoring since Jenna Green did so in the 2005-06 season.

• Leading Lady
Sophomore point guard Emilie Johnson leads the Gauchos with her 13.8 points per game average while also pacing the team in assists (93; 3.32 per game) and steals (49; 1.75 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.

• Valentine's Day
Junior Mekia Valentine swatted three shots vs. UC Irvine, giving her 104 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 school's single-season record holder, Valentine now ranks fifth all-time in career blocks at UCSB. Susie Matthews (1990-92) is fourth with 141. Valentine, who hails from Greensboro, N.C., is third nationally with her average of 4.0 blocks per game. Valentine also paces the Big West with her 8.7 rebounds per game.

• Swat Team
The 2009-10 Gauchos already own the school record with 179 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.

• Highs and Lows
While UCSB is still last in the Big West in points per game (59.2) and has the most turnovers in the conference (580, or 20.7 per game), over the Gauchos' four-game winning streak, they have reversed those trends. UCSB is averaging 66.0 points per game and just 16.0 turnovers 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 10 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 1,135 minutes this season. In conference play Johnson averages 38.7 minutes per game. Teammate Meagan Williams ranks second in the Big West with an average of 34.8 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.

• 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 7.5 points per game during Big West play, which is fourth on the team. Over her past four games, the Traverse City, Mich. native is averaging 9.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

• Helping Hand
Meagan Williams, who is second on the team with her 12.7 points per Big West game this season, leads the Gauchos with 3.6 assists per conference game. The Sacramento native is averaging 4.3 assists per game over her past six contests while averaging 11.8 points per game in that span.

• 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.