March 7, 2008
Game No. 28
Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (20-7, 14-1) vs. Long Beach (9-18, 7-8)
The Thunderdome (6,000)
For the Record
UC Santa Barbara enters Saturday's regular season finale against Long Beach State with an overall record of 20-7 after defeating Cal State Northridge 71-58 Thursday night in the Thunderdome. With the victory, the Gauchos reached the 20-win mark for the first time since the 2004-05 season and have now won 16 of their last 17 games overall. Having already clinched the Big West season title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament next week, Santa Barbara can finish its BWC schedule with a mark of 15-1 with a win over the 49ers, which would be the program's best league showing since 2003-04 when the Gauchos went 17-1.
UCSB will recognize its two seniors prior to the start of Saturday's game. Head coach Mark French and the UC Santa Barbara athletic department will honor Jessica Wilson and Chisa Ononiwu in a special senior day ceremony.
Gauchos on the Air & Web
Saturday's tilt with Long Beach State will be broadcast live on KIST 1340 AM in Santa Barbara. Steve Wendt is in his fourth season as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos and he will have the call live from the Thunderdome in their final home game of the season. UCSB's student radio station will also have the match-up with LBSU and their broadcast can be heard live on 91.9 FM or online at www.kcsb.org. If radio isn't your thing, you can watch all games live via the internet by going to www.bigwest.tv and purchasing the UCSB season package or track the action with CSTV's GameTracker at www.UCSBgauchos.com.
Gauchos Grind Out 71-58 Victory Over CSUN
Playing without its top two scorers in Jessica Wilson and Kat Suderman, who were both serving one-game suspensions for their role in an altercation at UC Riverside, UCSB struggled to find its rhythm offensively Thursday night against Cal State Northridge. The Gauchos shot a season-worst 28% from the floor, making just 19 of 68 shots, but held the lowly Matadors (1-25, 0-15 Big West) to just 29% shooting (15-51) and pulled away down the stretch in a 71-58 victory in the Thunderdome. Santa Barbara's previous low from the field was 30.5%, which came in the season-opening loss to BYU. One Gaucho that did shoot the ball well was Chisa Ononiwu, finishing 4-of-8 from the field and 11-of-12 at the charity stripe for 19 points to lead the way for UCSB. Margaret Johnson scored a career-high 14 points and Ashlee Brown recorded her second double-double in the last three games, finishing with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Even without Wilson and Suderman, the Gauchos controlled the glass by a 54-44 margin and recorded a total of 28 offensive rebounds, leading to 20 second chance points.
Scouting the 49ers
UCSB will look to put the finishing touches on its 2007-08 regular season schedule with a victory over Long Beach State Saturday afternoon. The Gauchos and 49ers have locked horns a total of 66 times over the years and Santa Barbara leads the all-time series 38-28 after defeating LBSU 70-62 at the Pyramid on Jan. 3 to open Big West play. Kat Suderman led four Gauchos in double figures with a then-career-best 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field and Jessic Wilson added 14 in UCSB's first of 13 consecutive victories to open Big West play. Santa Barbara has won the last three meetings after sweeping the season series a year ago.
Mary Hegarty is in her fifth year as head coach of the 49ers and welcomes back all five starters and a total of 12 letterwinners from last year's squad that finished with an overall record of 9-23 and placed sixth in the Big West standings at 4-10.
LBSU enter's Saturday's contest with an overall record of 9-18 after posting a 78-62 victory at Cal Poly Thursday night. The 49ers are currently battling for the No. 5 seed in the Big West Tourney and are in a three-way tie with Cal State Fullerton and the Mustangs at 7-8 with one game to play. A redshirt candidate earlier this season, junior guard Karina Figueroa has returned to the lineup for Long Beach State and leads the team averaging 12.7 points and 3.2 assists per game. Senior Tyresha Calhoun is averaging 8.8 points, while shooting 45.9% from the field. As a team, the 49ers shoot just under 40% and average 59.3 points per game, a mark that ranks eighth in the Big West. LBSU has been better defensively, allowing 65.1 points per game, which ranks fourth.