Oct. 26, 2006
IRVINE, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team was selected to win its 12th-consecutive Big West Conference regular season title as voted by the media, it was announced Wednesday. The Gauchos were chosen to finish second behind reigning Big West tournament champion UC Riverside by the conference's eight coaches.
In votes conducted Wednesday at the Big West's annual media day in Irvine, Calif., UCSB received four first place nods and a total of 93 points to capture the top spot in the preseason media poll. Santa Barbara finished one spot ahead of Riverside, who received seven first place votes and a total of 92 points. Long Beach State, who shared the 2005-06 regular season title with the Gauchos, came in third with the three remaining first place votes and 83 total points. Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, and Pacific followed rounding out the poll.
Meanwhile, three of the conference's eight coaches picked UCSB to earn yet another crown this season. The Gauchos received 43 points to finish second behind the Highlanders, who garnered five first place votes and 47 points. The coaches poll mirrored the media poll in predicted order of finish, with the exception of Irvine claiming the fifth spot and Cal Poly slipping to seventh.
For the fifth consecutive year, a Preseason All-Big West Team was chosen by the media, and a UCSB player was included once again. For the second time in as many years junior center Jenna Green earned a spot on the six-player squad after earning first team all-conference honors last season. The San Jose, Calif. native led the Gauchos in points, rebounds, and blocked shots in 2005-06, with averages of 14.4, 7.4, and 1.2, respectively. She started a career-high 29 games after missing all but three contests with a torn medial collateral ligament as a freshman in 2004-05.
In addition, the Gauchos return two starters and seven letterwinners from last year's squad that finished 16-14 overall and won its 11th-straight league title at 10-4, before losing to Fresno State in the WNIT First Round. UCSB also ushers in a very talented crop of newcomers in 2006-07 as it looks to hoist the Big West tournament trophy in March and return to the NCAA Tournament after its streak of nine consecutive Big Dance appearances was snapped a year ago.
UCSB takes the court for the first time this season on Saturday, November 4 for an exhibition contest with Cal Poly Pomona in the Thunderdome at 7:00 p.m. The Gauchos will tip off the regular season Friday, November 10 with a home match-up with Portland State at 2:00 p.m.