Gauchos Open 2009-10 Season with Exhibition vs. Westmont

Nov. 3, 2009

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• The Schedule
Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Westmont (exhibition)
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Broadcast live on AM 990 and streaming live online here.
Buy tickets here
Game available on Gametracker

• Season Tickets Still Available!
Men's and women's basketball season tickets are now available, giving fans an opportunity to catch the Gauchos all season long.

Season tickets are only $125 for men's basketball and $100 for women's basketball (35% lower than last year). Similar to the successful men's soccer family plan, a new Family Plan season ticket is now available for both men's and women's basketball. Family plans, which include five season tickets (two adults and three youth season tickets), are $300 for men's basketball, $225 for women's basketball or get the combo plan (both men's and women's) for just $400. That's just $2.66 per game! UCSB faculty/staff will also receive 50% off pricing on all season tickets.

And, purchase tickets before Nov. 1 to receive a complimentary Olé bobblehead doll! Click here to learn more about season ticket packages or to buy today!

• Refer Your Friends, Get Free Gear!
For every new season ticket buyer referred by a current season ticket holder, the referrer will receive a free t-shirt. If a current season ticket holder refers five new buyers, they would receive five t-shirts courtesy of the UCSB Gaucho Shop - you can outfit your whole family! Hurry though ... the free t-shirt offer will end on Tuesday, Nov. 17 when the Gaucho men's team plays Weber State in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.

• Saturday Hours Now Available
The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office now has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays, making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The ICA Ticket Office will be open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the ticket office, are already available during weekday hours, which are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• Welcome to the New Year
The defending Big West regular-season and tournament champion UCSB women's basketball team opens its season with Wednesday's exhibition vs. Westmont. The Gauchos are seeking their 15th straight postseason berth this year. Lindsay Gottlieb, the 2008 Big West Coach of the Year, is in her second season at UCSB and will coach a team that returns one starter, eight letterwinners and five newcomers.

• Say Goodbye
UCSB lost five players who were critical to the Gauchos' success last season when Sha'Rae Gibbons, Jenna Green, Lauren Pedersen, Kat Suderman and Whitney Warren all graduated. The quintet took 563 games of experience with them along with 1,169 points from last season - or 61% of the team's scoring output from 2008-09.

• Say Hello
Helping the Gauchos not fret too much about the departure of the previously mentioned five players is that transfer Mekia Valentine is now eligible to play this season after sitting out last year due to NCAA transfer rules. Valentine averaged 5.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game for the Demon Deacons in two seasons at Wake Forest. Joining Valentine in a UCSB uniform for the first time will be freshmen guards Bree Richardson, Stefanie Corgel, Destini Mason and forward Sweets Underwood. And, suiting up for the first time will be freshman Megan Kritscher, who redshirted the 2008-09 season.

• Quick Recap
Last season was certainly memorable for the Gauchos - they won their second consecutive Big West title, played in the postseason for the 14th straight season and saw several of their players earn awards. By having Gottlieb named Coach of the Year, Pedersen and Green named to the All-Big West First Team, Jordan Franey an all-conference selection and Emilie Johnson an All-Freshman Team pick, it marked the first time since 2004 a Gaucho team had been honored as such. By winning at least 20 games, it was also the 12th time in the past 14 seasons the Gauchos had accomplished that feat.

• `Dome Sweet `Dome
When the calendar flips to 2010, it will mark the 30th year the Thunderdome has been used for home games and in that time, the UCSB women's basketball team has enjoyed a large majority of its success inside the `Dome. The Gauchos have won over 400 games in the Thunderdome's existence, but over the past two decades, it has really proved to be a home court advantage. Since 1991, UCSB is 200-38 in the Thunderdome, an astounding winning percentage of .840.

• W2W4
What to watch for: Franey, the team's returning leader in points and rebounds, has racked up 606 career points, leaving her with the 1,000-point mark in her sights. The most points that Franey has scored in a season came during her freshman year when she poured in 285. The San Diego native needs to average 13.5 points per game over the 29 regular-season games to be the 23rd Gaucho to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

• Fresh Faces
With five freshmen on the Gaucho roster, it marks the first time a UCSB team has been so young since 2006-07 when the Gauchos also had five freshmen on its roster, including current players Franey, Ariana Gnekow, Jessie Goble and Meagan Williams.

• Starting Lineup
Three players in the Gauchos' expected starting lineup have just 18 combined starts between them - Johnson, Gnekow and Williams - while Franey and Valentine have combined to start 55 games in their careers.

• Wait `Til Next Year
Kelsey Adrian and Angelei Aguirre, both transfers from Cal, will sit out the 2009-10 season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.

• Probable Starters

No. Name Pos Quick Notes 10 Emilie Johnson PG Led team in 3-pt FG % and FT % 12 Ariana Gnekow SG Played 13 games in 2008-09 21 Meagan Williams SF Avg. 2.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg in 08-09 14 Jordan Franey PF Team's leading returner in ppg and rpg 44 Mekia Valentine C Will make debut in UCSB uniform

• Possible Reserves

0 Bree Richardson G One of 5 freshman on team 1 Sweets Underwood F One of 5 freshman on team 3 Megan Kritscher F/C Redshirted in 08-09 11 Stefanie Corgel G One of 5 freshman on team 22 Chris Spencer G Avg. 3.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg in 08-09 25 Jessie Goble F/C Saw action in 7 games in 08-09 32 Margaret Johnson F Team went 20-5 in her starts last year 33 Destini Mason G One of 5 freshman on team

• 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.

About the Gaucho Fund (G-Fund for short): The program was launched as part of the Dare to Be Great strategic plan and is UCSB Athletics' annual giving program to provide vital funding support for scholarships, academic success and leadership development for Gaucho student-athletes. The Gaucho Fund is the anchor to the Dare to Be Great campaign. For more information on Dare to Be Great, please click here.