UCSB Starts 2010-11 Campaign With Two Road Tests

Nov. 10, 2010

• The Schedule
Friday, November 12, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Pepperdine (0-0)
at Pepperdine's Firestone Fieldhouse (3,104)
Series record vs. the Waves - 13-12
Streak - Lost 2
Last time out vs. the Waves - L, 56-49 (12/20/09)
Game broadcast live on AM 990 KTMS

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at No. 15 UCLA (0-0)
at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion (10,337)
Series record vs. the Bruins - 2-15
Streak - Lost 2
Last time out vs. the Bruins - L, 61-49 (12/15/09)
Game broadcast live on AM 990 KTMS

• Get Your Tickets
Season tickets to catch every minute of exciting Gaucho basketball are still available. Get the best seats in the house for 14 home games by clicking here.

The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the Ticket Office, are also available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 990 KTMS and will stream live online at UCSBgauchos.com. Josh Suchon is the voice of the Gauchos, performing the play-by-play, while former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB star Don Ford will handle the color commentary. On select road games, much to the chagrin of the listening audience, yours truly, Matt Hurst, will provide color commentary. • For Starters ...
UC Santa Barbara is coming off its first sub-.500 season in 18 years (1989-90). However the Gauchos went 9-7 in the Big West Conference, continuing its streak of over-.500 conference seasons. The Gauchos have not had a below-.500 mark in the Big West in 20 straight years.

The Opponents

• at Pepperdine, 11/12 UCSB opens its season at Pepperdine, a team the Gauchos have not defeated since a 65-63 victory on Dec. 17, 2007. The Waves have won the past two meetings by a combined 31 points. Pepperdine won its exhibition game, 98-56, over Santa Barbara's neighbor Westmont on Nov. 1 as five Waves scored in double figures, led by Shay Cooney-Williams' 21 points. Junior Jazmine Jackson is the team's returning leading scorer after posting 11.5 points per game last year.

• at UCLA, 11/14 The Bruins are the first ranked team UCSB has faced in the regular season since Nov. 23, 2007 when the Gauchos dropped a 75-71 decision to No. 3 Maryland. While the Gauchos are just 2-15 all-time vs. UCLA, it must be noted that one of those wins came when the Bruins were No. 24 - which is also the last time UCSB knocked off a ranked opponent (Dec. 17, 2005). UCLA topped Vanguard, 79-43, in its exhibition game, led by Jasmine Dixon's 23 points.

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
G 10 Emilie Johnson - Led the team in scoring with 13.8 ppg last season
G 24 Angelei Aguirre - 4 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists in exhibition game vs. CSUMB
G 2 Kelsey Adrian - Played just 18 minutes vs. CSUMB because of foul trouble
F 32 Margaret Johnson - 2 years ago, team was 20-5 in her starts
F 44 Mekia Valentine - Had 11 points, 17 rebounds in exhibition vs. CSUMB

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F 1 Sweets Underwood - An All-Big West Freshman Team pick in 2010
G 3 Nicole Nesbit - Freshman had 5 points in 16 minutes vs. CSUMB
G 11 Stefanie Corgel - Scored career-high 7 points in BW tourney win over UOP last year
F 15 Adaeze Okolie - Freshman adds depth to forward/center spot
G 22 Melissa Zornig - Scored over 2,000 career points in high school
G 33 Destini Mason - Played 10 minutes in exhibition - her UCSB debut

• Welcome Back
The Gauchos are returning three all-conference players from a season ago as Second Team All-Big West picks Emilie Johnson and Mekia Valentine return as does All-Freshman Team selection Sweets Underwood.

• Leading Lady
Johnson led Santa Barbara in scoring last season with an average of 13.8 points per game, becoming the first sophomore to lead the Gauchos in scoring since 1,000-point scorer Jenna Green did so in 1995-96. Johnson also led the Big West in minutes played a season ago, totaling 1,191 or an average of 37.2 per game. The Loomis, Calif. native also paced the team in assists (107; 3.34 per game) and steals (57; 1.78 per game). Johnson was the second player in as many years to lead the Gauchos in those categories after Lauren Pedersen did so in 2008-09. Pedersen, however, was the first UCSB player to accomplish the feat since Iesha Smith in 1993-94.

• Swat Team
Last year's Gaucho squad set a school record with 202 total blocks. UCSB ranked sixth in the nation by averaging 6.3 blocks per game (Baylor led the nation with 7.5 per contest). Mekia Valentine's 120 blocked shots were a school record and she finished the season ranked third in the nation with an average of 4.0 blocks per game. The school's top three single-game team blocked shot marks - and six of the top seven - were all established last season.

• More Mekia
Valentine holds eight of the top-10 single-game UCSB shot blocking marks, including the top spot of 11, set against UC Irvine on Jan. 2, 2010. The Greensboro, N.C. native is also fifth all-time in career blocks after just one season in the blue and gold. She trails school record-holder Lindsay Taylor (2000-04) by 123.

• Welcome to the Thunderdome
Six players are expected to make their UCSB debuts in Thursday's exhibition - 2009-10 redshirts Kelsey Adrian, Angelei Aguirre and Destini Mason, as well as freshmen Adaeze Okolie, Nicole Nesbit and Melissa Zornig.

• Tough Losses
While top scorers Johnson and Valentine return, the Gauchos lost seven letterwinners - including five seniors - from last season's squad. In all, UCSB lost 49.5 percent of its points, 44.4 percent of its rebounds, 56.8 percent of its assists and 53.0 percent of its steals from 2009-10.

• Tenacious D
In each of the past two seasons, UCSB has led the Big West in opponent's field goal percentage. Last season the squad ranked 31st in the nation with its 36.3 percent defense. In 2008-09, Lindsay Gottlieb's first year as the head coach, the Gauchos ranked eighth in the country with a 34.6 percent clip.

• Phreshman Phenom
In her first season in a UCSB uniform, Sweets Underwood averaged 3.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game - 2.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per conference game - which earned her a spot on the All-Big West Freshman Team. It was the fourth straight season that a Gaucho has been named to the All-Freshman Team and the eighth time in the past nine seasons a UCSB frosh received All-Freshman conference honors.

• It's Just a Rebound
Valentine pulled down an average of 9.7 rebounds per game last season, which led the Big West. It was also the most by a UCSB player since Erin Buescher pulled down 9.7 in the 1999-2000 season and the last player to have more than that was Erika Kienast, who averaged 10.6 boards per contest in 1991-92. Valentine holds the second and third-most single-game rebounding totals in school history when she grabbed 22 vs. UC Riverside on Feb. 11 and 21 at Cal State Bakersfield on March 6. Leslie Ford holds the school's all-time mark of 25 rebounds, set against Cal State Northridge on Jan. 21, 1977.

• Might As Well Be a Layup
Here's some advice for all the coaches using this release as a scouting tool - don't foul Emilie Johnson. The junior holds two of UCSB's top-five single-season free throw percentage marks. Johnson hit 84.3 percent of her freebies last season, ranking her fifth in school annals. In her freshman season of 2008-09, Johnson nailed 94.3 percent of her charity stripe shots. Johnson's 87.1 career free throw percentage currently leads everyone who has ever put on a Gaucho uniform.

• In-N-Out Has Nothing on These Double-Doubles
Last season Valentine had 12 double-doubles, which tied for the most in the Big West and was the most by a Gaucho since three-time All-American Kristen Mann had 14 in 2004-05.

• On The Mark
Another portion of Valentine's tremendous 2009-10 season was that she shot an incredible 57.4 percent from the field, which counted as the second-highest mark in UCSB single-season history. Only Kira Anthofer's 59.6 percent in 1985-86 is higher than Valentine's percentage from last season.

• Off The Mark
As a unit, UCSB hit just 28.3 percent of its shots from beyond the three-point line a season ago, the sixth-lowest mark in school annals. However, Emilie Johnson's accuracy from downtown hasn't played much into that. The guard ranks fifth all-time - after just two seasons - in UCSB history in both three-pointers made and attempted.

• Dynamic Duo
Johnson and Valentine proved to be a lethal pair last season, combining for 811 total points, or an average of 26.2 points per game. While that is impressive, it doesn't rank among the school's top-10 one-two punches. The No. 10 slot is held by Patty Franklin and Nadine Ramirez, who combined for 905 points in 1980-81. The best one-two punch was Amy Smith and Erin Alexander who tallied 1,144 total points in 1996-97.

• Vista Del Mar
Senior Margaret Johnson battled through various injuries in 2009-10 and played in 25 games - her fewest since she was a freshman. While Johnson's stat lines rarely seem to catch people's eyes (she has career averages of 2.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game), there is one thing people should know - when she started 25 games in 2008-09 and UCSB made the NCAA Tournament, the Gauchos were 20-5 in Johnson's starts.

The Lindsay Gottlieb File
Lindsay Gottlieb is in her third 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 wins in seven of the squad's last eight games, taking a team that finished 9-7 in the Big West to the conference tournament's semifinals, keeping alive a streak of 20 years that UCSB had finished Big West play with a record above .500. In her first season at the helm, Gottlieb led the team 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 two seasons with the program, Gottlieb has guided the Gauchos to national prominence, leading the conference in field goal percentage defense both years while having her team set a school record in free throw percentage (08-09) and blocked shots in a season (09-10).. 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.

The Gaucho Fund, launched as part of the Dare to Be Great strategic plan, 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.

GKids is the official kids club of UCSB Athletics. Members receive a free GKids t-shirt, free admittance to tons of Gaucho games, opportunities to be ball boys and girls at games, a special birthday greeting from Olie (the GKids mascot) and much, much more! For more information on GKids, or to become a member, please click here.