November 16, 2009

UCSB Signs Strong Backcourt Players to NLI's

Nov. 16, 2009

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The two-time defending Big West champion UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team announced on Monday that it has signed its top two guard prospects to National Letters of Intent, adding depth to the backcourt for the 2010-11 season.

Point guard Nicole Nesbit and shooting guard Melissa Zornig both have committed to play for the Gauchos, who are seeking their 15th consecutive postseason berth this year. Nesbit is currently a senior at Harvard Westlake High in Los Angeles and Zornig is a senior at Santa Margarita High in Orcange County.

"With the 2010 recruiting class, we have brought in two dynamic guards that will form an exciting and high level backcourt in the Thunderdome for the next several years," UCSB head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "Mel and Nicole were two players that my staff and I desired to see in a Gaucho uniform from the moment we saw them in action. As athletes, as students, and as members of the Santa Barbara community, these are two young women that we are so proud to call the newest members of our family."

As a junior Nesbit averaged 9.8 points per game, which were second on the team, and 4.0 assists per game, which led Harvard Westlake. She also averaged 3.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game. In her sophomore season Nesbit led her team with 13.5 points per game while shooting 50% from the field. Standing 5-foot-6, Nesbit is described as having "incredible court vision" and has a "knack for creating off the dribble and getting to the basket."

"Nicole is a pure point guard and a true leader," Gottlieb said. "She has the ability to break down the defense off the dribble and create scoring opportunities for herself or her teammates. She can push the ball in transition and control the tempo of the game. She is quick and tough - both physically and mentally - and she's the type of player you want on your side."

Zornig is described through and through as a scorer and her numbers prove it. She averaged 23.6 points per game as a junior while shooting 44% from the floor. She can also dish it out, too, as Zornig averaged a team-high 3.8 assists per game while bringing down 6.0 rebounds per contest. As a sophomore Zornig averaged a team-best 19.9 points per game, again shooting 44% from the floor. On her scouting profile page on ESPN.com, Zornig was given a 93 scouting grade out of a possible 100.

"Melissa has an ability to score that is truly special," Gottlieb said. "Whether it's knocking down the three, getting to the free throw line, scoring in transition or off of set plays, she is incredibly difficult to defend. She is a complete guard that will fit in really well with our style of play."

Now in her second season at the helm of the program, this is Gottlieb's second consecutive strong recruiting class. Last season Gottlieb and her staff brought in current freshmen Stefanie Corgel, Destini Mason, Bree Richardson and Sweets Underwood.

I want to thank my assistant coaches, Kelly Barsky, Jaida Williams and Selena Ho," Gottlieb said. "They all work tirelessly in a myriad of areas, but signing such quality human beings as Mel and Nicole really reflects the type of staff that I am proud to work with. All of us look forward to coaching and mentoring Nicole and Melissa."