UCSB Heads North for Two Tough Tests

UCSB Heads North for Two Tough Tests

Dec. 1, 2010

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• The Schedule
Friday, December 3, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at St. Mary's (3-3)
at St. Mary's McKeon Pavilion (3,500)
Series record vs. the Gaels - 6-2
Streak - Won 3
Last time out vs. the Gaels - W, 67-58 vs. St. Mary's (12/4/05)
Game broadcast live on AM 990 KTMS and streaming online by clicking here

Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at San Francisco (2-3)
at USF's War Memorial Gym (5,300)
Series record vs. the Dons - 1-6
Streak - Won 1
Last time out vs. the Dons - W, 74-60 vs. USF (11/25/94)
Game broadcast live on AM 990 KTMS and streaming online by clicking here

The Opponents

• at St. Mary's, 12/3
The Gaels and Gauchos have not met since the 2005 season when UCSB won at the Thunderdome, 67-58. St. Mary's Louella Tomlinson set the NCAA career blocks record with her 536th career rejection in a win over Wisconsin. She is averaging 10.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game. Jasmine Smith is the Gaels' leading scorer with 16.7 points per game and Kate Gaze is averaging 11.8 points per contest. St. Mary's is 2-1 at home this season.

• at USF, 12/5
USF and UCSB have not matched up since November, 1994 which was the only time the Gauchos have knocked off the Dons in seven total contests. San Francisco is 2-3, with a 1-1 home record. USF is 0-2 vs. the Big West this season with a 69-45 loss to UC Davis and a 69-66 setback against Cal State Fullerton. The Dons are led by Katy Keating's 11.0 points per game while Donnisha Taylor and Kelly Jo Mullaney also average double figures.

• On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 990 KTMS and will stream live online by clicking here
. 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.

Did You Know?
Even after dropping its first two home games this season, UCSB's all-time record in the Thunderdome is 251-105 (.704).

• Messed Around and Got a Triple Double
With apologies to Ice Cube, it was Mekia Valentine who posted a triple double in UC Santa Barbara's 63-54 victory over Northern Colorado on Sunday. It was the first-ever triple double in UCSB history - shocking when you consider that the Gauchos have produced eight WNBA players and 10 others who have played overseas. Valentine had 15 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocked shots in 31 minutes vs. Northern Colorado. For her efforts Valentine was awarded as the Big West's Player of the Week.

• That's More Like It
In her past three games, Mekia Valentine has grabbed 36 rebounds and blocked 20 shots, upping her season averages to 9.8 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game. Valentine is second in the country in blocked shots and second in the conference in rebounds. Last season Valentine averaged 9.7 rebounds per game - the most since All-American Erin Buescher had 9.7 per game in 1999-2000 - and 4.0 blocks per game, which was third in the nation.

• Sweets Tooth
Sophomore forward Sweets Underwood is averaging a double-double over her past three games, pouring in 38 points (12.67 per game) and grabbing 31 rebounds (10.3 per game) all of which has come from the bench. Underwood, who hails from Compton, Calif., is second on the team with 10.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game this season. Underwood's 65.6 field goal percentage is the best in the Big West.

• Tenacious D
In each of the past two seasons, UCSB has led the Big West in opponent's field goal percentage and are doing it again this year. UCSB is allowing opponents to shoot just 34.1 percent from the floor - and just 27.7 percent from beyond the three-point line. The Gauchos rank 36th in the nation in field goal percentage defense. Last season the squad ranked 31st in the nation with its 36.3 percent defense. In 2008-09 the Gauchos ranked eighth in the country with a 34.6 percent clip.

• Leading Lady
Last season Emilie Johnson became the first sophomore since Jenna Green in 2005-06 to lead the team in scoring. The 5-foot-6 guard leads the Gauchos in scoring with a 10.8 points per game average, ranking her 10th among Big West players. Last season Johnson became the second player in as many years to lead UCSB in points, steals and assists 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. Through the season's first five games, Johnson is the team leader in the same categories.

• Not Too Bad, Eh?
Kelsey Adrian, who hails from Langley, British Columbia, is tied for second on the team in scoring with Underwood with 10.6 points per game. Adrian has scored in double figures in each of her past two games and in three of the team's first five games this season. Adrian, a junior transfer from Cal, has twice just missed out on her first career double-doubles. She opened the season with 11 points and nine rebounds at Pepperdine and against Idaho she scored a career-best 15 points to go with nine boards. She ranks third on the team with 5.4 rebounds per game.

• Put the Biscuit Where?
Through the first four games this season the Gauchos are shooting just 37.0 percent from the floor and a mere 19.4 percent from beyond the three-point line, ranking the team sixth and ninth in the Big West, respectively. Obviously it's early, but for statistical purposes, the lowest shooting percentage by a UCSB team came in 1974-75 when that squad shot 33.4 percent. And, the lowest three-point percentage by a Gaucho team was in 2005-06 when UCSB hit just 26.2 percent of its treys. Last season UCSB connected on only 28.3 percent of its bonus bombs, the sixth-lowest mark in school history.

• Jack Kerouac Had More Fun On The Road
Playing away from the friendly confines of the Thunderdome, where the Gauchos have a .704 winning percentage all-time, has proven to be difficult for the Gauchos in recent seasons. Including this season UCSB is just 15-18 in true road games since 2008-09.

• Shooter McGavin
Against Idaho Emilie Johnson moved into fourth place all-time in career three-pointers made with 111 all-time, passing Debby Caine (1999-2003). Up next for Johnson to leapfrog is Caine's teammate Jess Hansen, who hit 215 in her career, spanning the same seasons as Caine. At her current career pace, Johnson is expected to become UCSB's all-time three-point bomber in her final regular-season game next season (see chart, page 3). Johnson has attempted 343 career treys, ranking her fourth all-time at UCSB.

• Minute (Wo)Men
Three Gauchos rank among the Big West's top-10 in minutes played. Kelsey Adrian leads the team with an average of 36.2 minutes per game, ranking her second in the Big West behind Cal Poly's Rachel Clancy (averaging 38.0 per game). Emilie Johnson is third in the conference with an average of 35.2 per game and Mekia Valentine is seventh with an average of 30.6 per game.

• All About Angelei
Sophomore transfer Angelei Aguirre has been making marks in her first five games in a Gaucho jersey, but mainly for her generosity. Aguirre is second on the team with an average of 3.0 assists per game, which ranks her eighth in the conference while her assists-to-turnover ratio of 1.36 is the third-best in the conference. Aguirre, the daughter of former NBA star Mark Aguirre, is averaging 5.0 assists per game over her last three contests.

• Fresh Faces
Two freshmen have seen plenty of court time so far this season - Nicole Nesbit and Melissa Zornig. Zornig is averaging 27.6 minutes per game, which is the most by any UCSB reserve while Nesbit is playing an average of 17.0 minutes per contest. Zornig, who hails from Coto de Caza, Calif., is averaging 6.4 points per game, while Nesbit is averaging 4.2 points per game. Each freshman is averaging 1.4 assists per game.

• Sea of Adaeze
Freshman center Adaeze Okolie has been very effective in the small amount of minutes she's been on the court. Averaging just 5.8 minutes per game, Okolie has grabbed eight total rebounds and scored eight points. The Ajax, Ontario native averaged 20 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks per game as a senior in high school.

• The UCSB Vampires?
No, we're not thinking of a new nickname, but all of a sudden the Gauchos are having troubles with games starting before 5 p.m., dropping three of four so far this season. In Lindsay Gottlieb's first two seasons as head coach, day games were nearly gimmes. The Gauchos were 24-12 entering this season in games that tipped off before 5 p.m.

• At the Line
After opening the season by making 19 of 22 free throws, UCSB has gone cold from the charity stripe. Santa Barbara has made just 37 of its past 65 free throw attempts for a 56.9 percentage. Overall, the Gauchos have made 64.4 percent of their free throws, which is seventh in the Big West. Two seasons ago, in 2008-09, UCSB set a school record with its 75.7 percent free throw percentage. That on-the-mark clip was also the 13th best in the nation that season.

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.

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
G 10 Emilie Johnson - Avg. team-high 10.8 ppg, but shooting just 32.8%
G 24 Angelei Aguirre - Second on team with 3.0 assists per game
G 2 Kelsey Adrian - Has scored in double figures in three of five games this season
F 32 Margaret Johnson - Played 16 min in first game back following concussion
F 44 Mekia Valentine - Posted school's first-ever triple double in win over N. Colo.

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F 1 Sweets Underwood - Averaging 12.67 points, 10.3 rebounds over past 3 games
G 3 Nicole Nesbit - Has played in every game, averaging 17.0 minutes per game
G 11 Stefanie Corgel - Committed 4 turnovers in 4 minutes vs. Northern Colorado
F 15 Adaeze Okolie - Averaging 2.0 ppg and 2.0 rpg per game in 5.8 min per game
G 22 Melissa Zornig - Frosh is averaging 27.6 min off bench - most by any reserve
G 33 Destini Mason - Has committed 5 turnovers in 10 total minutes this year

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.

• 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.