December 21, 2010

Have Breakfast With the Gauchos on Wednesday as UCSB Faces Siena

Dec. 21, 2010

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• The Schedule
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 8:00 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Siena (1-6)
at Siena's Alumni Recreation Center
Series record vs. the Saints - First-ever meeting
Streak - N/A
Last time out vs. the Saints - N/A
Game broadcast streaming live online by clicking here and tape delayed at 7 p.m. on AM 990 KTMS
Live stats and video available by clicking here

Thursday, December 30, 2010, at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Long Beach State
at Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid (5,000)
Series record vs. the 49ers - 43-20
Streak - Won 1
Last time out vs. the 49ers - W, 73-50 in BW Tourn. (3/11/10)
Game broadcast live online by clicking here and tape on AM 990 KTMS
Live stats available via Gametracker
Live video available through BigWest.TV

• 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.

• at Siena, 12/22
The Gauchos will play a well-rested Siena team on Wednesday. The Saints have had 10 days off since their last contest, a 72-33 defeat to Sacred Heart. Siena is led by Serena Moore, who is averaging 15.6 points per game, the only Saints player to average in double digits.

• at Long Beach State, 12/30
UCSB opens Big West play at Long Beach State, a team which finished the 2009-10 regular season in fourth place in the conference but has opened just 1-10 this season. The last time the teams met was a 23-point UCSB win in the Big West Tournament in March, the largest margin of victory by the Gauchos over the 49ers since a 91-60 win on Feb. 20, 2000.

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
G 10 Emilie Johnson - Named to All-Tournament Team after totaling 29 points
G 24 Angelei Aguirre - Averaging 5.5 rebounds over her last two games
G 2 Kelsey Adrian - Has scored in double figures seven of her last eight games
F 32 Margaret Johnson - Shooting just 17.8 percent from the floor
F 44 Mekia Valentine - Double-double last Tuesday was her fourth this season

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F 1 Sweets Underwood - Has scored at least 8 points in all but one game this year
G 3 Nicole Nesbit - In last three games is avg. 11.0 points, 3.0 steals and 3.3 assists
G 11 Stefanie Corgel - Saw action on Sunday for first time in four games
F 15 Adaeze Okolie - Has not played on the NY trip
G 22 Melissa Zornig - 37 of her 69 attempts this season have come from downtown
G 33 Destini Mason - Hit her first career 3-pointer in Sunday's defeat

• As Pat Benetar Said: Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Over UC Santa Barbara's past seven games, in which the team is 5-2, UCSB is shooting 44.6% from the field, which includes a white-hot 58.8% in last Saturday's win over Fresno State. This seven-game streak has risen Santa Barbara's overall shooting percentage from 35.0% before the streak, to its current 40.9%. The Gauchos have shot no lower than 42.9% in any of their wins this season.

• And the Award Goes To ...
Two Gauchos were rewarded for their efforts in the St. John's-Chartwells Holiday Classic by being named to the All-Tournament Team as Emilie Johnson and Sweets Underwood each garnered an award. Johnson totaled 29 points in the two games to lead the Gauchos while Underwood tallied 26 points and 17 rebounds.

• 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 teams to shoot 35.3% from the floor. The Gauchos are ranked in the top-40 in the nation in field goal percentage defense. Last season the squad ranked 31st in the nation with its 36.3%. In 2008-09 UCSB ranked eighth in the country with a 34.6% clip.

• Swat Team
As a team, the Gauchos are averaging 5.6 blocked shots per game, easily the best mark among Big West schools. Last season UCSB was sixth in the nation with an average of 6.3 swats per game.

• Inside the Arc, Inside the Basket
Take away UCSB's 24.7 shooting percentage from downtown and the Gauchos are hitting 48.0 percent of its two-point field goals.

• Hot Shot
Following up her All-Tournament selection, junior guard Emilie Johnson is averaging 16.2 points over her past three games, shooting 34-for-79 (43.0%) and again leads the team in scoring with her 12.5 points per game. Prior to her hot streak, the Loomis, Calif. native was shooting just 17.6% (9 of 51) in her previous four games. Johnson has led the team in scoring in six games this season. Last year Johnson became the first sophomore to lead the Gauchos in scoring since Jenna Green did so in 2005-06.

• Walter Payton Was Sweetness, but We'd Rather Have This One ...
Only once this season has sophomore forward Sweets Underwood failed to score at least eight points and she is second on the team with 10.8 per game. Underwood has scored in double figures in seven of her past nine games, and in her past four games is averaging 12.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in her past four games. The Compton, Calif. native leads all Big West players with her 62.5 field goal percentage.

• Yo Adrian!
Junior guard Kelsey Adrian is nearly automatic when it comes to scoring at least 10 points in a game. Only three times this season has the Langley, British Columbia native failed to reach double figures in a game, tallying the most double-digit games by any Gaucho this season. Despite that, she has only led the team in scoring in three games this year. Adrian is third on the team with 10.5 points per game this season.

• Double Down
Mekia Valentine is pulling down 8.3 rebounds per game this season, ranking her second among Big West players. The senior is also averaging 9.5 points per game this season, leaving open the possibility that she will average a double-double in her final season. If the Greensboro, N.C. native should pull that off, she would be the first Gaucho to average a double-double since Erika Kienast had 15.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game in 1991-92.

• Who's Going to In-N-Out? Can I Get a Double-Double?
Valentine has turned in four double-double efforts so far this year after she posted 12 double-doubles last season. That number was the most by any Gaucho since Kristen Mann had 14 in 2004-05.

• Mekia's Block Party
Mekia Valentine, who set a UCSB record last season with 120 blocked shots, is averaging 4.5 blocked shots per game, ranking her among the top-five in the country. Valentine ranks fourth all-time in school history with 163 blocked shots, just 11 shy of Kris Grazzini (1992-96) for third and 12 away from Jenna Green (2003-09) for second.

• This Little Nicky is Far Better Than Adam Sandler's
Five-foot-five Nicole Nesbit has been terrific in her past three games, twice setting career-highs in points and also setting a nw standard in rebounds, steals and assists. In that stretch Nesbit is averaging 11.0 points, 3.3 assists and 3.0 steals per game to go along with 3.0 rebounds per game. Overall this season the Northridge, Calif. native is averaging 5.3 points, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals per game this season.

• We're a Boarding School
Santa Barbara is averaging 41.1 rebounds per game, ranking it second among Big West schools, trailing only Pacific's 41.9 boards per contest. Mekia Valentine (8.3 rebounds per game) and Sweets Underwood (8.1 per) rank second and third, respectively, in rebounds per game among their conference mates.

• Baby, It's Cold Outside
Although the Gauchos have been shooting a solid 44.6% in their past seven games, it's even more impressive considering that the team has struggled from 3-point range. Overall this season Santa Barbara is shooting a meager 24.7% from downtown. The lowest three-point percentage by a Gaucho team was in 2005-06 when UCSB hit just 26.2% of its treys. Last season UCSB connected on only 28.3% of its bonus bombs, the sixth-lowest mark in school history. Only one regular - Kelsey Adrian - is hitting more than 30.0% from downtown with a 31.7% mark.

• Nothing Free About Them
After opening the season by making 19 of 22 free throws, UCSB hasn't been as effective from the charity stripe. Santa Barbara has made just 59.1% of its foul shots (91-for-155) in its past nine games. In that span UCSB has shot over 65% just once. Overall this season Santa Barbara is shooting 62.1% from the charity stripe, which is eighth in the nine-team Big West. Two seasons ago, in 2008-09, UCSB set a school record with its 75.7% free throw percentage. That on-the-mark clip was also the 13th best in the nation that season.

• New York, New York
The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team concludes its three-game east coast road swing with Wednesday's game at Siena. This is the very first time in the program's history that the squad is playing in New York. Prior to the St. John's-Chartwells Holiday Classis, the only time UCSB has ever played a team from New York came in 1998 when it defeated Syracuse at the Thunderdome.

• Shooter McGavin
Emilie Johnson is already in fourth place all-time in career three-pointers made with 123 all-time. Next for Johnson to leapfrog is Jess Hansen (1999-2003), who hit 215 in her career. Johnson has attempted 391 career treys, ranking her fourth all-time at UCSB, 106 shy of tying Hansen for third all-time.

• I Am Your Density ... I Mean, Your Destini
Over her last five games Destini Mason is averaging 5.4points in just 9.6 minutes per game. The Moreno Valley, Calif. native is averaging 1.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game in that time.

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.