UCSB Returns Home to Face Irvine on Thursday, Riverside on Saturday

UCSB Returns Home to Face Irvine on Thursday, Riverside on Saturday

• The Schedule
Thursday, January 12 2012,  at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Irvine (6-10, 2-2)
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Series record vs. the Anteaters – 56-24
Streak – Won 10
Last time out vs. the Anteaters – W, 70-56 (@UCSB, 2/10/11)
Game broadcast on AM 990 KTMS and streaming online by clicking here

Saturday, January 14 2012,  at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Riverside (2-13, 0-4)
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Series record vs. the Highlanders – 19-14
Streak – Won 1
Last time out vs. the Highlanders – W, 59-37 (@UCSB, 2/12/11)
Game broadcast on AM 990 KTMS and streaming online by clicking here

• 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 with the pregame show starting 30 minutes prior to tipoff.

• The Opponents
• UC Irvine, 1/12
UCSB has a 10-game winning streak over the Anteaters, dating back to 2006. UCI is led by Kassandra MaCalister's 10.6 points per game but it's Anete Klintstone who leads the team with 12.8 points per conference game. The Anteaters have two players ranked in the top-10 in the conference in shooting percentage. Irvine, which won its past two games over Pacific (in overtime) and UC Davis, is coached by Molly Goodenbour, now in her fourth season.
• UC Riverside, 1/14
At just 2-13 overall, UC Riverside has dropped six straight entering this week. Tre'Shonti Nottingham, a preseason All-Big West pick, leads the team with her 14.1 points per game (ranking fourth in the Big West) while Natasha Hadley averages 12.1 points per game. Former Gaucho men's star Carrick DeHart is in his second season alongside head coach John Margaritis, who is in his eighth year at the helm.

• Hey, It's A Win
UC Santa Barbara head coach Carlene Mitchell earned her first career Big West Conference victory on Saturday with a 39-37 victory over Cal State Fullerton. The win will be memorable for more reasons than that, though. The 39 points marked the lowest total in a Gaucho win since a 29-23 victory over Cal in the 1973-74 season and Saturday's victory pushed UCSB's winning streak to 38 straight games vs. Fullerton, the fifth-longest active mark between conference foes in the nation.

• Tenacious D
UC Santa Barbara is continuing its defensive dominance this season, holding opponents to just 49.6 points per game, best in the Big West and ranking the squad seventh in the nation. The Gauchos are also allowing opponents to shoot just 37.0% from the floor, which is the tied for the best mark in the conference. The next closest Big West team in points allowed is Cal State Fullerton (61.9 points per game, a -12.3 differential).

• This Defense Doesn't Rest
Should the Gauchos' average – or anywhere near it – hold up, it would rank as one of the best defensive seasons in school history.  The top two marks: the 1973-74 squad allowed opponents an average of 43.6 points per game, while the 2008-09 team allowed 55.5 points per game.

• UCSB or UCS-D?
The above notes shouldn't be a surprise because last year UCSB led the conference in field goal percentage defense (18th in the nation) at 35.5%. In 2009-10, UCSB allowed opponents to shoot 36.3%, which was 31st in the nation, and in 2008-09, the Gauchos allowed opponents to hit 34.6% of their shots, ranking eighth in the country. Also, since the new millennium seven Gaucho teams rank in the single-season top-10 in opponents' points per game.

• Biggest in the Big West
The Gauchos have dominated the conference for nearly two decades. Since the 1995-96 season, UCSB is 227-32 (.876) in Big West games.

• Under 50 is Nifty
In eight of the past 10 games, UCSB has not allowed its opponents to reach the 50-point plateau, the only time in school history that has happened. The Gauchos are allowing just 46.8 points per game in that stretch. The team stands 5-5 in those games despite allowing just two opponents to make at least 20 field goals in any of those games. In that same 10-game stretch the Gauchos are averaging 49.7 points per game.

• Turning Things Around
As a team, UCSB is averaging just 14.3 turnovers per game, ranking it 19th in the nation. In an odd twist, UCSB is averaging 16.7 turnovers in each of its wins and 12.3 in its losses. It's a far cry from just two seasons ago when the Gauchos committed 649 total turnovers (20.3 per game) in the 2009-10 season, the eighth-highest mark in program history.

• Stingy for Six
When UCSB held six straight opponents under 50 points from Nov. 19 to Dec. 16, it marked the longest such streak in program history.

• A Titan-ic Defense
By allowing just 37 points to CSUF, it marked the lowest point total allowed by the Gauchos since ... wait for it ... the team allowed 32 points to the Titans last season on Jan. 22.

• Top Twenty Time
With a game-best 11 points vs. Cal State Fullerton – including scoring five of the team's final seven points – Emilie Johnson continued her movement up the school's all-time scoring book. With 1,170 career points Johnson stands 18th all-time. Next up for the senior from Loomis, Calif. is Kira Anthofer, who scored 1,214 career points from 1984-89, leaving Johnson just 44 points away from that spot. Johnson has 11 20-point games in her UCSB career.

• Z is First
Despite scoring only five points vs. Fullerton, sophomore guard Melissa Zornig is still the team's scoring leader over the past seven games. She is averaging 11.4 points per game over that stretch and her 8.2 points per game on the seasonranks her fourth on the team.

• Kelsey - It Rhymes With Three
Senior guard Kelsey Adrian has been doing a lot of her damage from beyond the arc.  Adrian is shooting 42.6% from three-point range, which leads the team and is second in the Big West. Adrian averages the fifth-most three-pointers made in the conference with 1.54 per game. The Langley, B.C. native is just eight three-pointers shy of breaking into UCSB's top-10 in career treys after just 43 games as a Gaucho.

• Board Games
Santa Barbara's two frontcourt stalwarts – Kirsten Tilleman and Sweets Underwood – are two of the best rebounders in relation to their Big West peers. Tilleman ranks third in the conference with 8.6 rebounds per game and Underwood is sixth at 7.8. There has been just one game this season where one of the two didn't grab at least seven rebounds.

• Tilleman's Top Ten
Rebounding is not the only spot where Kirsten Tilleman is among the Big West leaders. The junior is 7th in blocked shots (0.92 per game), 4th in offensive rebounds (2.77), 3rd in defensive boards (5.85) and 6th in minutes played (32.08).

• Wake Me Up Before You Score, Girl
While the Gauchos are at the bottom of the Big West's scoring average – just 51.1 points per game – and rank 321 out of 336 teams ranked nationally in that category, they still are not on pace to set a school record. The lowest points per game a UCSB team scored was 45.2 in the 1973-74 season.

• Hang Ten
With Sweets Underwood and Nicole Nesbit as the Gauchos' two leading scorers at 8.9 and 8.6 points per game, respectively, the team does not have a scorer averaging 10.0 or more points per game. Only once in UCSB program history has a team not had at least one player average double digits. That came in 1982-83 when Thyra Ladyman led the way with 9.7 points per game, a team that averaged 61.7 points per game.

• On The Line
When it comes to free throw shooting, the Gauchos lead the Big West with a 73.8% clip from the charity stripe, which is 40th in the country. However, getting to the foul line is a completely different story. UCSB has only attempted 130 total free throws this season – an average of just 10.8 per game – ranking them last in the conference. Every other Big West school has taken at least 239 free throws this year. UCSB has taken more than 10 free throws in a game just five times this season.

• Under .500? No Problem
When it opened Big West play at 5-6 overall when it opened conference play UCSB was in familiar territory. UCSB has had just two seasons – last year and 2003-04 – in which it has opened conference action with a .500 record or better. UCSB has won 14 of the past 16 Big West regular-season titles.

• At the Polls
In the preseason media poll, UCSB was picked to finish second in the Big West behind Cal Poly despite receiving the same number of first place votes (11) as the Mustangs. Cal Poly had 200 total points to UCSB's 191 followed by UC Davis (169 points, two first place votes) and UC Riverside (120).

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
F    2    Kelsey Adrian - Has hit at least one 3-pointer in all but one game this year
G    10    Emilie Johnson - 11 points @ CS Fullerton were most in 9 games
G     22    Melissa Zornig - Six-game streak of 8 or more points ended @ Fullerton
F/C    32    Kirsten Tilleman - Her 50.9% from the floor is best on team (min. 10 shots)
G    33    Destini Mason - Returned to starting lineup @ Fullerton since Nov. 27

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F     1    Sweets Underwood - Her 8.9 points per game leads all Gauchos
G     3    Nicole Nesbit - Averaging 9.0 points per game in games she comes off the bench
G    5    Madeline Campbell - Has played in each of past two games
F    15    Adaeze Okolie - Injury has kept her sidelined all season
F    21    Jackie Luna-Castro - Is second on the team with 3 blocked shots
G    24  Angelei Aguirre - Has made 5 of her 8 FG attempts