February 14, 2012

Gauchos Take Winning Streak to UC Riverside, UC Irvine This Week

• The Schedule
Thursday, February 16, 2011,  at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at UC Riverside (5-19, 3-9)
at UCR's Student Recreation Center
Series record vs. the Highlanders – 20-14
Streak – Won 2
Last time out vs. the Highlanders – W, 63-43 (@ UCSB, 1/14/12)
Game broadcast on AM 990 KTMS and streaming online by clicking here

Saturday, February 18 2012,  at 4:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at UC Irvine (11-14, 7-5)
at UCI's Bren Events Center
Series record vs. the Anteaters – 56-25
Streak – Lost 1
Last time out vs. the Anteaters – L, 61-53 (@ UCSB, 1/12/12)
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 Riverside, 2/16
The Highlanders' loss to UCSB on 1/14 was the eighth in a nine-game skid, however UCR has turned it around lately. The team has won three of six and is led by Tre'Shonti Nottingham, who averages 14.8 points, 5.2 rebound, 3.5 assists and 3.3 steals per game this season.
• UC Irvine, 2/18
The Gauchos have not lost at UC Irvine since Jan. 19, 1997 when they dropped a 67-65 overtime decision. However, UCSB's 10-game winning streak vs. the Anteaters ended on Jan. 12 this year when UCI won at the Thunderdome. Irvine is paced by Kassandra McCalister, who averages 13.4 points and 4.2 assists per game.

• CLASS-y Lady
Senior Emilie Johnson has been named one of 10 finalists nationwide for the Lowe's Senior CLASS award, given annually to the best senior who exemplifies hard work on the court, in the community and great character. Johnson is the first Gaucho to be chosen one of the 10 finalists. Fans can vote for Johnson by going to www.seniorclassaward.com.

• Doubling Up
When Kirsten Tilleman (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Sweets Underwood (10 points, 12 rebounds) each had double doubles vs. Cal State Bakersfield, it marked the first time a pair of Gauchos turned the trick since Jordan Franey and Emilie Johnson did so Dec. 28, 2009 in a loss at Idaho.

• Tenacious D
UC Santa Barbara is continuing its defensive dominance this season, holding opponents to just 50.9 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 35.8% from the floor, which is the best mark in the conference and 48th in the nation.

• This Defense Doesn't Rest
Should the Gauchos' points allowed per game 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.

• For The Record
At 4-6 in Big West play, the Gauchos have dropped more games than they did all of last conference season and are in danger of becoming the first UCSB team since the 1989-90 squad to post a losing conference record. Two seasons ago, the 2009-10 Gaucho team was 5-7 at one point but finished 9-7 in the Big West and went to the semifinals of the Big West Tournament.

• Big West Woes
Entering last week, UCSB stood at 3-6 in Big West play, becoming the first Gaucho team to be three games under .500 during the conference season since February, 1990 a Gaucho team that held a 6-9 mark. That was the last UCSB team to finish the conference season with a sub-.500 record as they went 8-10.

• Mak Attack
When Kirsten Tilleman posted consecutive double doubles last week vs. Fullerton and Bakersfield, she became the first Gaucho to do so since Mekia Valentine did on March 5 and 8 last season.

• 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 8.4 rebounds per game and Underwood is sixth with 7.1 per game. There has been just two games this season where one of the two didn't grab at least seven rebounds.

• Climbing the Charts
With 27 points last week vs. Cal State Fullerton at CSU Bakersfield, Emilie Johnson continued to move up the UCSB all-time scoring book. With 1,266 career points Johnson is 52 points away from Kayte Christensen (1998-2002) for 15th all-time. Johnson has recorded four straight games in double figures and the Loomis, Calif. native has 11 20-point games in her UCSB career.

• Top-Ten Time
It's not just career points where Emilie Johnson ranks among the best in UCSB history. Johnson is third in career three-pointers made (198, 17 behind Jess Hansen), second in career three-pointers attempted (604, five behind Erin Alexander), 11th in career assists (306, one behind Jessica Wilson) and second in career free throw percentage.

• UCSB or UCS-D?
Over the past few years UCSB has been a dominant defensive force. 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.

• Turning Things Around
As a team, UCSB is averaging just 14.3 turnovers per game, ranking it 21st in the nation. In an odd twist, UCSB is averaging 16.5 turnovers in each of its wins and 12.5 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.

• Wake Me Up Before You Score, Girl
UCSB is at the bottom of the Big West's scoring average – just 51.3 points per game – and rank 321 out of 336 teams ranked nationally in that category, one of just two teams in the bottom 20 with double figures in wins. Yet, the Gauchos are still not on pace to set a school record for futility. The lowest per game average by a UCSB team was 45.2 in the 1973-74 season. This year's team is on pace for the third-lowest point total in school history.

• Hang Ten
With Nicole Nesbit and Emilie Johnson as the Gauchos' two leading scorers at 9.0 and 8.9 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.

• Put Me In, Coach
Sophomore guard Nicole Nesbit leads the team in points per game, averaging 9.0 – 9.4 in conference games – and she has a team-high 13 double-digit games this season. The thing is, she's been doing most of her damage off the bench. Nesbit has started just three games and come off the bench in the other 20. In games she starts, the sophomore from Northridge, Calif. averages 8.0 points per game, but Nesbit averages 9.2 points per game she comes off the bench.

• Three, It's the Magic Number
By burying a three-pointer in the second half vs. Cal State Fullerton, senior Kelsey Adrian assured herself of a spot in UCSB's top-10 after just 52 games in the blue and gold. Adrian has nailed 79 three-pointers in her Gaucho career, tied for 10th-most all-time in school history with Jessica Wilson (2004-08) and Lauren Pedersen (2008-09). The Langley, B.C. native leads UCSB with her 31.8% from downtown.

• No AARP Required for 60
It's pretty simple to know who's going to win whenever the Gauchos take the court – the team that scores 60 or more points. When UCSB hits 60, the team is 5-0. When Santa Barbara's opponents score 60 or more, the Gauchos are 1-5.

• No  Points for You!
UCSB has not allowed one opponent to score more than 67 points in a game this season and has not given up more than 49 points in 12 games this year, going 8-4 in those contests. Santa Barbara set a new school record earlier this year when the team did not allow six straight opponents to break the 50-point plateau.

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
F     1    Sweets Underwood - 10 points, 12 rebounds was 1st double double since Nov. 19
F    2    Kelsey Adrian - Tied career high with five assists vs. CSU Bakersfield
G    10    Emilie Johnson - Has hit double figures in six of last seven games
G    33    Destini Mason - Started 15 of her 22 games this season
F/C    32    Kirsten Tilleman - Two double-doubles last two games were her first this season

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G     3    Nicole Nesbit - Leads team with 9.0 points per game
G    5    Madeline Campbell - 5 points vs. Bakersfield were a season-high
F    15    Adaeze Okolie - Only action of the season came on Jan. 19 @ Long Beach
F    21    Jackie Luna-Castro - Second on the team with five blocked shots
G     22    Melissa Zornig - Shooter has not hit a 3-pointer in six straight games
G    24  Angelei Aguirre - Averaged 18.3 minutes per game over past three contests