UCSB Faces UC Irvine in Big West Tournament Opener on Tuesday

UCSB Faces UC Irvine in Big West Tournament Opener on Tuesday

• The Schedule
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Big West Tournament First Round
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara at No. 3 UC Irvine (13-16, 9-7)
at UC Irvine's Bren Events Center (4,984)
Series record vs. the Anteaters – 56-26
Streak – Lost 2
Last time out vs. the Anteaters – L, 72-65 (@ UCI, 2/18/12)
Game broadcast on AM 990 KTMS and streaming online by clicking here

Friday, March 9, 2012 – if necessary
Saturday, March 10, 2012 – if necessary
Big West Tournament Semifinals & Finals
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 Opponent
• at UC Irvine, 3/6
Led by Kassandra McCalister in both games, UC Irvine swept the season series over UCSB for the first time since the 1987-88 season. McCalister, an All-Big West First Team pick, had 21 points in UCI's 61-53 win over the Gauchos and a career-high 36 in the Anteaters' 72-65 victory two weeks ago. Anete Klintsone averages 9.3 points per game for UCI and Jacquelyn Marshall scores 9.0 points per game for Molly Goodenbour, in her fourth season at Irvine. UCSB is 2-2 vs. UC Irvine in the Big West Tournament.

• What an Honor
For the fourth consecutive season Emilie Johnson was honored by the Big West as she was named to the All-Big West Second Team. She becomes the first Gaucho since Kristen Mann (2001-05) to be honored by the conference in all four seasons at UCSB. Joining Johnson in being honored was her backcourt mate, Nicole Nesbit, who was named to the All-Big West Honorable Mention squad and was Co-Sixth Player of the Year. Nesbit, who is second on the team in scoring, is the first Sixth Player of the Year at UCSB since Ashlee Brown was honored in 2008.

• 22 and Counting ...
With its victory at UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara assured itself of finishing Big West regular-season play at 8-8, marking the 22nd consecutive season the Gauchos have finished at .500 or better in conference action.

• Tenacious D
UC Santa Barbara is continuing its defensive dominance this season, holding opponents to just 51.0 points per game, best in the Big West and ranking the squad sixth in the nation. The Gauchos are also allowing opponents to shoot just 35.5% from the floor, which is the best mark in the conference and 33rd 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 14-15, this UCSB team could become the second squad in three seasons to post sub-.500 marks, and only the first time since eight teams did it from the 1982-83 through 1989-90 seasons.

• 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.

• Eight is Enough
By finishing at 8-8 in Big West play, the Gauchos dropped more games than they have since the 1990-91 team went 10-8 in Big West play.

• Climbing the Charts
With 24 points last week at UC Riverside and UC Irvine, Emilie Johnson tied Kayte Christensen (1998-2002) for 15th all-time in school scoring history. At 1,318 career points Johnson is nine points shy of Becky Brown (1989-93) for 14th place and 28 points from overtaking Kristen Nicholson (1982-86) for 13th all-time in Santa Barbara history. Johnson has reached double figures in 11 of her last 13 games and the Loomis, Calif. native has 11 20-point games in her UCSB career.

• Top-Ten Time
It's not just points where Emilie Johnson ranks among the best in UCSB history. Johnson is third in career three-pointers made (207, eight behind Jess Hansen), first in career three-pointers attempted (630), eighth in career assists (330, 21 behind Erin Alexander) and second in career free throw percentage.

• Three, It's the Magic Number
In just 59 games at UCSB, senior Kelsey Adrian already ranks in UCSB's top-10 in career three-pointers. Adrian has nailed 94 three-pointers in her Gaucho career, placing her seventh all-time as she passed Erin O'Bryan (2003-06) this past week. Adrian's 36.1% from downtown leads the team and is seventh in the Big West and her average of 1.48 made per game ranks her sixth in the conference.

• Aiming for a Perfect 10
With Emilie Johnson as the Gauchos' leading scorer at 9.4 the team does not have a scorer averaging 10.0 or more points per game. At this rate, Johnson needs 26 points to finish at an even 10.0 points per game vs. UC Irvine. 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.

• Wake Me Up Before You Score, Girl
UCSB is at the bottom of the Big West's scoring average – just 51.9 points per game – and rank 321 out of 336 teams ranked nationally in that category, one of just two teams in the bottom 15 with double figures in wins (the other is Savannah State).  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.

• 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 second in the conference with 8.3 rebounds per game and Underwood is sixth with 7.0 per game. There has been just two games this season where one of the two didn't grab at least seven rebounds.

• Turning Things Around
As a team, UCSB is averaging just 14.8 turnovers per game, ranking it 38th in the nation. In an odd twist, UCSB is averaging 16.6 turnovers in each of its wins and 13.1 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.

• 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.

• It's Not AARP, but 60 is the Number
The 60-point barrier is a pretty simple one for UCSB in determining who will win. When the Gauchos score at least 60 points, they are 7-1 this season. When an opponent scores at least 60 points, the Gauchos are 1-7. On the same token, when UCSB shoots 40% or better in a game, the Gauchos are 12-5. When an opponent hits 40% or more shots, UCSB is 0-10.

• No Points for You!
UCSB has allowed just one opponent to score more than 70 points in a game this season and has not given up more than 49 points in 14 games this year, going 10-4 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.

• Tilleman's Top Ten
It's not just in total rebounds where Kirsten Tilleman ranks as one of the best in the Big West. The junior from Bozeman, Montana is seventh in blocked shots per game (0.90), fourth in offensive rebounds (2.59), second in defensive rebounds (5.76) and seventh in minutes played (32.00).

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
F     1    Sweets Underwood - Tied her career-high with 4 assists at UC Davis
F    2    Kelsey Adrian - Career-high 21 points in win over UC Davis
G    10    Emilie Johnson - Has hit double figures in 11 of last 13 games
G    33    Destini Mason - Started 21 of her 28 games this season – & 8 in a row
F/C    32    Kirsten Tilleman - Second in the conference in rebounding at 8.3 per game

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G     3    Nicole Nesbit - Named Big West 6th Player of the Year
G    5    Madeline Campbell - 5 points vs. Bakersfield were a season-high
F    15    Adaeze Okolie - Played at Pacific on 3/1; 1st action since Jan. 19 @ Long Beach
F    21    Jackie Luna-Castro - Grabbed 4 rebounds at Pacific, one off career-high
G     22    Melissa Zornig - Has not had 20 or more minutes in 7 straight games
G    24  Angelei Aguirre - Pulled in season-high 7 rebounds in win over Long Beach