UCSB Faces Pacific in Semifinals of Big West Tourney on Friday

UCSB Faces Pacific in Semifinals of Big West Tourney on Friday

• The Schedule
Friday, March 9, 2012 vs. Pacific, 2:30 p.m.
Big West Tournament Semifinals
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 5 Pacific (17-12)
at Anaheim's Honda Center
Series record vs. the Tigers – 49-17
Streak – Lost 3
Last time out vs. the Tigers – L, 60-40 (@ UOP, 3/1/12)
Game broadcast on AM 990 KTMS and streaming online by clicking here

Saturday, March 10, 2012 – if necessary
Big West Tournament Finals
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 1 Cal Poly/No. 7 Long Beach State
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
• vs. #5 Pacific, 3/9
Pacific knocked off #4 seed UC Davis with a 59-51 victory, the second straight season the underdog Tigers have advanced to the semifinals. Last season UOP beat #2 seed UCSB in Santa Barbara. Pacific, which swept the season series over the Gauchos for the first time since the 1986-87 season, handed UCSB its largest loss, 60-40, last week in Stockton.
• #1 Cal Poly
UCSB series record vs. the Mustangs – 51-18
Streak – Lost 2
• #7 Long Beach State
UCSB series record vs. the 49ers – 46-21
Streak – Won 1

• UCSB in the Big West Tournament
With its win over No. 3 seed UC Irvine in the First Round of the Big West Tournament, UCSB is now 39-13 all-time in the conference tourney.  The Gauchos have won 13 Big West Tournament titles, including nine in a row from 1997-2005.

• UCSB in the Big West Tournament, Part 2
The Gauchos will play No. 5 seed Pacific in the semifinals on Friday, the team that knocked out UCSB in the First Round of the Big West Tournament last season. Previously, UCSB had won four tourney games in a row over Pacific. Santa Barbara's two wins over Cal Poly came in 2008 and in the title game in 2009. Meanwhile, UCSB's eight wins over Long Beach is its most vs. any opponent and the Gauchos have won seven in a row in the tournament vs. the 49ers.

Big West Tournament – All-time seeds
Seed    Amount    Last
#1        14    2009
#2        3    2011
#3        3    1993
#4        1    1994
#5        1    2010
#6        2    2012
#7        1    1989
#8        1    1986

• 22 and Counting ...
With its victory at UC Davis in the regular-season finale on March 3, 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 15-15, 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• Climbing the Charts
With 10 points vs. UC Irvine, Emilie Johnson passed both Kayte Christensen (1998-2002) and Becky Brown (1989-93) for 14th place in school scoring history. She sits just 18 points away from overtaking Kristen Nicholson (1982-86) for 13th all-time. Johnson has reached double figures in 12 of her last 14 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 (636), eighth in career assists (334, 17 behind Erin Alexander) and second in career free throw percentage.

• 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.

• Three, It's the Magic Number
Senior Kelsey Adrian has hit multiple three-pointers in seven of her last eight games and is shooting 36.9% from downtown this season, which is tops on the team and fifth in the Big West. Her 1.50 three's per game are sixth amongst conference players. In just 60 games at UCSB, Adrian already ranks in UCSB's top-10 in career three-pointers. The Langley, B.C. native has nailed 96 three-pointers in her Gaucho career, placing her seventh all-time as she passed Erin O'Bryan (2003-06) last week. Adrian is nine treys shy of tying Kristen Mann (2001-05) for sixth in school annals.

• Aiming for a Perfect 10
With Emilie Johnson as the Gauchos' leading scorer at 9.5 points per game, the team does not have a scorer averaging 10.0 or more ppg. At this rate, Johnson needs 26 points to finish at an even 10.0 points per game vs. Pacific. 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 52.2 points per game. Entering this week, UCSB ranked 321 out of 336 teams nationally in that category. 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 7.1 per game. There has been just two games this season where one of the two didn't grab at least seven rebounds.

• 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 averages just 14.8 turnovers per game, ranking it 38th in the nation and tied with Cal Poly for the lowest total in the Big West. It's a far cry from just two seasons ago, 2009-10, when the Gauchos committed 649 total turnovers (20.3 per game), the 8th-highest mark in program history.

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
F     1    Sweets Underwood - Has at least 7 rebounds in 14 games this year
F    2    Kelsey Adrian - Career-high 21 points in win over UC Davis
G    10    Emilie Johnson - Has hit double figures in 12 of last 14 games
G    33    Destini Mason - Started 22 of her 29 games this season – & 9 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 - 15 points were most in a game since scoring 16 12/31 at Cal Poly
G    24  Angelei Aguirre - Pulled in season-high 7 rebounds in win over Long Beach (2/25)