Gauchos Visit Vegas for 2012-13 Opener
• The Schedule
Friday, November 9, 2012 at 7 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at UNLV
at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center
All-time record vs. Rebels: 9-27
Last meeting: L, 46-44 (Dec. 10, 2011)
• Two-Year Thunderdome Celebration Begins
In 2012-13, UC Santa Barbara will begin a two-year 35th anniversary celebration of the Thunderdome. The #thunderdome35 celebration includes commemorative 2012-13 season tickets that feature some of the greatest players to ever compete on the Thunderdome court. The players will also be remembered during Gaucho men's and women's basketball home broadcasts as well as on the Gauchos in Thirty television show and online at UCSBgauchos.com.
UCSB opened the 2012-13 in fine form as it downed visiting Vanguard, 52-39, in its only exhibition of the season on Monday evening in the the Thunderdome. The Gauchos opened the game with a 15-0 run and never trailed. Nicole Nesbit led the team with 17 points while Sweets Underwood posted a double double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. This is the second consecutive season that UCSB has opened the year with an exhibition victory over the Lions.
• Running Down The Rebels
Friday's official season opener against UNLV will mark the 37th meeting between the Gauchos and the Rebels. UNLV has posted a 27-9 all-time record in games against UCSB. The teams last met on Dec. 10, 2011 at the Thunderdome when UNLV edged the Gauchos, 46-44. Melissa Zornig and Nicole Nesbit led the team with 13 and 11 points, respectively. The Gauchos have won three of their last four contests in Las Vegas. The Rebels opened their 2012-13 campaign on Monday as well with an exhibition against Dixie State. Fueled by a strong second-half, in which they out-scored their visitors, 40-27, the Rebels won the game, 68-53. UNLV was led by Kelli Thompson, who posted a team-leading 19 points and nine rebounds.
• Listen Live Online
The majority of UC Santa Barbara's basketball games will be broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 1290 KZSB and all games will stream live online at UCSBgauchos.com and NewsPress.com. Friday's game against UNLV will be broadcast online only due to conflicts with Santa Barbara City College Football. Mitchell Clement will serve as the play-by-play voice for the Gauchos. Former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB star Don Ford will handle the color commentary for several games.
• Talk'n Gauchos
UCSB Athletics' weekly radio show, Talk'n Gauchos, airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1290 KZSB. The show is broadcast live from The Beachside Café, located on Goleta Beach and it features UCSB coaches and athletes. The show is hosted by Gerry Fall, the Voice of the Gauchos.
• And We're Off
In Vegas on Friday, UCSB will be looking for its first season-opening win since the 2008-09 season when it knocked off San Diego, 75-66, to begin the year. The Gauchos have gone 22-18 all-time in their season-openers.
• Senior Citizens
The Gaucho roster features four seniors this year – Kirsten Tilleman, Sweets Underwood, Destini Mason and Angelei Aguirre – marking the first time since 2009-10 that UCSB has had more than two seniors on the team. That season the team boasted five.
• On The Road Again
UCSB posted a 6-9 record in road games during the 2011-12 campaign. All-time, the Gauchos have gone 220-217 (.503) in away games. In four of the last six seasons, the team has finished the year with winning records on opponent's courts.
• We Are The (Defending) Champions
The 2011-12 Gauchos captured the program's 14th Big West crown after a stunning run through the league's tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the 14th time. UCSB returns eight of its letterwinners from last year's championship team, including three starters. Among the returners are Big West Tournament MVP, Kirsten Tilleman, and Honorable Mention All-Big West honoree, Nicole Nesbit.
• Mitchell Readies For Round Two
Head coach Carlene Mitchell will look to build upon a great ending to her first season at the helm of the Gauchos – which included the aforementioned Big West Tournamet title and NCAA Tournament berth – in 2012-13. In addition to compiling a 17-16 record in her first campaign, she was also named one of three finalists for the Spalding Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year award, which is presented by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
• Mondays With Mitchell
Speaking of Coach Mitchell, she can be heard every Monday on a special KZSB 1290 AM segement with the Baron Ron Herron, appropriately titled "Mondays With Mitchell" at 8:50 a.m.
• Preseason Predictions
In a preseason poll of the media, UCSB was picked to finish third in the Big West Conference in 2012-13, receiving 153 points and three of 16 first-place votes. Cal State Northridge was picked first with 161 points and six first-place votes and Pacific was picked second with 159 points and five first-place votes. Cal Poly (127 points), Long Beach State (116 points), Hawaii (81 points), UC Davis (80 points), UC Riverside (74 points), UC Irvine (65 points) and Cal State Fullerton (29 points), rounded out the poll.
• Making Excellence A Habit
UCSB will be aiming for its 22nd winning season in the last 23 years. Dating back to the 1990-91 season, the Gauchos have finished the season with a sub-.500 record just once: in 2009-10 (15-17). UCSB has won the Big West regular season title 14 of the past 17 seasons and has captured the tournament crown 14 times.
• A Wealth Of Experience
Of this year's eight returners, four played in all 33 games last season: Sweets Underwood, Nicole Nesbit, Melissa Zornig and Kirsten Tilleman. Destini Mason, meanwhile, appeared in all but one game during the 2011-12 campaign. Tilleman averaged a team-leading 31.9 minutes on the floor while Underwood is second among returners with an average of 25.6 minutes.
• Getting Defensive
They say defense wins championships and the Gauchos proved that last season as they held opponents to an average of just 52.5 points per game, which was the best in the Big West and ranked the squad ninth in the nation. UCSB allowed opponents to shoot just 36.4 from the floor, which was the best mark in the league and 51st in the nation. In Monday's exhibition, the Gaucho defense was on full display as they held Vanguard scoreless through the first 10 minutes and limited the Lions to just 16.1% shooting from the floor in the first half.
• On The Horizon
Following Friday's game, UCSB will return home for a home pairing against New Mexico State on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome. The Gauchos will travel to Mexico the following week to play in the Puerto Vallarta Tournament of Hope on Nov. 20-22 and will round out November's action at home on the 27th against USC at 7 p.m.
• Get Your Tickets
Season tickets and single game tickets for women's basketball are available at the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.