December 21, 2012

UCSB Returns Home to Host No. 6 Kentucky

Weekly Release No. 8

• The Schedule

Game 11
Friday, December 21, 2012 at 3 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (4-6) vs. No. 6/7 Kentucky (9-1)
at The Thunderdome
All-time record vs. Wildcats: 0-2
Last meeting: L, 68-54 (Nov. 25, 2009)
Radio: KZSB AM 1290
Online Audio • Video • Live Stats

UCSB Returns Home to Host No. 6/7 Kentucky
Following a three-game road swing, UC Santa Barbara will finally return home this Friday to host No. 6/7 ranked Kentucky at 3 p.m. in the Thunderdome. The game will air live in Santa Barbara on KZSB AM 1290 and online at UCSBgauchos.com. Following the game, UCSB will take a week off from competition for the holidays. 

• Listen Live
The majority of UC Santa Barbara basketball games will be broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 1290 KZSB, including Friday's game against Kentucky. All games will be streamed live at UCSBgauchos.com. Mitchell Clements 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.

• 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

• Gauchos Give
UCSB Athletics, in partnership with the Santa Barbara News-Press, will host a Gauchos Give Youth Night during the Dec. 21 home game against Kentucky. All kids high school age and younger will receive free admission to the game. Tickets can be picked up at the game at the Thunderdome Ticket Booth. 

For The Record
The Gauchos enter Friday's game with a 4-6 overall record and a 1-2 mark in the Thunderdome. UCSB has won two of its last three games. The Gauchos split its pair of games on last week's road trip, knocking-off Washington, 54-46, on Saturday before falling, 67-39, at Brigham Young on Tuesday. The 28-point loss marked UCSB's biggest margin of defeat this season. 

Underwood Repeats As Big West Player of the Week
Senior forward Sweets Underwood was named the Big West Women's Basketball Player of the Week for the second consecutive week for her part in leading the Gauchos past Washington. Underwood tallied her fourth double-double – and second straight – with 15 points and a season-high 13 rebounds against the Huskies. She contributed 12 of her points in the first half alone and finished the game with three assists and a steal. 

Home Sweet Dome
UCSB will be looking to snap a two-game home losing skid on Friday. All-time UCSB has gone 295-128 (.697) at home and has accumulated winning home records during 21 of the last 23 seasons. Currently, the Gauchos are 1-2 in the Thunderdome this season. 

• Taking On The Top
Kentucky is the first ranked opponent the Gauchos will face this season. The last time UCSB took-on a top-10 ranked team was during the 2012 NCAA Tournament when they faced No. 1 ranked Baylor (Mar. 8). The Gauchos fell, 81-40, in that pairing. Santa Barbara's last victory over a ranked opponent was in December of the 2005-06 season when it knocked-off No. 24 UCLA, 90-81, in overtime at home. 

• Living The Sweets Life
Sweets Underwood currently leads the Gauchos with 11.7 points per game, which ranks 10th in the Big West, and 8.7 rebounds per game, ranking fourth in the league. Among Big West players, she is second in field goal percentage (53.4%), fifth in defensive rebounds (6.1 per game), seventh in free-throw percentage (79.3%), and eighth in offensive rebounds (2.6 per game).  

• Nic Is Nails
Junior Nicole Nesbit sank a career-best 10 free-throws out of 10 attempts against Washington. The guard is shooting 89.7% from the charity stripe this season (26-for-29), which ranks her second in the Big West and 23rd in the nation. Nesbit is second among the Gauchos with an average of 9.5 points per game, ranking 14th in the league, and her 2.6 assists per game ranks 10th. 

• Charity Work
As a team, the Gauchos have been impressive from the free-throw line as they have made 86-of-114 attempts this season for a 75.4% percentage, which is first in the Big West and 19th nationally. The Gauchos' shooting from the field hasn't been anything to shake a stick at either as they are collectively shooting 39.1%, which is second in the Big West. 

• Defensive Behavior
Last season, UCSB limited its opposition to an average of 52.5 points, which led the Big West and ranked ninth nationally. This season, the Gauchos are once again displaying their defensive prowess by limiting their opponents to an average of 55.2 points per game and as of Monday, ranked first in the conference and 48th nationally. UCSB is holding its opposition to just 35.7% shooting from the field, and was 43rd among all Division I schools earlier this week. Additionally, the Gauchos are tops in the league in rebounding defense as they have limited their opposition to a league-low 35 rebounds per game. 

• Holding On
As of Monday, UCSB ranked 40th nationally and tops the Big West for fewest turnovers per game and  it currently averages 14.3. The Gauchos also lead the league in assists to turnovers with a ratio of .90 to 1.0. 

• What About The Wildcats?
Kentucky enters Friday's game with a 9-1 record and is riding an eight-game winning streak. The Wildcats most recently defeated Pepperdine, 80-62, on Tuesday. UK leads the all-time series against UCSB, 2-0, and won the last meeting, 68-54, on Nov. 25, 2009 in the Thunderdome.  

• Catching Up With The Cats
Kentucky ranks seventh nationally in scoring margin, outscoring its opponents by an average 25.4 points per game. Eight of its nine wins have been by 18 points or more. The team is led by A'dia Mathies, who is averaging 13 points per game and 2.5 assists. DeNesha Stallworth is second on the squad with 11.9 points per game and 5.1 rebounds, while Samarie Walker leads with 7.6 boards per contest. 

The Mitchell File
Head coach Carlene Mitchell is looking to build upon a great ending to her first season at the helm of the Gauchos – which included a Big West Tournament 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. Her career record with the Gauchos currently stands at 21-22. 

Mondays With Mitchell
Speaking of Coach Mitchell, she can be heard every Monday on a special KZSB 1290 AM segment with the Baron Ron Herron, appropriately titled "Mondays With Mitchell" at 8:50 a.m.

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.  See below for a video tribute to Friday's #thunderdome35 Gaucho basketball legend, Barb Beainy.

• On The Horizon
Following the holiday break, UCSB will return to the Thunderdome to host its final non-conference game of the regular season against Kansas State on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. The Gauchos will then open Big West Conference action on Thursday, Jan. 3 at UC Irvine at 7 p.m.