December 28, 2012

Gauchos Play Host to Kansas State

Weekly Release No. 9

• The Schedule

Game 12
Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 2 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (4-7) vs. Kansas State (8-3)
at The Thunderdome
All-time record vs. Wildcats: 0-1
Last meeting: L, 57-48 (Dec. 29, 1986)
Radio: KZSB AM 1290
Online Audio • Video • Live Stats

• UCSB Hosts Kansas State In Final Game Of 2012
After a hiatus for the holidays, UC Santa Barbara will return to action this Saturday to host its final non-conference game of the regular season against Kansas State at 2 p.m. in the Thunderdome. The game will air live in Santa Barbara on KZSB AM 1290 and will be streamed online at here. A live video stream can be found at BigWest.tv. 

• Listen Live
The majority of UC Santa Barbara basketball games will be broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 1290 KZSB, including Saturday's game. 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

 For The Record
UCSB enters Saturday's game with a 4-7 overall record and a 1-3 mark in the Thunderdome. The Gauchos will be looking to snap a two-game losing skid after dropping consecutive contests to Brigham Young (Dec. 18) and No. 6 Kentucky (Dec. 21). UCSB has gone 2-3 during the month of December. 

• The Tie That Binds
Head coach Carlene Mitchell will be facing her alma mater for the first time as a head coach. Mitchell played for Kansas State during the 1995-96 season, the year before current Kansas State head Coach Deb Patterson took the reigns of the program. 

Home Court Disadvantage?
UCSB has struggled as of late on its home court. After opening their home schedule with a victory over New Mexico State on Nov. 14, the Gauchos have dropped their last three games in the Thunderdome, suffering losses to USC (Nov. 27), St. Mary's (Dec. 1) and No. 6 Kentucky (Dec. 21). The last time UCSB lost three straight at home was during conference play last season when it faced consecutive losses to UC Davis (Jan. 26), Pacific (Jan. 28) and Cal Poly (Feb. 4). The Gauchos have not dropped four home games in a row since the 1987-88 season when they fell to Fresno State, San Jose State, Long Beach State and UNLV to end the season. All-time UCSB has gone 295-130 (.694) in the Thunderdome and has accumulated winning home records during 21 of the last 23 seasons, including the 2011-12 campaign when the Gauchos posted a 9-6 mark in Santa Barbara. 

• Living The Sweets Life
Senior Sweets Underwood currently ranks in the Big West top-10 in a multitude of statistical categories. Underwood is second in field goal percentage (51%), third in rebounding (9.0 per game), eighth in free-throw percentage (78.8%) and 11th in points per game (11.5). She is the current UCSB team leader in points and rebounds per game and has led the team with four double-doubles thus far.  

• Nic Is Nails
Junior Nicole Nesbit currently ranks second in the Big West in free-throw shooting (90.6%) having sank 29-of-32 attempts this season. Nesbit is second among the Gauchos with an average of 9.3 points per game and her 2.6 assists per game leads the squad.  

• Charity Work
As a team, the Gauchos have been impressive from the free-throw line as they have made 94-of-123 attempts this season for a 76.4% percentage, which is first in the Big West. The team saw its best free-throw performance of the year in last week's game against Kentucky as it shot 88.9% (8-of-9) against the Wildcats. The Gauchos' shooting from the field hasn't been anything to shake a stick at either as they are collectively shooting 38.8%, which is third 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 56.2 points per game, which is tops in the conference. UCSB is holding its opposition to just 36.7% shooting, which is second in the league. Additionally, the Gauchos are tops in the league in rebounding defense as they have limited their opposition to a league-low 34.5 rebounds per game. 

• Suddenly Seeking Scoring
While the Gauchos are solid on the defensive end, they have struggled to score. In all three of their December losses, UCSB has been limited to fewer than 40 points, including their last two games (BYU and Kentucky). As a team, UCSB is 10th in the 10-team league in points per game (50.8), averaging five points less than ninth-ranked UC Irvine. The Gauchos are also 10th in rebounds as they average a league-low 33.7 boards per game. Meanwhile, UCSB is ninth in three-point field goal percentage (26.1%) and has made the fewest attempts from beyond the arc of any Big West team (88). 

• Keeping Up With Kansas State
Kansas State enters Saturday's game with an 8-3 overall record and a perfect 4-0 record on opposing courts. The Wildcats are coming off of a 80-54 victory at UNLV on Dec. 21, which snapped a three-game skid. Two of Kansas State's losses came at the hands of ranked opposition: No. 22 Texas A&M and No. 5 Notre Dame. The Gauchos and Wildcats have not faced each other since the 1986-87 season. 

• Wrangling The Wildcats
Kansas State is averaging 64.3 points per game, The Wildcats are led by Brittany Chambers, who is averaging 19 points per game to go along with a team-leading 7.9 rebounds per game. Chambers is also the assist-leader, averaging three per game. Haley Texada is second on the squad averaging 12.1 points per game. 

• 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 21-23. 

 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. 

• Battle For The Big West Begins
UCSB will open its 2012-13 Big West Conference slate on Thursday, Jan. 3 at UC Irvine and then travel to Long Beach State on Saturday, Jan. 5. The Gauchos will be seeking to claim their 14th Big West regular season title in the past 17 years and to defend their 2012 tournament title. In a preseason poll of the media, UCSB was picked to finish third in the conference 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.