UCSB Set to Host Hawai’i, Northridge

UCSB Set to Host Hawai’i, Northridge

Weekly Release No. 17

Game 25
Thursday, February 21, 2012 at 7 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (11-13, 7-5 Big West) vs. Hawai'i (13-11, 9-4 Big West)
All-time record vs. Rainbow Wahine: 13-19
Last meeting: W, 51-50 (Jan. 26, 2013)
Streak: Won 1
Online Audio • Video • Live Stats 

Game 26
Saturday, February 23, 2012 at 2 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal State Northridge (13-12,  7-6 Big West)
All-time record vs. Matadors: 38-12
Last meeting: W, 56-37 (Jan. 24, 2013)
Streak: Won 12
Online Audio • Video • Live Stats  

• Gauchos Remain at Home to Host Pair
UC Santa Barbara will look to bounce back from a 65-56 home loss to Cal Poly last Saturday as it hosts Hawai'i and Cal State Northridge on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Both of this week's games will air live in Santa Barbara on KZSB 1290 AM, the Santa Barbara News-Press radio station and stream live on UCSBgauchos.com. A live video stream is available at BigWest.tv.   

 Get Your Tickets
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
The Gauchos carry an 11-13 overall record into this week's games and are now 7-5 in the Big West Conference.  

• The Wild, Wild (Big) West
With three weeks of Big West regular season play remaining, the Gauchos are currently in fourth place. Pacific and Hawai'i are currently on top of the standings with 9-4 records while Cal Poly is in third at 8-4. UCSB has gone 4-3 against its remaining six league opponents.  

• Bringing The Thunder Back To The Dome
While the Gauchos have gone 7-4 and won their last four games on the road, they have struggled in the Thunderdome this season, compiling a 3-7 record. UCSB has yet to string together consecutive wins at home. With just four home games left to play, the Gauchos are in danger of finishing the season with a sub-.500 home record  for just the third time in the last 24 seasons. 

• RPI Report
The Gauchos currently rank 148th in the NCAA's latest RPI rankings. They are down 17 spots from last week's ranking and are fifth among Big West teams. Pacific leads the pack ranked 44th.

• In Our Defense
For the second consecutive season, the Gauchos are pacing the league by limiting their opposition to a conference-low 54 points per game – which ranks 32nd nationally – and is 5.8 points fewer than No. 2 ranked Cal State Northridge. In league play, the Gauchos are holding opponents to 51.4 points on average, 6.6 points fewer than second-ranked Hawai'i.  

• Where We Rank
In addition to ranking among the nation's top-100 teams in scoring defense, the Gauchos are 45th in free-throw percentage (74%), 59th in three-point field goal defense (27.8%), 69th in field-goal percentage defense (36.6%) and 77th in turnovers per game (15.5).  

• Charity Work 
Junior Nicole Nesbit ranks second in the Big West in free-throw shooting (85.2%) and is 32nd nationally having sank 69-of-81 attempts this season. The Gauchos had the top free-throw shooting performance of any Big West team this year against UC Davis (Feb. 7) when they sank 13-of-13.  

• The Board Game
The Gauchos are tops in the league in rebounding defense as they have limited their opposition to a league-low 33.3 rebounds per game and their 68.9% defensive rebounding percentage is also second in the league behind Hawai'i (69.7%). UCSB is the only team with two players ranked in the conference top-10 in boards with Sweets Underwood ranking fourth (9.0 per game) and Kirsten Tilleman ranking seventh (7.4).  

• Living The Sweets Life
Sweets Underwood continues to lead the Gauchos with an average of 11.8 points per game, which ranks 10th in the Big West. She also boasts a team-leading 49.3% field goal percentage, which is the fifth-best among league players. At her current clip, Underwood will become the first Gaucho to lead the team in points, rebounds and field goal percentage since Jenna Green did in 2006-07. The senior recorded her 10th double-double – and third consecutive – against Cal Poly. She scored 15 points and had 13 rebounds.  

• The Class of 2014
Juniors Nicole Nesbit and Melissa Zornig are second and third on the team, respectively, in points per game. Nesbit is averaging 9.6 points and leads the team in assists (2.93). Zornig is averaging 8.9 points and leads the team in three-point shooting (33%).

• Aloha Hawai'i 
Hawai'i enters this week in a first-place tie with Pacific for the Big West lead. Since falling to the Gauchos on Jan. 26 – their lone loss at home this season – the Rainbow Wahine have won four of their last five. Hawai'i is coming off of a pair of home wins against UC Davis (59-48) and Pacific (74-71).  The Rainbow Wahine carry a 4-3 road record into this Thursday's game. Hawai'i is led by Kamilah Martin, who averages 15.3 points per game and 10 rebounds.  

• Last Time vs. Hawai'i 
The last time the Gauchos and Rainbow Wahine met, UCSB was able to post its first come-from-behind victory of the season as it edged out Hawai'i, 51-50. Junior Melissa Zornig led UCSB with 15 points and four assists, making 7-of-10 attempts from the field.  

• Meeting The Matadors
UCSB will carry a 12-game win streak against the Matadors into Saturday's pairing. Since falling to the Gauchos on Jan. 24, the Matadors have won just three of their last seven games. Northridge earned a split at home last week, falling to Pacific (74-56) before narrowly defeating UC Davis (51-49). Ashley Guay paces the squad with 13.4 points and 4.08 assists per game.  

• Last Time vs. Northridge
During their Jan. 24 meeting, UCSB was able to limit Cal State Northridge to 37 points, a season-best for the Gauchos. Sweets Underwood recorded a double-double in the victory, compiling 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Gauchos. Kirsten Tilleman, meanwhile, was just short of her own double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.  

Two-Year Thunderdome Celebration Begins
UC Santa Barbara has begun 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 at UCSBgauchos.com. 

• 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 28-29.  

• On The Horizon
Following this week's pair of home contests, the Gauchos will hit the road for their final regular season road swing. UCSB will play at Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. and then hit up UC Riverside on Saturday, Mar. 2 at 1 p.m.