Gauchos Head to SDSU for First Round of WNIT

Jasmine Ware (Photo by Vince Agapito)
Jasmine Ware (Photo by Vince Agapito)

WNIT First Round Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 7pm

UC Santa Barbara (16-16, 12-8 Big West) @ San Diego State (26-6, 15-2 Mountain West)

Radio: KZSB 1290 AM

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The winner will advance to Round Two and will play the victor of the BYU-Idaho State matchup. Date and time are TBD.

• Gauchos Head to SDSU for First Round of WNIT

UC Santa Barbara finished fourth in the Big West with an 11-7 record. Earning a bye through the first round of the BigWestTournament,the Gauchos defeated Cal State Northridge 45-31 in the conference quar terfinals. In the semifinals round, UCSB fell 62-43 to Cal Poly who would go on to win their first Big West Championship.

• For the Record

The Gauchos finished the regular season with a 16-16 overall record and an 11-7 mark in the Big West.

• In the WNIT

This will be UCSB's eighth appearnace in the WNIT. The Gauchos have a 3-4 record in the tournament.

• Hardware Collection

Sweets Underwood and Nicole Nesbit both earned All-Big West honors after their standout seasons. Underwood was named to First Team All-Big West. As a senior, she made Gaucho his- tory by being named Big West Player of the Week four different times. She is the first Gaucho to be named to the list since Emilie Johnson did it back in the 2010-11 season. Nesbit earned her second career All-Big West Honorable Mention. Last year, she was the conference's Co-Sixth Player of theYear but spent the majority of this season as a starter.The transition paid off for the Gauchos as Nesbit finished the regular season as the team's second leading scorer (10.6 ppg) and assists leader (3.0 apg).

• In Our Defense

For the second consecutive season, the Gauchos led the league by limiting their opposition to a conference-low 52.4 points per game – which ranks 19th nationally – which is one spot ahead of San Diego State in that category.The Aztecs have given up only two more points than the Gauchos have this season through the same amount of games (32).

• Where We Rank

In addition to ranking among the nation's top-20 teams in scoring defense, the Gauchos are 27th in free-throw percentage (75.4%), 45th in three-point field goal defense (27.5%), 42nd in field-goal percentage defense (35.8%) and 79th in turnovers per game (15.4).

• RPI Rankings

Despite being fourth in the Big West, the Gauchos are the fifth team to appear on the RPI rank- ings at the 155 spot. Pacific leads the conference on the list, appearing in 40th place. Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge follow theTigers on the list at the 75th and 145th spots, respectively. Hawai'i (148) also top the Gauchos in the RPI.

• The Big West Hits the WNIT

Four Big West teams earned a spot in this year's WNIT. Pacific earned an automatic berth as they won the conference regular season title and made it to the Big West championship game. In addi- tion to UCSB, Hawai'i and Long Beach State also secured at-large bids for the tournament. All of the Big West teams are in the same side of the bracket, so conference rematches are a possibility.

• Living The Sweets Life

Sweets Underwood continues to lead the Gauchos with an average of 11.8 points per game, which tied for 9th in the Big West. She also boasts a team-leading 48.3% field goal percentage, which is the fourth-best among league players.With those numbers, Underwood is 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 12th double-double of the season against Long Beach State on Mar. 7th.

• Nesbit on Point

Junior Nicole Nesbit led the Gauchos in points during the Big West Tournament by scoring 12 against Cal State Northridge and putting up 11 points in the semifianls loss to Cal Poly.The guard is also netting 10.7 points per game this season, which is second on the team only to Sweets Un- derwood. Nesbit has scored in double-digit figures for eight straight games and in ten of the past 11. She ranks second in the Big West and is 21st nationally in free-throw shooting (87.2%), knocking down 95-of-109 attempts this season.

• Destini Calling

Destini Mason has made five consecutive starts for the Gauchos after only got the starting nod two times before in Big West play, and she has been making the most of her opportunity. In the first of the three games, Mason recorded her first collegiate double-double, which included a career-high 12 rebounds. In the stretch, she has scored 7.2 points per game, compared to her season average of 5.7 ppg, and is pulling down an average of 7.0 boards, nearly double her season average of 3.8 rpg.

• 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 10.7 points, while Zornig is averaging 8.2points and leads the team in three-point shooting (33.6%).

• Road Warriors

This season, UCSB captured their most im- pressive wins as the away team. Overall, the Gauchos finished the season with an 8-5 road record, 6-3 in conference games. Along with defeating no. 1 Pacific in Stockton 52-47 on Feb. 9, UCSB stands as the only Big West team to take down Hawai'i in Honolulu after defeat- ing the Rainbow Wahine 51-50 on Jan. 26.The Gauchos also went up to Seattle and defeated Washington, a team that has won 20 games, by a score of 54-46 on Dec. 15. In fact, UCSB have won more games on the road than they have in the Thunderdome (6-8).

• Last Time in the WNIT

The Gauchos fell to USC 67-64 on March 17, 2011 last time they were in the tournament. Five members of the current UCSB roster were on that team (Aguirre, Mason, Nesbit, Underwood, and Zornig). In the loss, Under- wood and Nesbit each put up 12 points off the bench.

• Analyzing the Aztecs

San Diego State tied a program high with 26 wins and posted the school's second longest win streak at 17, all while capturing the Moun- tain West regular season title for the second consecutive season. The Aztecs are led by Courtney Clements who averages 17.5 ppg and Chelsea Hopkins who leads the team with 8.1 rpg to go along with her 13.5 ppg average.

• History with the Aztecs

UCSB has a 12-18 all time record against San Diego State. The last time the teams faced each other was on January 2, 1999 when the Gauchos won 78-50. The teams first met in 1973, UCSB's second year as a program, when SDSU downed the Gauchos 49-42. UCSB would repay the favor later that season with a 54-53 victory to even the season series. The Aztecs were once members of the Big West from the 1985-86 season through the 1989-90 year. For the first three seasons of that stretch, the teams were members of the predecessor of the Big West, the PCAA.

• 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 BigWestTournament title and NCAATournament 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.