UCSB Embarks on Road Trip to St. Mary's, Santa Clara

UCSB Embarks on Road Trip to St. Mary's, Santa Clara

Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 at 7pm
UC Santa Barbara at St. Mary's (3-0)
at McKeon Pavillion
All-time record vs. Gaels: 7-4
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com

Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 at 5:30pm
UC Santa Barbara at Santa Clara (0-3)
at The Leavey Center
All-time record vs. Broncos: 5-2
Radio: KZSB 1290 AM
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com  

On the Road Again
The Gauchos will embark on their first road trip of the season this weekend. Their first stop will be in Moraga, Calif. when they take on undefeated St. Mary's College. On Saturday, UCSB will visit Santa Clara which enters this week still searching for its first win. The road swing will also mark the first time this year the Gauchos will play two games in the same weekend.

Week in Review
In wrapping up their three-game homestand, the Gauchos fell to Arizona 51-49. Nesbit led the Gauchos for the second consecutive game with 18 points. Fellow senior Destini Mason was second on the team with 10 points. UCSB overcame a seven-point lead late in the second half to tie the game at 49, however a 2-2 trip to the free throw line gave the Wildcats the edge they needed to pick up the road win.

All Hands on Deck
With the exception of one player, every Gaucho has played on average of at least 11 minutes per game this season. With four newcomers, including three freshmen, nearly half of the UCSB roster are new to Divison I basketball. However, the young Gauchos have stepped up early in the season as Mi'Chael Wright and Onome Jemerigbe both earned their first collegiate starts. Jemerigbe scored 7 points, found three assists, and swiped two steals in her start against Arizona.

Attacking the Boards
This season, the average height of the UCSB roster is 5-9. Despite their lack of height, though, the Gauchos have outrebounded their opponents 74 to 67, averaging 37 boards per game. Leading UCSB with an average of 6.5 is freshman Mi'Chael Wright. The forward recently grabbed six boards against Arizona.

In Our Defense
Since Carlene Mitchell has been head coach, the Gauchos have led the league the past two seasons in scoring defense. Last season, UCSB held its opponents to just 52.4 points per game– 19th in the nation. And in the 2011-12 season, her team allowed only 53.2 ppg –7th nationally.  

Gathering the Gaels
St. Mary's will be putting their perfect record on the line when they host the Gauchos this week. Returning their top three scorers from last season, the Gaels bring plenty of experience to the floor. Leading in scoring this year is Danielle Mauldin who has averaged  23.7 per contest.

Bucking the Broncos
Santa Clara enters this week of play 0-3, most recently falling in overtime to UC Riverside 90-80. Despite their losses, the Broncos have shown that they can score, as they average 81 points per game. Nici Gilday owns the lion's share of her team's points, as she has dropped 21 per game.

Nesbit On Point
Nicole Nesbit leads a talented senior class heading into the new season. Becoming a starter as a junior last year, she is coming off her most prolific offensive season as she scored 348 points, second most on the team. As she has scored 35 points in the past two games, Nesbit has netted 870 points in her career and is well on pace to join UCSB's 1,000-point club. She will need to average 11.8 points per game to reach the milestone before the start of the conference schedule on Jan. 11.  

Getting Offensive
UCSB's 76 points against Occidental College marked the fourth time during Carlene Mitchell's tenure that the team broke the 70-point barrier. The final score is tied for the second-most points the Gauchos have scored with Coach Mitchell at the helm, as it matches the offensive output UCSB put up at Loyola Marymount last season (12/1/12). The highest point total the Gauchos have had under Mitchell was garnered in the team's 84-66 victory over Pacific in the 2012 Big West Tournament semifinals.    

Big West Preseason Poll
In the the conference's preseason media poll, the Gauchos were selected to finish fifth in the Big West, receiving 100 total votes. The defending champion Cal Poly was selected as the No. 1 team in the poll with its 17 first-place votes. Hawai'i will be entering its second season as a member of the Big West and was picked to finish second.  

Class of 2017
UCSB welcomes a talented group of freshmen to their roster this season. Onome Jemerigbe is a point guard who experienced consistent success at the high school level as she helped St. Mary's HS (Stockton, Calif.) to two CIF State Championships and four state semifinals. At forward, Mi'Chael Wright brings a physical presence to the low post. At Chaminade HS, Wright averaged 15 points as a senior while also grabbing 290 rebounds. She was named her league's CIF Player of the Year as a senior. Melissa Maragnes will add much needed height to the team this season at 6-2. With a mix of her size and athleticism, Maragnes set St. Monica High's single-season blocks record with 60.

2012-13 Recap
Last season, UCSB played in the postseason for 16th time in the past 17 seasons by competing in its fifth WNIT. The Gauchos finished the season overal 16-17 and 11-7 in Big West play, qualifying for the fourth seed in the conference tournament. Senior Sweets Underwood and junior Nicole Nesbit were both recognized by the Big West for their standout play on the floor, as Underwood was named first-team all-conference while Nesbit was an honorable mention. Underwood finished the season with a team-high 401 points and became the 24th player in program history to score 1,000 or more career points.