UCSB Returns Home to Host Hampton, San Diego State

UCSB Returns Home to Host  Hampton, San Diego State

Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2013 at 7pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. Hampton (3-1)
at The Thunderdome
All-time record vs. Lady Pirates: Never Played
Radio: KZSB 1290 AM
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com

Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 at 2pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. San Diego State (0-4)
at The Thunderdome
All-time record vs. Aztecs: 12-19
Radio: KZSB 1290 AM
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com  

There's No Place Like 'Dome
Returning to the Thunderdome this week, UCSB looks to pick up their first win at home since its season opener. The Gauchos will play Hampton for the first time in program history on Tuesday. Saturday's meeting with San Diego State will be a rematch of last year's WNIT First Round game.

Week in Review
UCSB went 1-1 on its first road swing of the season last weekend. In the first game of the trip, the Gauchos fell to St. Mary's 89-79, but bounced back on Saturday with a 67-62 victory in Santa Clara. UCSB matched the Broncos' 39 rebounds, despite Santa Clara's pair of 6-4 post players. The Gauchos were aggressive in attacking the basket, as they took a season-high 29 shots from the free-throw line, sinking 19 of them.  

Zornig Playing Big
Melissa Zornig led UCSB during its recent road trip by averaging 18.5 points per game and going 13-14 from the charity stripe. The guard led the team with 19 points against St. Mary's and also dished out a career-high nine assists. Two nights later, the senior again set a career-best by grabbing eight rebounds. Her seven trips to the free throw line between the two games were by far the most on the team. Zornig also leads the Gauchos with 18 assists, and is second on the team with 22 rebounds.

Attacking the Boards
This season, the average height of the UCSB roster is 5-9. Despite their small stature, though, the Gauchos have only allowed their opponenets one more rebound this season than they have (137-138). Leading UCSB with an average of 6.8 rpg is senior Destini Mason. The guard recently grabbed a season-high 10 boards against Santa Clara.

Senior Workload
UCSB's senior class has carried the offense through the first four games. With Nicole Nesbit (17.8), Destini Mason (14.2), and Melissa Zornig (12.2) all averaging double digits, the senior guards have scored 65 percent of the team's total points. Over the recent road trip, the seniors combined for at least 50 points in both games.

Handling Hampton
Last season, Hampton University finished as the third-best scoring defense of all-time by holding their opposition to 47.6 points per game. This year, the Lady Pirates have allowed an average of 57.8 points. Hampton, however, has averaged 8.8 steals and 45.8 rebounds per game this season. Offensively, the team is led by Malia Tate-DeFreitas who has averaged 18 points, while Alyssa Bennett is behind her with 16.8.  

Analyzing the Aztecs
San Diego State defeated the Gauchos 69-46 in last season's WNIT game, as Courtney Clements netted 31 points and went 7-10 from downtown. Clements has gone on to play for the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA. Under first year head coach Stacie Terry, the Aztecs enter this week of play still searching for their first win of the season. Cierra Warren is SDSU's primary offensive threat as she has scored 18 points per game. The team has scored an average of 61.5 ppg, but has also given up 73.5 to their opponenets.

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 71 points so far this season, Nesbit has netted 906 points in her career and is well on pace to join UCSB's 1,000-point club. She will need to average just 10.4 points per game to reach the milestone before the start of the conference schedule on Jan. 11. Nesbit has averaged 17.8 points this season.

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.