December 3, 2013

UCSB Visits Pepperdine, Hosts Northern Arizona This Week

Schedule
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 at 7pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. Pepperdine (2-5)
at Firestone Fieldhouse
All-time record vs. Waves: 14-13
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com

Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 at 2pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. Northern Arizona (1-2)
at The Thunderdome
All-time record vs. Lumberjacks: 1-1
Radio: KZSB 1290 AM
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com  

Staying Close to Home
The Gauchos will be making the short trip down to Malibu to take on Pepperdine to open this week's play. UCSB have so far gone 1-1 as the away team, most recently defeating Santa Clara 67-62. Santa Barbara last played Pepperdine in Coach Mitchell's first year at the helm in 2011 and defeated the Waves 55-44.On Thursday, the Gauchos will return home to host Northern Arizona before going on a 10-day break for finals week. It will be the first time since 1990 that UCSB play the Lumberjacks, when the Gauchos won 77-59.

Week in Review
UCSB went 1-1 in their two-game homestand last week. On Tuesday, the Gauchos downed Hampton University 66-62 behind Destini Mason's career-high 23 points. Nicole Nesbit closed out the game by making four straight free throws in the final minute. On Saturday, UCSB hosted a rematch of last season's WNIT first round game against San Diego State. The Aztecs were able to pull off the 71-67 victory for their first win of the season. The Gauchos were led by Nesbit, who dropped a career-best 22 points.

Destini Calling
Destini Mason is coming off a career week when she put up a pair of 20-plus scoring performances. The senior netted a career-high 23 points versus Hampton and went on to score 20 points against San Diego State. In both games, she picked up most of her points in the opening half, as she averaged 14.5 points in first half play. So for this season, Mason is the second-leading scorer on the Gauchos with a 16.7 points per game average.

Nesbit On Point
Nicole Nesbit leads a talented senior class heading into the new season. She became a starter as a junior last year and scored a career-high 348 points, second most on the team. As she has scored 104 points so far this season, Nesbit has netted 939 points in her career and is well on pace to join UCSB's 1,000-point club. She will need to average just 8.7 points per game to reach the milestone before the start of the conference schedule on Jan. 11. Nesbit has averaged a team-leading 17.3 points this season.

On Target
The Gauchos lead the Big West by shooting 44.3 from the field this season. They also pace the conference by averaging the fewest turnovers with 12.5 per game. While handling the ball well on offense, UCSB has stifled its competition on defense, as it has only allowed 64.8 ppg (second in the league).      

Senior Workload
UCSB's senior class has carried the offense through the first four games. With Nicole Nesbit (17.3), Destini Mason (16.7), and Melissa Zornig (11.7) all averaging double digits, the senior guards have scored nearly 68 percent of the team's total points. Last week, the trio scored a total of 98 points between the two games.

Preparing for Pepperdine
Pepperdine is coming off a 10-day, four-game road trip when they went 0-4. The Waves have only played at home once this season when the beat UC Irvine 76-59. In that win, Ea Shoushtari paced the team with 21 points and 13 rebounds. The junior guard has grabbed a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game this season. In the scoring category, Bria Richardson leads Pepperdine with her 16.6 points per game.     

Facing the Lumberjacks
Northern Arizona just won its first game of the year last week with a 80-66 victory at Utah State. In the game, Amanda Frost dropped a career-high 30 points, going 4-7 from the three-point line. Overall, the guard leads the Lumberjacks with 21.7 points per game. She is followed by junior Erikka Banks who has put up a 10.3 point average. The forward also is NAU's leading rebounder with 12.7 per contest.

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.