December 13, 2013

UCSB to Visit Kansas State

Schedule
Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 at 11am (PST)
UC Santa Barbara vs. Kansas State (4-3)
at Bramlage Coliseum
All-time record vs. Wildcats: 0-2
Last Time: L: 60-45
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com

Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 at 7pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. Utah State
at The Thunderdome
All-time record vs. Aggies: 5-1
Last Time: W: 86-51
Online Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com  

Flying off to Kansas
UCSB will be making its first trip ever to Kansas State. Though the teams have only faced each other two times, the most recent matchup came last year when the Wildcats downed the Gauchos in the Thunderdome 60-45. The only other time in which the teams played was on Dec. 2, 1986 when UCSB lost 57-48.

Week in Review
UCSB took the past week off for final exams, but before that they traveled to Pepperdine and hosted Northern Arizona. Against the Waves, the Gauchos erased a 14-point deficit and pulled off the 77-69 road victory. Two days later, the Lumberjacks defeated UCSB in the Thunderdome 79-56.  

1,000-Point Club
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 147 points so far this season, Nesbit has netted 982 points in her career and is well on pace to become UCSB's 25th player to join the 1,000-point club. She has averaged 18.4 points per game, which puts her in great position to hit career-1,000 at Kansas State.

On Target
The Gauchos lead the Big West by shooting 43.4 percent from the field this season. They also pace the conference by averaging the fewest turnovers with 13.1 per game. While handling the ball well on offense, UCSB has stifled its competition on defense, as it has only allowed 67.1 ppg (third in the league).      

Senior Workload
UCSB's senior class has carried the offense through the first four games. With Nicole Nesbit (18.4), Destini Mason (14.4), and Melissa Zornig (12.4) all averaging double digits, the senior guards have scored over 67 percent of the team's total points. Nesbit is second in the Big West with her scoring average, while Mason ranks tenth.

Charity Work
The Gauchos lead the conference by knocking down a collective 75 percent of their free throw attempts. UCSB also has two of the top-five free throw shooters in the league, as Melissa Zornig (93.1) is second, while Nicole Nesbit (84.4) is third in the Big West.

Zealous Zornig
Melissa Zornig has been played a well-rounded season, as she is among the top-three Gauchos in points, rebounds, and assists. She averages 12.4 ppg (third), 5.4 rpg, (second) and 3.6 asg (first). The senior has come close to recording her first double double on two occasions this season. First at St. Mary's, she poured in a team-high 19 points while also dishing out nine assists. She then came up just one rebound shy at Pepperdine with 18 points and nine boards on her stat sheet.

Bench Support
UCSB's reserves have come into their own recently. Against Pepperdine, the Gaucho bench contributed 14 points with Kristine Brance leading the way with eight points and five rebounds. Jasmine Ware matched the junior with five boards of her own and also shot for six points. Brance continued to show her productivity off the bench by putting up another eight point performance against Northern Arizona. In the same game, Ware led the Gauchos with six rebounds.

Wrangling the Wildcats
Kansas State enters its game against UCSB with a 4-3 record, including a strong 3-1 mark at home.  Its only lost at the Bramiage Coliseum came at the hands of Wichita State, which won in a 69-46 decision. K-State is also riding a season high two game win streak into Sunday's contest. The Wildcats have scored an average of 61.7 points this season and have given up 62.1 to their opponents. Leticia Romero leads the team with 11.3 ppg and is second with 6 rebounds 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 and also grabbed 290 rebounds. She was named her league's CIF Player of the Year in her final season. 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 the 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.