Gauchos Host Long Beach State, Visit Cal State Northridge

Gauchos Host Long Beach State, Visit Cal State Northridge

Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 at 7pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. Long Beach State (13-10, 5-4)
at The Thunderdome
All-time Record vs. 49ers: 48-23
Last Time: L, 72-53 (1/16/14)
Online Audio:
Live Stats: 

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at 4pm
UC Santa Barbara at CSU Northridge (11-13, 7-3)
at The Matadome
All-time Record vs. Matadors: 41-13
Last Time: L, 64-46 (1/18/14)
Online Audio:
Live Stats: 

Week in Review
The Gauchos will be looking to build off a narrow 63-60 defeat to Hawai'i as they begin the second round of Big West play this week. Against the Rainbow Wahine, Melissa Zornig led the Gauchos with 16 points (7-14), which helped the team garner a six-point lead with 13 minutes left. UCSB held on to the lead until the 2:32 mark, as Hawai'i was able to close the game out at the free throw line.       

Onome on Offense
Onome Jemerigbe shot a career-best 4-5 from the field against Hawai'i. Her two free throws added to her 10 points that night, which was her second double digit scoring performance this season. She scored 11 points at Kansas State after going a career-high 5-8 from the foul line.  

En 'Guard'
Since the start of the season, UCSB has been a guard driven team. In nearly every statistical category, including field goal percentage, points, rebounds, assists, and steals, three Gaucho guards account for the top-three marks on the team.   

On Target
UCSB ranks third in the Big West with its 41 percent field goal shooting. The Gauchos initially struggled with their shooting at the start of the conference schedule, as they did not shoot better than 39 percent through the first four games. Since its game against Cal State Fullerton, however, the team has gone back to its old form and has shot at least 42 percent in each game and has also recorded a 44.3 clip during that stretch.    

1,000-Point Club
Nicole Nesbit joined UCSB's 1000-point club on Dec. 19 against Utah State and has since become the program's 21st all-time scorer with 1,110 points. Fellow senior Melissa Zornig is currently 56 points away from reaching milestone. With eight games left in the regular season, Zornig needs to average just seven points in the remaining contests, which she is likely to do as she has put up 13.1 points per game so far this season. The last time two or more Gauchos joined the 1,000-point club in the same year was in the 1998-99 season when Erin Buescher, Stacey Clinesmith, and Kristi Rohr accomplished the feat.  

'Triples' Threat
Since the start of conference play, UCSB has seen its three-point shooting percentage make a significant jump from 30.8 to 43.6 percent. Melissa Zornig has been the main reason for the improvement, as she is shooting well over 50 percent from downtown in the Big West. Zornig's 57.1 conference three-point shooting clip not only tops the league but is also nearly 10 percent higher than the next closest player. The senior has netted 20 triples in Big West play alone after recording just 14 in the nonconference schedule. She has been averaging 2.5 threes per contest since the start of conference play. 

Board Game
For UCSB, rebounding has made all the difference between games won and games lost. During the Gauchos' six wins, they have averaged 40.7 rebounds per game, while they only pull down an average of 30.8 in their losses. Against UC Riverside, the team garnered a season-high 55 rebounds, which is the most since Nov. 20, 2010 when the team pulled down 59 against Idaho. 

Senior Leadership
The three Gaucho seniors have led the team in most major categories this season. In fact, the trio makes up the roster's top-three leaders in minutes, field goals, three-pointers, and points. The seniors make up more than 63 percent of UCSB's total points this season, as they all rank among the Big West's top-15 in points per game. They are the only school to have as many players to rank in that range.     

Defense Makes the Difference
The Gauchos are posting their highest scoring average (65.1 ppg) since Carlene Mitchell became the head coach three years ago, but the team's success has relied more on defense than offense. In its six wins, UCSB has allowed its opponents an average of 63.8 ppg, while in its losses, the team gave up an average of 73.3 ppg. 

Facing the 49ers
In their first meeting, Long Beach State won convincingly 72-53 in the Walter Pyramid. Destini Mason was the only Gaucho to score in double figures (17) while the team was held to just 37.9 percent shooting overall. Lauren Spargo led the game-high 19 points, while reserves Madison Montgomery and Hallie Meneses added 16 and 10, respectively. Raven Benton leads the team with a 13.6 ppg average, which tops Alex Sanchez (who has missed the past five games) and her 10.4 average.  

Meet the Matadors
CSUN held UCSB to a season-low 46 points back on Jan. 18 in the Thunderdome. Nicole Nesbit's 13 led the team, while Janae Sharpe netted a floor-high 18 that night. Ashlee Guy leads the team with 15.9 ppg and is also averaging 4.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Camille Mahlknecht, who put up 13 points last time against the Gauchos, paces CSUN with 7.1 rebounds per contest.  The team is especially dangerous from three-point range as they have collectively made the second-most triples in the league with 162.