Gauchos Host Last Home Stand with UC Irvine, UC Davis

Gauchos Host Last Home Stand with UC Irvine, UC Davis

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 at 7pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Irvine (13-13, 6-6)
at The Thunderdome
All-time Record vs. Anteaters: 59-27
Last Time: L, 77-60 (1/30/14)
Online Audio:
Live Stats:

Saturday, Mar. 1, 2014 at 2pm
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Davis (11-14, 6-6)
at The Thunderdome
All-time Record vs. Aggies: 14-10
Last Time: L, 82-70 (2/1/14)
Radio: KZSB 1290AM
Online Audio:
Live Stats:

Week in Review
The Gauchos are coming off a weekend when they fell at UC Riverside and evened the season series at Cal State Fullerton. UCSB took a 24-19 lead at halftime after holding Riverside to an abysmal 22.2 percent shooting clip. The Highlanders would rally in the second half with 48 points en route to their 67-57 victory. The Gauchos shook off the loss by downing Cal State Fullerton 64-54 two nights later. Nicole Nesbit led the scoring effort with 19 points, while Clair Watkins recorded her first career double double with 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Play 4Kay Game
The Gauchos will be hosting their annual Play 4Kay game on Saturday against UC Davis to help raise breast cancer awareness. Each Gaucho women's basketball player will decorate and wear a special pink warm-up shirt that will be available for purchase through a silent auction with the proceeds going towards cancer research. In addition to the shirts, a pair of the Official 2014 Play 4Kay Nike shoes signed by the team will also be up for auction. The Gauchos will be wearing the same shoes when they play the Aggies. 

The 2014 Play 4Kay initiative (formerly known as WBCA Pink Zone) is an opportunity for a nation of coaches to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. Since its inception in 2007, the Play 4Kay initiative has raised over $2 million to support women's cancer research. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is the official charity of the initiative.  

Big Game for Watkins
Clair Watkins posted career-high marks of 10 points and 15 rebounds en route to her first double double as a Gaucho. The junior transfer pulled down five offensive boards, three of which yielded layups for UCSB with Watkins making two of them. At UC Riverside, Watkins flirted with a double double with eight points and eight rebounds. The game marked the second time this season that Watkins reached double figures in rebounding., as she pulled down 11 versus Seattle.    

Zornig Joins 1,000-Point Club
Melissa Zornig's 17 point-performance at Cal State Fullerton stamped her ticket into the UCSB's 1000-point club. She is just the 26th Gaucho to hit the milestone and the second to do it this year. Nicole Nesbit joined netted career 1000 on Dec. 19 against Utah State and has since become the program's 17th all-time leading scorer with 1,229 points. 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. 

Hold and Control
The Gauchos are second in the league in averaging 13.9 turnovers per game. In the past four games, Santa Barbara has committed 14 or less giveaways en route to a pair of wins. The Gauchos have also shown a knack for forcing the opposition in giving up possessions. UCSB has forced its opponents into 16.6 turnovers a game, which ranks third in the Big West. 

Defense Comes First
The Gauchos played tenacious first-half defense versus last week's competition. First at UC Riverside, UCSB held the Highlanders to 22.2 percent from the field and just 19 points. Aginst the Titans, the Gauchos limited Fullerton's offense to 26.9 percent shooting and 22 points. Overall, Santa Barbara's defense allowed an average 20.5 points and 24.5 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes.  

Margin of Victory
Though UCSB has only three Big West victories under its belt, the team won those contests by a convincing average of 11.3 points. In those victories, the Gauchos averaged 44.5 percent from the field. which is four marks higher than its average in league play. UCSB has only lost one game in which they scored 64 or more points. In the nonconference schedule, Santa Barbara won its matchups with Division I programs by an average margin of five points.  

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. 

Board Game
For UCSB, rebounding has made all the difference between games won and games lost. During the Gauchos' eight wins, they have averaged 39.9 rebounds per game, while they only pull down an average of 31.1 in their losses. Against UC Riverside, the team collected 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 nearly 64 percent of UCSB's total points this season, as they all rank among the Big West's top-20 in points per game.  

Analyzing the Anteaters
UC Irvine finds itself in the middle of the pack of the Big West with a 6-6 record along with UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton. Camille Buckley has led the Anteaters throughout the season and is making a strong case for the conference's player of the year, as she has averaged 20.4 points and 13.2 boards in league play. Last time against the Gauchos, the senior post player dropped 27 points and pulled down 15 rebounds in helping Irvine down UCSB 77-60. She also made 13-of-15 shots from the charity stripe. The Anteaters are currently the conference leaders in free throws, as they are the only team to make over 400 foul shots (410). 

Dueling with Davis
UC Davis enters this week with a 6-6 record in Big West play and are coming off a 56-52 win over Hawai'i which ended a three-game losing streak. During that stretch, the Aggies played the opposition close and fell only by an average of four points and by no more than six points. Alyson Doherty is the team's primary presence on the inside and leads the Big West with her 56.2 percent shooting average. She is also second among Big West players with 1.3 blocks per outing. Against UCSB last month, she came just two rebounds shy of a double double with 23 points and eight boards.