Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal State Fullerton (2-19, 0-7)
at The Thunderdome
Last time: W, 65-47 (1/14/16)
All-time Record vs. Titans: 52-24
Video | Audio | Live Stats
Records as of 2/2/16
UCSB will be facing Cal State Fullerton for the second time on Wednesday and will later play Hawai'i, the preseason favorite to win the league. The Gauchos previously beat the Titans in Titan Gym last month 65-47. In that game, Je Zhé Newton had a breakout performance with 15 points, while Makala Roper and Jasmine Ware scored 13 each. The Rainbow Wahine enter this week as the league's top-rebounding team with 42 per game, and are riding a two-game winning streak heading into their game at Cal Poly on Thursday.
With only one game on their schedule last week, the Gauchos traveled to UC Davis on Saturday where they lost 80-51. The Aggies took off on a hot start to the game with a 15-3 run and remained ahead until the final buzzer. Onome Jemerigbe was UCSB's leading scorer with 15 points, while Makala Roper was behind her with 10 points and also led the team with five assists.
She Has a Point
Onome Jemerigbe has started most of UCSB's games this season at point guard and is currently pacing the team with 3.8 assists per game, including 6.1 apg in conference play (third in the league). In dealing at least three assists in every conference game, the junior has played a key role in the Gauchos' shooting 43.5 percent since the start of league play. Her best game this season was at home against UC Davis when she recorded a career-high 10 assists against UC Davis, while she is coming off two of her best scoring efforts of the year with a career-best 16-point outing at UC Riverside and her 15-point performance at UC Davis.
Entering this weekend, UCSB is shooting 43.5 percent in conference. Jasmine Ware leads the team with her 52.9 percent shooting clip, while Je Zhé Newton sits just outside the league's top-10 with her 45.7 percent mark. The team's leading scorer Makala Roper is knocking down 41 percent of her looks, as she has netted 92 points which ranks ninth in the conference. This has been a turnaround year in shooting category, as UCSB ranked last in the 2014-15 season with a team 37.3 league shooting percentage.
Chaya Durr is UCSB's leading rebounder with 90 boards so far this season. The sophomore has done a lot of her rebounding work on the offensive side of the floor, as she has recorded 40 offensive rebounds, the 10th most in the Big West. Her best rebounding game this year came against Cal Poly when she grabbed 11, including four offensive boards.
Since the start of conference play, Jasmine Ware has been one of the Big West's most efficient shooting guards with a 52.9 shooting percentage. That number is the second-best among the conference's guards and the 10th highest mark overall. With the fantastic shooting clip, she has become UCSB's leading scorer in league play with 13.3 points per game, ninth in the Big West. Ware has also made an impact on the defensive side of the floor, averaging 1.7 steals per game this year, including a conference-leading 2.1 since the start of league play.
Highlighted by their 18-steal performance at Oregon, the Gauchos are second in the league with 8.9 steals per game with Coco Miller (37) and Jasmine Ware (35) ranking third and fourth in the conference, respectively. UCSB's steals total in Eugene was the most for the program in a single game since Jan. 10, 2008 versus UC Irvine. The team has reached double figures in the steal category in seven games this year, including 15 at Cal State Northridge. Those numbers have helped UCSB force its opponents into 17.9 turnovers per game, third in the Big West.
What Sophomore Slump?
Going from a 6.5 points per game average as a freshman to becoming UCSB's leading scorer with 12.5 ppg, Makala Roper has become one of the most impactful Gauchos on this year's roster. Her breakout performance came in her 27-point outing at Pepperdine, which earned her the starting role she still holds today. Roper's final point and assist tallies in Malibu were career highs, as she made 11-15 shots from the foul line and made four three-pointers. Along with her recent 26-point performance versus UC Davis (1/21/16), Roper has surpassed the 20-point mark in four times this season. Entering this week, Roper owns the fifth-best three-point shooting percentage in the Big West with a 36.3 average. So far, she has made 41 three-pointers this season, ranking sixth in the league.
Since turning the ball over 27 times against Cal Poly (1/7) and 26 times versus UC Riverside (1/9) to open conference play, the Gauchos have limited their own turnovers in averaging just 13.6 giveaways in the past five games. In that stretch, UCSB has gone 3-2 and has only allowed the opposition an average of 13.6 points from their turnovers, compared to the 30.5 point average in their first two league games.
Though only a freshman, Coco Miller has been one of UCSB's top scorers from the start of the season, as she is currently third on the team with a 9.4 ppg average. The guard is also second only to Roper for the most three-pointers on the roster with 39, ranking seventh in the Big West. The freshman has also shown she can set up plays for her teammates, as she is third on the team with 40 assists only behind Onome Jemerigbe (80) and Makala Roper (52) who both play part or full time at point guard. With her strong defense, the freshman is pacing the roster with 37 steals this year, which is tied for second in the Big West.
Center of Attention
Je Zhé Newton has started to find rhythm on offense, as she has scored in double figures in the past three of the past games she has played. The 6-3 center netted a career-high at Cal State Fullerton with 15 points, while shooting 5-7 from the field. During this stretch, she has shot 50 percent from the field. On the defensive side of the floor, Newton has proven to be one of the best shot blockers on the team with 1.5 bpg in Big West play.
Taylor Farris has been one of the team's sharpest shooters in Big West play with a 45.2 percent clip. Overall this year, she has gone 44.9 percent from the floor with her best performance coming against Cal Poly when she made six of her eight looks, finishing with 14 points. After playing 32 minutes off the bench in that game, she has earned a starting role with UCSB. Farris is also the team's leading defensive rebounders with 64.