January 4, 2008

Gauchos Go For Third Straight Win Saturday At CSUN

Jan. 4, 2008

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The Schedule
Game No. 13
Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (6-6) at Cal State Northridge Matadors (0-11)
The Matadome (1,600)

For the Record
The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team enters Saturday's meeting with Cal State Northridge with an overall record of 6-6 after defeating Long Beach State 70-62 in its Big West Conference opener Thursday night at the Walter Pyramid. The Gauchos, who won their 18th league opener in the last 19 seasons with the win over the 49ers, also posted back-to-back victories for the first time this season. UCSB reached the .500 mark for the first time since Nov. 29 and evened its road record at 3-3.

Gauchos on the Air & Web
Saturday's contest with the Matadors, along with every other UCSB women's basketball game in 2007-08, will be broadcast live on KIST 1340 AM in Santa Barbara. Steve Wendt is back for his fourth season as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos and he will have the call live from the Matadome as UCSB battles CSUN. Yours truly will try not to scare away listeners once again while handling the color commentary duties. Fans can also watch all games live via the internet by going to www.bigwest.tv and purchasing the UCSB season package. For the third straight year the Big West Conference and CSTV are partnering to bring exclusive Big West Gaucho events to fans online. BigWest.TV offers on-demand access to LIVE coverage of Big West contests as well as press conferences, features, and Big West Championships.

LBSU's 29 Turnovers Key UCSB's Conference-Opening Victory
The Gauchos didn't exactly shoot lights out against the 49ers Thursday, making 27-of-62 shots, 43.5%, but their defense bothered Long Beach State all night long, forcing a season-high 29 turnovers on the way to the 70-62 victory. UCSB struggled to get going against LBSU's 2-3 zone early on and fell behind 9-2 4:45 into the game, but the Gauchos turned things around from that point and scored eight unanswered points to take a 10-9 advantage with 13:05 remaining in the opening period. Santa Barbara then used a 16-5 run over the next seven minutes to build a 26-14 lead and never looked back, thwarting the 49ers' comeback bid in the second half (the 49ers pulled to within two at 60-58 with 5:10 remaining, but the Gauchos closed the game on a 10-4 run to seal the victory). Kat Suderman led four players in double figures for UCSB, finishing 8-for-15 from the field for a career-high 19 points. Jessica Wilson reached double figures for the first time since Dec. 8, tallying 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting, while Chisa Ononiwu went 6-of-9 for 13 points and Ashlee Brown matched a career-high with 10, finishing a perfect 6-for-6 at the free-throw line all in the decisive second half. LBSU did shoot the ball well in the loss, finishing just under 48% (23-48) and the Gauchos' victory came despite getting out-rebounded by a 32-29 margin.

Scouting the Matadors
• After the win over the 49ers, UCSB will look to start 2-0 in Big West play Saturday at Cal State Northridge. The Gauchos and Matadors have squared off a total of 39 times over the years and Santa Barbara leads the all-time series 27-12. UCSB split two meetings with CSUN in 2006-07, losing a narrow 66-64 decision in the Thunderdome Jan. 25, before evening the score with a convincing 90-79 victory in the Matadome to lock up the Big West's second seed on Mar. 3. The home loss was the Gauchos' first defeat against Northridge since 1984, spanning 17 previous meetings.

• Staci Schulz is in her sixth year as head coach of the Matadors and has the services of just seven letterwinners from last year's squad that finished with an overall record of 13-16 and placed fourth in the Big West standings at 9-5. CSUN lost a total of seven seniors and all five starters from their 2006-07 team.

• Northridge enters Saturday's match-up seeking their first victory of the season and owns a record of 0-11 after dropping a 78-66 home decision to Cal Poly Thursday night despite a career-high 27 points from senior center Katie Holloway. Junior guard Whitney Ligon leads the team averaging 13.0 points per game and is the Matadors' top three-point shooter at 37% (20-54). Holloway is second averaging 11.7 points and leads the team hauling in 7.6 rebounds per night. She also shoots a team-high 48.4% from the field. As a team, CSUN shoots just 35% and averages 57.9 points per game, a total that ranks eighth in the Big West. Defensively the Matadors have struggled, allowing 77.3 points per game, which also ranks eighth.