UCSB Returns Home to Face UC Davis, Pacific

Jan. 5, 2011

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• The Schedule
Thursday, January 6, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Davis (11-3, 1-1)
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Series record vs. the Aggies - 11-6
Streak - Lost 3
Last time out vs. the Aggies - L, 63-53 in BW Tourn. (3/12/10)
Tickets available by clicking here
Game broadcast streaming live online by clicking here and on AM 990 KTMS
Live stats available via Gametracker
Live video available through BigWest.TV

Saturday, January 8, 2011, at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Pacific (4-11, 1-1)
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Series record vs. the Tigers - 47-14
Streak - Won 3
Last time out vs. the Tigers - W, 82-54 in BW Tourn. (3/10/10)
Tickets available by clicking here
Game broadcast streaming live online by clicking here and on AM 990 KTMS
Live stats available via Gametracker
Live video available through BigWest.TV

• On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 990 KTMS and will stream live online by clicking here. Josh Suchon is the voice of the Gauchos, performing the play-by-play, while former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB star Don Ford will handle the color commentary. On select road games, much to the chagrin of the listening audience, yours truly, Matt Hurst, will provide color commentary.

• Conference Openers
By defeating Long Beach State, the Gauchos have won their Big West Conference openers in 15 of the past 16 seasons (with the lone exception in the 2006-07 season). UC Santa Barbara has won its Big West home opener in 20 successive seasons. The last time UCSB lost a conference home opener came on Jan. 5, 1989 in a 59-50 defeat to Cal State Fullerton.

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
G 10 Emilie Johnson - Has scored in double digits in six of her past seven games
G 24 Angelei Aguirre - Shooting 47.4% but hasn't scored more than 6 points in any game
G 2 Kelsey Adrian - Leads team with 24 three-pointers made; 34.8% from downtown
F 32 Margaret Johnson - Tied season-highs with 6 points, 7 rebounds @ LBSU
F 44 Mekia Valentine - Last two games is averaging 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F 1 Sweets Underwood - 8.1 rebounds per game is second in the Big West
G 3 Nicole Nesbit - Averaging 2.3 assists in just 18.5 average minutes
G 11 Stefanie Corgel - Has seen court time in each of last three games
F 15 Adaeze Okolie - Averaging 1.2 rebounds in 5.6 minutes of game action
G 22 Melissa Zornig - Has been held scoreless in 4 of her past 8 games
G 33 Destini Mason - Scored seven points in nine minutes at LBSU

• Biggest in the Big West
The Gauchos have dominated the conference for more than a decade. Since the 1995-96 season, UCSB is 215-26 (.892) in Big West games.

• Lights Out
In the Gauchos' past nine games - in which the team is 7-2 - UCSB is shooting 46.1% from the floor. This nine-game streak has risen Santa Barbara's overall shooting percentage from 35.0% before the streak, to its current 42.4%, also raising the team's ranking from last among Big West schools to the conference's best. In UCSB's past five victories, the team has shot no lower than 47.2%, including two games where the Gauchos hit on over 55% of their shots. The Gauchos have shot no lower than 42.9% in any of their wins this season.

• Tenacious D
While the Gaucho offense has been en fuego, the defense should not be overlooked. UCSB's 34.7% field goal percentage defense is the best in the Big West and 25th-best in the nation. Seven times this season Santa Barbara hasn't allowed opponents to shoot over 35% from the floor, winning five of those games. In each of the past two seasons, UCSB has led the Big West in opponent's field goal percentage. Last season the squad ranked 31st in the nation with its 36.3% and in 2008-09 UCSB ranked eighth in the country with a 34.6% clip.

• Swat Team
As a team, the Gauchos are averaging 5.3 blocked shots per game, easily the best mark among Big West schools and 19th in the nation. Despite not recording a blocked shot vs. Long Beach State, Mekia Valentine leads the league with 4.15 blocks per game, ranking her fourth in the country. Last season UCSB finished sixth in the nation with an average of 6.3 swats per game.

• Mekia's Block Party
In her one-and-a-half seasons as a Gaucho, Valentine ranks fourth all-time in school history with 174 blocked shots, just six shy of Kris Grazzini (1992-96) for third and seven away from Jenna Green (2003-09) for second.

• Countdown to 1,000
Mekia Valentine has scored 131 points this season, giving her 852 in her career between Wake Forest and UC Santa Barbara. While she will most likely hit 1,000 career points in her collegiate career, she will not be a member of UCSB's 1,000-point club since not all of her buckets came in the blue and gold (she scored 351 as a Demon Deacon). The next likely member to join the 22-person 1,000-point club is Emilie Johnson, who has scored 799 total points in her Gaucho career.

• Double Dippers
There is a chance that two Gauchos could become the first to average a double-double since Erika Kienast had 15.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game in 1991-92. Sweets Underwood is averaging 10.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while Mekia Valentine is averaging 10.1 points and 7.8 boards per contest. The duo rank 2-3 in the Big West in rebounds.

• Not the Jumpman, but Em-J
Over her past seven games - in which she's hit double figures in six of them - Emilie Johnson is averaging 15.1 points per game. The junior guard leads the team in scoring with her 12.5 points per game - ranking her ninth in the Big West - and has led the Gauchos in scoring in seven games this season. Last year Johnson became the first sophomore to lead the team in scoring since Jenna Green did so in 2005-06.

• Nothing But Net
Two Gauchos are challenging Kira Anthofer's school record shooting percentage of 59.6% in 1985-86. Mekia Valentine is leading the Big West with her 56.7% clip while Sweets Underwood is hitting on 59.3% of her shots. However, Underwood is currently not ranked since she doesn't meet the conference's minimum requirement of 4.0 made baskets per game. Last season Valentine shot 57.4%, which is the second-highest mark all-time at UCSB.

• Baby, It's Cold Outside
Although the Gauchos hit on a season-high 54.5% of their three-point attempts in the win over Long Beach State, UCSB is making just 27.7% of its bonus bombs this year. The lowest three-point percentage by a Gaucho team was in 2005-06 when UCSB hit just 26.2% of its treys. Last season UCSB connected on only 28.3% of its bonus bombs, the sixth-lowest mark in school history.

• Inside the Arc, Inside the Basket
Take away UCSB's 27.7 shooting percentage from downtown and the Gauchos are hitting 48.6% of their two-point field goals.

• Rank and File
While UCSB has lost its two games vs. Top-25 opponents the Gauchos will next test their mettle vs. UC Davis on Jan. 6. The Aggies are rated No. 10 in the CollegeInsiders.com Top-25 Mid-Major poll, down two spots from the last poll. Also ranked among Gaucho opponents in the poll are UC Irvine (receiving votes), UC Riverside (receiving votes) St. Mary's (receiving votes) and Pepperdine (receiving votes).

• Sweets Tooth
After averaging 3.2 points and 3.8 rebounds last season, earning her a spot on the All-Big West Freshman Team, Sweets Underwood is averaging 10.4 points and 8.1 rebounds this season. Only twice this season has the sophomore forward failed to grab at least six rebounds and she's scored in double figures in eight of the team's 13 games.

• We're a Boarding School
Santa Barbara is averaging 40.8 rebounds per game, tying it for tops among Big West schools with Pacific. The Gauchos have been good at both ends of the rebounding spectrum, ranking third in the conference in offensive boards (13.9 per game) and first in defensive rebounds (26.9 per game) while UCSB's +0.6 rebounding margin is second in the conference.

• RPI Report
In the first release of the Ratings Percentage Index by the NCAA, the Gauchos hold a No. 136 spot. While that sounds low, it is actually fourth-highest among Big West schools. Santa Barbara's opponents this week are UC Davis (No. 124) and Pacific (No. 302). UC Riverside is the highest-ranked Big West team with a 79 RPI.

• This Little Nicky is Far Better Than Adam Sandler's
Five-foot-five Nicole Nesbit has been terrific over her last five games, averaging 9.0 points, 3.2 assists, 2.8 steals and 2.4 rebounds. Overall this season the Northridge, Calif. native is averaging 5.4 points, 2.3 assists,1.2 steals and 2.0 rebounds per game this season.

• Yo Adrian!
Junior guard Kelsey Adrian leads the Gauchos with nine double-digit scoring games this season, however she has only led the team in scoring four times this year. The transfer from Cal is tied for second on the team with 10.4 points per game. Adrian is fifth among Big West players with 1.85 three-pointers per game and her 34.8% from downtown is ninth in the conference.

• Dropping Dimes
Emilie Johnson (3.54) and Angelei Aguirre (2.92) rank fourth and seventh, respectively, in the Big West in assists per game. They are the second-best duo in handing out assists, falling just shy of Cal Poly's Desiray Johnston (3.75) and Rachel Clancy (2.92).

• Sixty is Nifty
When scoring at least 60 points, the Gauchos are 7-2 this season.

The Lindsay Gottlieb File
Lindsay Gottlieb is in her third season as the Gauchos' head coach, and she is just the fourth head coach in UCSB women's basketball history. Last season Gottlieb guided the Gauchos to wins in seven of the squad's last eight games, taking a team that finished 9-7 in the Big West to the conference tournament's semifinals, keeping alive a streak of 20 years that UCSB had finished Big West play with a record above .500. In her first season at the helm, Gottlieb led the team to a 22-10 overall mark (15-1 in the Big West) and the Big West regular-season and tournament championships. Named the Big West Coach of the Year, Gottlieb became the first coach in Gaucho history to win at least 20 games and the Coach of the Year award in her first season - and one of only seven coaches nationwide to do so. Gottlieb led the Gauchos to their 14th consecutive postseason appearance and the team won 20 games for the 12th time in the past 14 years. In her first two seasons with the program, Gottlieb has guided the Gauchos to national prominence, leading the conference in field goal percentage defense both years while having her team set a school record in free throw percentage (08-09) and blocked shots in a season (09-10).. No stranger to success, Gottlieb was formerly the associate head coach at Cal, helping the team to a 68-28 (.708) overall mark in her time there. Prior to that, Gottlieb was an assistant at the University of Richmond, where she helped the Spiders to three straight 20-win seasons.

The Gaucho Fund, launched as part of the Dare to Be Great strategic plan, is UCSB Athletics' annual giving program to provide vital funding support for scholarships, academic success and leadership development for Gaucho student-athletes. The Gaucho Fund is the anchor to the Dare to Be Great campaign.

GKids is the official kids club of UCSB Athletics. Members receive a free GKids t-shirt, free admittance to tons of Gaucho games, opportunities to be ball boys and girls at games, a special birthday greeting from Olie (the GKids mascot) and much, much more! For more information on GKids, or to become a member, please click here.