January 20, 2011

Gauchos Host Fullerton on Saturday

Jan. 20, 2011

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• The Schedule
Saturday, January 22, 2011, at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal State Fullerton (6-12, 2-4)
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Series record vs. the Titans - 44-21
Streak - Won 35
Last time out vs. the Titans - W, 55-43 @ UCSB (2/20/10)
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

Thursday, January 27, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal Poly (9-7, 5-0)
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Series record vs. the Mustangs - 50-15
Streak - Won 1
Last time out vs. the Mustangs - W, 85-70 @ UCSB (2/27/10)
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.

The Opponents

• vs. Cal State Fullerton, 1/22
UCSB has not lost to Fullerton since the Big West Tournament on March 8, 1995, rattling off 35 straight wins against the conference foe. To put it in perspective, the Gauchos' next longest winning streak vs. any opponent is its nine straight over UC Irvine. CSUF is led by Megan Richardson, who is averaging 14.6 points per game and Lyndsey Grove is scoring 13.4 points per game - ranking the duo fourth and seventh, respectively, in the conference. Jenna Breite is pulling down a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game, which is eighth in the conference.

• vs. Cal Poly, 1/27
The Gauchos will host first-place Cal Poly, who is without reigning Big West Player of the Year Kristina Santiago after she injured her ACL in the first game of the year. However the Mustangs are led by Rachel Clancy who is averaging 17.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
G 10 Emilie Johnson - Held scoreless at UCR for first time since 12/30/09
G 24 Angelei Aguirre - Tied her career-high with 6 points vs. UC Irvine
G 2 Kelsey Adrian - After scoring 17 on 1/6, has totaled just 6 points in 3 games
F 32 Margaret Johnson - Made first start at UCR since 12/30
F 44 Mekia Valentine - Averaging 3.9 blocks per game - 4th in nation

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F 1 Sweets Underwood - Just missed a double-double with 11 pts, 9 rebs @ UCR
G 3 Nicole Nesbit - Is just 2-for-11 in last two games
G 11 Stefanie Corgel - Scored a career-high 12 points at UC Riverside
F 15 Adaeze Okolie - Grabbed 2 rebounds in 6 minutes at UC Riverside
G 22 Melissa Zornig - Has scored in double digits in past two games, totaling 27 points
G 33 Destini Mason - Played career-high 22 minutes on Saturday at UCR

• Swat Team
As a team, the Gauchos are averaging 5.18 blocked shots per game, easily the best mark among Big West schools - UC Riverside is next with 4.50 per game - and 21st in the nation. Last season UCSB finished sixth in the nation with an average of 6.3 swats per game and set a school record with 202 swats. This year's Gaucho squad has blocked 88 shots.

• Not Shawne Merriman, but Lights Out
Over UC Santa Barbara's last 12 games - nine of which have been victories - the Gauchos have shot 44.6% which includes a 33.9% effort vs. Pacific and a 34.2% outing at UC Riverside. In the last dozen games the Gauchos have gone from the bottom of the Big West in field goal percentage (35.0%) to its current top spot in the conference with a 42.1% clip. Santa Barbara's shooting percentage is 73rd in the country.

• On The Defensive
UCSB has not just been one-dimensional with its game of late. The team has been doing it on both ends of the floor. UCSB's 35.1% field goal percentage defense is the best in the Big West and 29th-best in the nation. Nine times this season Santa Barbara hasn't allowed an opponent to shoot over 35% from the floor, winning seven of those games. But, this shouldn't be a shock because UCSB has been among the nation's best in the Lindsay Gottlieb era. 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.

• So You Know ...
The last time a Gaucho squad led the Big West in both field goal percentage and field goal percentage defense was the 2003-04 squad which hit 46.0% of its shots and limited opponents to a 35.9% shooting clip.

• We're a Boarding School
Santa Barbara is averaging 40.9 rebounds per game, which leads the Big West. The Gauchos hold a +2.8 rebounding margin, which also is tops among conference schools. Mekia Valentine and Sweets Underwood are pulling in 17.3 rebounds per game, the best combo among Big West players. The top rebounding duo in the nation are Xavier's Ta'Shia Phillips and Amber Harris, who grab 23.9 rebounds per game.

• Cleaning the Glass
Over her past four games, Mekia Valentine has pulled in 58 rebounds, or an average of 14.5 per contest. That has upped her average from 7.8 to its current 9.4 per game, which is second in the Big West and tied for 46th in the nation. In conference games, Valentine is averaging a league-leading 12.8 per game.

• Only Trailing Taylor
Mekia Valentine leads the Big West with her 3.9 blocked shots per game and ranks fourth in the nation. The Greensboro, N.C. native is second all-time in career blocked shots at UCSB in just 47 games, trailing only Lindsay Taylor (2000-04) by just 56. At her current pace, Valentine should become the Gauchos' all-time shot blocker by season's end.

• 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. Mekia Valentine is averaging 9.6 points and 9.4 boards per contest while Sweets Underwood is averaging 9.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

• More 20's Than 0's for Johnson
Junior guard Emilie Johnson is the only Gaucho who is averaging double digits in scoring with her 12.1 per game. This despite being held scoreless vs. UC Riverside for the first time since not scoring on Dec. 30, 2009 at Gonzaga. Johnson has played in every game of her Gaucho career and been held scoreless just five times. On the flip side, she scored 20 points last Thursday vs. UC Irvine, the sixth time she's hit 20 in her UCSB career. In her past 11 games, Johnson has scored in double figures in nine of them.

• Biggest in the Big West
The Gauchos have dominated the conference for more than a decade. Since the 1995-96 season, UCSB is 217-28 (.886) in Big West games.

• Countdown to 1,000
Mekia Valentine has scored 163 points this season, giving her 884 in her career between Wake Forest and UC Santa Barbara. While she might 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 points as a Demon Deacon). The next likely member to join the 22-person 1,000-point club is Emilie Johnson, who has scored 841 total points in her Gaucho career.

• RPI Report
In the most recent release of the Ratings Percentage Index by the NCAA, the Gauchos hold a No. 124 spot, up 12 from last week. This is the third-best mark in the conference, behind UC Riverside (No. 87) and UC Irvine (No. 118). Santa Barbara's opponents this coming week are Cal State Fullerton at No. 259 and Cal Poly at 180.

• Tickling the Twine
Two Gauchos are challenging Kira Anthofer's school record shooting percentage of 59.6% in 1985-86. Mekia Valentine and Sweets Underwood are both shooting 56.9% from the floor. Valentine is considered the Big West's leader and not Underwood since the conference requires an average of 4.0 made baskets per game to be ranked. Last season Valentine shot 57.4%, which is the second-highest mark all-time at UCSB.

• No Zeroes for Zornig
With 27 points in her past two games, Melissa Zornig has boosted her scoring average from 4.9 to its current 5.9 per game. The freshman poured in a career-best 17 points at UC Irvine on 7 of 9 shooting and then followed it up with 10 at UC Riverside for her first career consecutive double-digit games.

• Canadian Bomber
Junior Kelsey Adrian leads the Gauchos with her 34.6% shooting from three-point land, ranking her eighth in the Big West. The Langley, British Columbia native is fifth among conference players with her average of 1.65 three-pointers per game. Her teammate, Emilie Johnson, is seventh with an average of 1.59 per game.

• Silver Lining
If there is one positive to take away from Saturday's loss at UC Riverside, it's that sophomore guard Stefanie Corgel had the best game of her young Gaucho career. The Manhattan Beach, Calif. native scored 12 points, hit 6 of 6 free throws and pulled down three rebounds, while also passing out an assist.

• Yeah ... About That
Saturday's 33-point loss by the Gauchos on Saturday to UC Riverside was the program's worst conference defeat since an 89-51 defeat to then-member UNLV on Jan. 30, 1993.

• Apple or Mushroom, It's Still a Turnover
Last season the Gauchos committed 649 turnovers, or an average of 20.3 per game, which counted as the eighth-highest mark in UCSB program history. This season the team has turned the ball over 334 times, or an average of 19.6 per game. This year's squad ranks eighth in the nine-team Big West with a -3.94 turnover margin.

• Inside the Arc, Inside the Basket
Take away UCSB's 28.7% shooting from downtown and the Gauchos are hitting 47.5% of their two-point field goals.

• Sixty is Nifty
When scoring at least 60 points, the Gauchos are 8-2 this season.

• For Comparison's Sake
In UCSB's nine victories, the team has shot 47.9%, including three games where the Gauchos hit on over 50% of their shots while holding opponents to a 31.0% clip. In the team's eight defeats, UCSB is shooting 35.6% vs. the opponent's 39.8%.

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.

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