Jan. 27, 2011
Sweets Underwood has faced many tragic situations in her life, including the death of both her parents, but she has managed to embrace the losses and use them as tools for motivation. Through hard work, dedication and passion for the game of basketball, she has earned the opportunity to live out her dream.
"Do it for your mom. Do it for your dad and obviously do it for yourself," said Underwood, in an inspirational tone.
Underwood lost her mother to cancer, her father to a heart attack and a cousin to murder at a young age forcing her to move in with her aunt. However, that did not stop her from having a standout high school basketball career at Compton Centennial High School and earning a scholarship to UCSB.
"The deaths in my family are my motivation," Underwood said. Underwood began her athletic career running middle distance races on her high school track team, but her obvious physical gifts eventually led her to the basketball court.
The process of switching from the track to the hardwood was a struggle for Underwood as she initially lacked the coordination and ball skills needed to flourish in basketball. With an athletic frame and nimble feet, Underwood undertook the challenge of learning the game of basketball and within a short amount of time she began to come into her own.
"When I started playing basketball I was horrible," she recalled. "I could barely catch a ball. There were times when I wanted to give up and go back to track."
But she didn't. Underwood stuck to her plan through thick and thin, all the while using her past as motivation.
"Hours after hours, day after day, I would stay in the gym consistently working on the things that will make me a better player," she said.
Her dedication and hard work in high school gave her the opportunity to choose from a variety of colleges. However, her plan was to play at UCSB while simultaneously receiving an outstanding education at a prestigious university that was surrounded by beaches.
"I amazed myself, and realized that if I could do that (make significant progress in basketball) in a month's time, what could I do in a year from now, therefore I stuck with basketball," Underwood said.
Underwood was a three-year varsity letter winner at Compton's Centennial High, averaging 19 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and three steals per game as a senior.
Sweets earned her nickname because of her "sweet feet," and in her two seasons at UCSB, those feet have helped her display her talents on the court.
As a freshman, she was one of just five players on the team to see action in all 32 games and she was named to the Big West All-Freshmen Team after averaging 3.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. This year, Underwood is averaging 9.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game while shooting 56.5% from the field. Underwood puts on a performance each game, showing off her special talents and utilizing the skills she cultivated spending countless hours in the gym.
"She is incredibly efficient with her ability to score and get rebounds," said UCSB head coach Lindsay Gottlieb in reference to Underwood's basketball skills. Regarding her forward as a person, she was even more effusive.
"She is special on and off the court," Gottlieb said. "Since the first time I saw her, I knew I wanted her to be a part of this program. She has been a great addition to Gaucho Athletics. Sweets is an incredible young person and she'll go far."
Underwood's goals are simple. She wants to win.
"My goal for the team is to play as a unit and get our Big West Championship crown back," she declared. "And I want to continue playing a role in our success."
After college, Underwood would like to continue playing basketball professionally, either overseas or in the WNBA, and with her work ethic it's a pretty good bet she will make it.
1. What is the perfect meal to eat for you?
2. If you were on a deserted island and could only bring three
things what would they be?
3. What is the favorite class you've taken at UCSB?
4. Who are your favorite professors?
5. What is the best part about waking up in Santa Barbara every
6. Where is your favorite place to play basketball?
7. What is your favorite television show?
8. Where is your favorite place to study?
9. What is your favorite thing to do on an off day?
10. Do you have any role models?
11. If you could have a super power, what would it be? What
would you use for?
12. Do you have any pre-game rituals?
13. Where is your favorite place to eat in Isla Vista?
14. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it
15. What was the last song you uploaded to your iPod?
16. What is your favorite sport to watch other than
17. I've always wanted to...?
18. What is one thing about you that most people do not
19. Is there a motto that you live by?
20. In one word, how would you describe UCSB women's
Sweets Underwood: A Great Example
May 19, 2011 UCSB Names Carlene Mitchell New Head Coach
May 9, 2011 Women's Basketball Golf Tournament is May 19
April 29, 2011 Women's Basketball Team Adds Two More Players for 2011-12
April 25, 2011 Lindsay Gottlieb Named Head Coach at Cal
April 13, 2011 Gauchos Have League-High Four Receive All-Academic Honors
April 11, 2011 Mekia Valentine Chosen by NY Liberty in WNBA Draft
March 17, 2011 Gauchos Fall to Trojans in WNIT Opener
March 15, 2011 Gauchos Play at USC on Thursday in WNIT
March 14, 2011 UCSB Receives Bid to WNIT; Plays at USC on Thursday
March 7, 2011 Four Gauchos Honored by Big West
March 7, 2011 Emilie Johnson's not sitting still at UCSB
March 7, 2011 Mekia Valentine Named Big West Player of the Week
March 3, 2011 Gauchos Travel to SLO With Big West Title on the Line
February 28, 2011 Emilie Johnson Named Big West Player of the Week
February 26, 2011 Johnson's 27 Points Leads UCSB Past CSUN
February 24, 2011 Kristen Mann Named Legend Of The Dome
February 23, 2011 Gauchos Host Long Beach, Northridge in Final Two Home Games
February 22, 2011 Mekia Valentine Named Golden 1/UCSBgauchos.com Athlete of the Week
February 21, 2011 Valentine Named Big West Player of the Week
February 20, 2011 UCSB Tops Seattle University During Annual Pink Zone Game
February 17, 2011 Gauchos Outlast Fullerton, 73-70
February 16, 2011 Gauchos Go For Win No. 37 in a Row vs. Fullerton on Thursday
February 12, 2011 Four Score in Double Figures as UCSB Buries UCR
February 11, 2011 Nicole Nesbit: Against Tall Odds
February 10, 2011 UCSB Shoots Past Anteaters, 70-56
February 9, 2011 Gauchos Host UC Irvine on Thursday, UC Riverside on Saturday
February 9, 2011 UCSB Announces Pink Zone Event for Feb. 20
February 5, 2011 Sharp-Shooting UC Davis Tops Gauchos
February 3, 2011 Johnson's Career Night Leads Gauchos Past Tigers
February 1, 2011 Gauchos Head North to Battle Pacific, UC Davis
January 29, 2011 Gauchos Use Big Second Half to Defeat Cal State Northridge, 71-48
January 27, 2011 Gauchos Unable to Blemish Mustangs' Perfect Mark in Narrow Defeat
January 27, 2011 Sweets Underwood: A Great Example
January 26, 2011 UCSB Hosts First-Place Cal Poly on Thursday
January 24, 2011 Underwood a Sweet option for UCSB
January 22, 2011 UCSB Annihilates Fullerton, 69-32
January 21, 2011 The Gauchos' floor general
January 21, 2011 Tickets On Sale for 2011 ampm Big West Tournament at Honda Center
January 20, 2011 Gauchos Host Fullerton on Saturday
January 15, 2011 Gauchos Unable to Stop UC Riverside
January 13, 2011 Gauchos Topple Irvine Behind Great Defensive Play
January 12, 2011 Transfer Finds Family in Gaucho Gold
January 12, 2011 Gauchos Face Stiff Road Test This Week
January 8, 2011 Reserves Spark Gauchos in Victory
January 6, 2011 Gauchos Fall to UC Davis, 63-55
January 5, 2011 UCSB Returns Home to Face UC Davis, Pacific
December 30, 2010 Gauchos Open Big West Play by Throttling Long Beach State
December 28, 2010 Gauchos Open Conference Play at Long Beach on Thursday
December 22, 2010 Gauchos Blow Past Siena for Sixth Win in Eight Games
December 21, 2010 Have Breakfast With the Gauchos on Wednesday as UCSB Faces Siena
December 19, 2010 UCSB Hangs Tough with No. 18 St. John's, but Unable to Pull Off Upset
December 18, 2010 Johnson Continues Hot Streak to Help Gauchos Win
December 17, 2010 Gauchos Head to East Coast for Three
December 14, 2010 Adrian Helps Gauchos Win Overtime Thriller
December 13, 2010 Gauchos Begin 5-Game Road Trip on Tuesday at Bakersfield
December 11, 2010 Underwood, Gauchos Roll Past UTEP
December 9, 2010 Gauchos Get a Rare Dose of Home Cooking
December 8, 2010 Join the Gauchos for a New York Women's Basketball Huddle
December 5, 2010 UCSB Dominates USF, 71-38
December 4, 2010 UCSB Looks to Get Back on Track at USF on Sunday
December 3, 2010 Gauchos Fall to Saint Mary's, 77-53
December 1, 2010 UCSB Heads North for Two Tough Tests
November 29, 2010 Valentine Named Big West Player of the Week
November 28, 2010 Mekia Valentine Records School's First Triple-Double in Victory
November 24, 2010 Gauchos Finish Homestand on Sunday vs. Northern Colorado
November 20, 2010 Idaho Outlasts Gauchos in Double Overtime
November 18, 2010 Portland State Needs OT to Top Gauchos
November 17, 2010 Gauchos Host Portland State on Thursday in 1 p.m. Game at Thunderdome
November 17, 2010 Women's Hoops Team Inks Two Top Players
November 14, 2010 No. 15 Bruins Too Much for Gauchos
November 12, 2010 Gauchos Drop Opener to Pepperdine
November 10, 2010 UCSB Starts 2010-11 Campaign With Two Road Tests
November 4, 2010 Valentine's Double-Double Not Enough for Gauchos in Exhibition
November 3, 2010 UCSB Women's Hoops Opens 2010-11 Season on Thursday
October 28, 2010 Valentine Tabbed as Preseason First Team Pick; Gauchos Picked Fourth
October 27, 2010 Josh Suchon Added to UCSB Broadcast Team