February 1, 2011

Gauchos Head North to Battle Pacific, UC Davis

Feb. 1, 2011

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• The Schedule
Thursday, February 3, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Pacific (6-15, 3-5)
at Pacific's Alex G. Spanos Center (6,150)
Series record vs. the Tigers - 50-15
Streak - Won 4
Last time out vs. the Tigers - W, 56-47 @ UCSB (1/8/11)
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, February 5, 2011, at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at UC Davis (15-5, 5-3)
at UC Davis' The Pavilion (8,000)
Series record vs. the Aggies - 34-11
Streak - Lost 4
Last time out vs. the Aggies - L, 63-55 @ UCSB (1/6/11)
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.

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
G 10 Emilie Johnson - Leading scorer has been held scoreless in 2 of last 4 games
G 24 Angelei Aguirre - Leads the team with 49 assists - an average of 2.6 per game
G 2 Kelsey Adrian - 15 points on Sat was first double-digit game since Jan. 6
F 32 Margaret Johnson - Shooting 29.1% from the floor, 88.0% from the FT line
F 44 Mekia Valentine - Tallied her 7th double-double of season Sat & her 19th of career

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F 1 Sweets Underwood - Shooting 55.5% from the floor, 2nd on the team
G 3 Nicole Nesbit - Is averaging 6.8 points per game in conference action
G 11 Stefanie Corgel - 11 of her 24 points this season have from the FT line
F 15 Adaeze Okolie - Avg. 1.1 points, 1.2 rebounds per game in 5.1 min of action
G 22 Melissa Zornig - Set a career-high with 7 assists on Saturday at CSUN
G 33 Destini Mason - Had 2 steals in 9 minutes at Northridge

The Opponents

• at Pacific, 2/3
UCSB has won 4 in a row vs. Pacific, but still remembers its last loss to the Tigers came in Stockton on Feb. 19, 2009, which was the Gauchos' only Big West blemish that season as UCSB went 15-1 and won the Big West title. UOP is coming off a 62-59 win at UC Riverside. Danielle Peacon leads UOP with 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, and had 14 points and six rebounds in the team's first meeting on Jan. 8.

• at UC Davis, 2/5
The Gauchos' four straight losses to Davis are tied for the second-longest active losing streak among opponents (Stanford has beaten UCSB 10 straight times). Davis is ranked 14th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll and is led by Paige Mintun's 13.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. In the Jan. 6 meeting in Santa Barbara, Mintun, Heidi Heintz, Samantha Meggison and Vicky Deely all scored in double figures.

• Tenacious D
As a team, UC Santa Barbara is holding opponents to a 34.2% clip on defense, the best mark in the Big West and 15th-best in the nation. UCSB is also allowing teams to score just 58.1 points per game, which is the lowest in the Big West and 72nd in the country. In 11 of the Gauchos' 19 games, the team has held an opponent under 35% from the floor. In conference play, UCSB is allowing teams to shoot just 32.8% and score 53.2 points per game, both of which lead the conference.

• Gottlieb's Legacy: Defense
The above note 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.

• Swat Team
As a team, the Gauchos are averaging 5.05 blocked shots per game, the best mark among Big West schools - UC Riverside is next with 4.70 per game - and 24th 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 92 shots.

• We're a Boarding School
Santa Barbara is averaging 41.1 rebounds per game, which leads the Big West. The Gauchos hold a +3.4 rebounding margin, which also is tops among conference schools and 74th in the nation. It's largely due to Mekia Valentine and Sweets Underwood rank second and third, respectively, in the Big West with averages of 9.9 rebounds and 7.7 rebounds per game.

• The Heat Will Rock You
UC Santa Barbara has won 10 of its past 14 games and have shot 45.0% in that time. The Gauchos have moved from the bottom of the Big West in field goal percentage (35.0%) to its current 42.3%, which is second amongst all Big West teams behind Cal Poly's 42.4%. In conference play Santa Barbara is shooting 42.9% from the floor, which ranks third in the conference.

• 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.

• Only Trailing Taylor
Mekia Valentine leads the Big West with her 3.9 blocked shots per game and ranks fourth in the nation (St. Mary's Louella Tomlinson leads the country with 4.9 per game). Valentine is second all-time in career blocked shots at UCSB in just 50 games, trailing only Lindsay Taylor (2000-04) by just 45. At her current pace, Valentine should become the Gauchos' all-time shot blocker by season's end. Last season the 6-foot-4 center blocked 120 shots, setting a new school record and her average of 4.0 per game ranked third in the country.

• Cleaning the Glass
In six of her past seven games, Mekia Valentine has pulled in double-digit rebounds and is averaging a conference-best 12.8 per game in Big West play. In that time the Greensboro, N.C. native has seen her season average balloon from 7.8 to its current 9.9 per game, which is second in the Big West and 30th in the nation.

• Double Dippers
Valentine's 9.9 rebounds per game give her the chance to become the first Gaucho since Erika Kienast in 1991-92 to average double figures in rebounds. But let's not stop there. Valentine has the chance to become the first UCSB player since Kienast in that season to average a double-double over a season. Valentine is scoring 9.9 points per game.

• Zornig Zeroes In
Over the Gauchos' last five games freshman Melissa Zornig has led the team in scoring with an average of 10.4 points per game, which includes a game when she went scoreless. The Coto de Caza, Calif. native has also raised her overall season scoring average from 4.9 points per game to its current 6.3 ppg. After dishing out a career-best seven assists at CSUN on Saturday, Zornig has 14 over this five-game stretch, also leading UCSB. She's shooting 54.3% from the floor during this span.

• Oh, Canada
With 15 points on Saturday, Kelsey Adrian reached double figures for the first time in five games. The junior from Langley, B.C. is third on the team with 9.4 points per game, but she leads the team with her 36.1% clip from three-point range. That mark ranks her ninth in the Big West and her 1.75 treys per game puts her fifth in the conference.

• How Sweets It Is Sophomore Sweets Underwood ranks third in the Big West with her 7.7 rebounds per game and is fourth on the team with a 9.3 points per game average. Last season the Compton, Calif. native was an All-Freshman Team pick with a 3.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game average.

• Biggest in the Big West
The Gauchos have dominated the conference for more than a decade. Since the 1995-96 season, UCSB is 219-29 (.883) in Big West games.

• Countdown to 1,000
Mekia Valentine has scored 198 points this season, giving her 919 in her career between Wake Forest and UCSB. 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 as not all of her buckets came as a Gaucho (she scored 351 points at Wake). The next likely member to join the 22-person 1,000-point club is Emilie Johnson, who has scored 863 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. 129 spot, down 11 from last week. This is the third-best mark in the conference, behind UC Riverside (No. 95) and UC Davis (No. 115). Santa Barbara's other opponent this week, Pacific, checks in with an RPI of 297.

• Tickling the Twine
A season after finishing second in school history with her 57.4% mark from the field, senior Mekia Valentine is at it again. Valentine is shooting at a 58.9% clip this season, again challenging Kira Anthofer's school record shooting percentage of 59.6% in 1985-86. Valentine is currently leading the Big West in shooting percentage.

• Sixty is Nifty
When scoring at least 60 points, the Gauchos are 10-2 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.