UCSB, UC Riverside Battle for Conference's Top Seed Saturday

UCSB, UC Riverside Battle for Conference's Top Seed Saturday

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Feb. 23, 2007

The Schedule
Game No. 27
Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Riverside Highlanders
The Thunderdome (6,000)

The Gaucho Record
The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team enters Saturday's showdown with league-leading UC Riverside with an overall record of 15-11 and an 8-3 Big West Conference mark after handing Cal State Fullerton a 70-64 loss Thursday night in the Thunderdome. With the win, UCSB evened its record at home at 8-8 and pulled to within one game of the Highlanders (11-2) in the loss column following their 68-64 loss at redhot Cal Poly two days ago. If Santa Barbara can defeat Riverside and win both of its games in the final week of the season, the Gauchos would claim a share of their 12th consecutive Big West regular season title.

UCSB on the Air & Web
Saturday's contest with first place UC Riverside will be broadcast live on KIST 1340 AM in Santa Barbara. KEYT Sports Director Gerry Fall, who is in his third year as the voice of the Gaucho's men's team, will have the call filling in for Steve Wendt. Broadcasts begin 15 minutes prior to tip-off with the "Gaucho Pregame Show". Fans can also catch all games live via the internet by going to www.ucsbgauchos.com and purchasing the "UCSB All-Access Pass". With this option hoops fans can enjoy live audio and video from the comfort of their homes courtesy of CSTV.

Green, Wilson Lead UCSB to 70-64 defeat of Cal State Fullerton
Juniors Jenna Green and Jessica Wilson were spectacular for the second straight game only this time the pair led UCSB to a 70-64 Big West Conference victory over visiting Cal State Fullerton Thursday night in the Thunderdome. Green scored a game-high 24 points and Wilson tallied 16 to help extend Santa Barbara's winning streak against the Titans to 27 games dating back to 1995. The duo were the only two Gauchos to reach double figures for the second consecutive game and combined to score 40 of the team's 70 points. Green out-did Toni Thomas, the Big West's leading scorer, scoring 24 points -- her second highest total of the season -- finishing 12-of-19 from the floor. The San Jose, Calif. native was tremendous defensively, as well, recording nine rebounds, four blocked shots, and two steals. Wilson was one rebound and one assist shy of her first-career triple-double, racking up 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting, to go with nine rebounds and nine assists. The native of Sacramento, Calif. also added a game-high three steals and one block. UCSB trailed by as many as six in the first half but outscored Fullerton 27-10 over the final 12:21, including the last nine points of the period to lead 35-24 at the break. The Titans battled back to within three on three different occasions in the second, but each time the Gauchos were able to respond and went on to win by a 70-64 margin.

Did You Know?...
If UCSB and UCR finish tied for the BWC lead at 11-3, then the No. 1 seed heading into the conference tournament would be determined by a coin flip...Both would have a 1-1 head-to-head record and two league losses against common opponents...After an off game in last Saturday's loss to Cal Poly in which the Gauchos shot just 34.4% from the field, they got back on track against Fullerton, shooting 49.1% (28-57)...Santa Barbara shot a season-worst 27.9% in the Dec. 28 loss at UC Riverside...UCSB posted a narrow 41-40 advantage on the glass in the win over CSUF and improved to 13-2 when out-rebounding the opponent this season.

Catching the Highlanders
• UCSB welcomes UC Riverside Saturday in one of the most anticipated matchups the Big West has seen this season. Saturday's showdown -- the Gauchos' last regular season contest at home -- will mark the 24th meeting between the two programs. Santa Barbara leads the all-time series 14-9, but Riverside has taken three of the last four, icluding the first match-up this season. Junior forward Kemie Nkele scored a game-high 21 points and hauled in 13 rebounds leading four players in double figures in UCR's 70-57 victory in both team's conference opener.

• Riverside comes to town with a 17-10 overall record and a 11-2 league mark following Thursday's loss at Cal Poly. The Highlanders, who have already clinched at least a share of the program's first regular season title, average 61.3 points per game and have allowed 59.2. UCR shoots 40.6% from the field, while their opposition has shot 36.2%. Junior forward Kemie Nkele is fourth in the Big West and leads the team averaging 15.7 points per game to go with a team-high 8.4 rebounds, 66 blocks, and 33 steals. Sophomore guard Seywam Gbewonyo is second averaging 9.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, while fellow second year forward Roney Friend puts up 8.6 points, along with 5.7 boards, 23 blocks and 33 steals. Riverside had won a season-high five straight before Thursday's loss and owns a 6-8 road record this season.