October 25, 2007

Gauchos Picked To Finish Second In Big West Standings By Coaches, Media

Oct. 25, 2007

Watch UCSB Women's Basketball at Big West Media Day

IRVINE, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team was picked to finish second in the Big West regular season standings as voted by the league's coaches and media at the conference's annual media day on Wednesday.

UCSB finished second in both polls behind reigning regular season and tournament champion UC Riverside, who received eight first place votes and 64 total points to capture the top spot in the preseason coaches' poll. Santa Barbara received one first place vote and 57 points, finishing a unanimous second in votes conducted Wednesday. The conference's newest member UC Davis was chosen to finish third in its first season as a member of the Big West with 44 points, while Cal Poly received the fourth place nod with 41. Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, Pacific, Cal State Northridge, and UC Irvine followed rounding out the poll.

In the media poll, the Gauchos received one first place vote and 81 total points to finish second behind the Highlanders, who garnered nine first place votes and 89 points. The Mustangs were selected third with 56 points and Long Beach State and UC Davis both received 53 to finish in tie for the fourth place spot. Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, UC Irvine, and Pacific finished in that order to close it out.

This year's polls mark the first time in over a decade that Santa Barbara was not selected to hoist the regular season trophy by either the coaches or media.

The media also chose a Preseason All-Big West Team for the sixth year in a row and UCSB had two players selected. Senior center Jenna Green earned one of the six spots for a third consecutive year after earning All-Big West First Team honors last season. The San Jose, Calif. native led the Gauchos in points (16.6), rebounds (7.1), and blocked shots (1.7) for the second straight year, while shooting a league-best 53.7% from the field in 2006-07. Green was the only player to start all 33 games for UCSB last season.

Also earning a nod for the preseason all-conference squad was senior guard Jessica Wilson. Wilson led the Big West averaging 4.5 assists last season and finished in the conference's top 10 in six major statistical categories. The Sacramento, Calif. native earned a second consecutive second team all-conference selection after averaging 13.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in 31 games a year ago. She scored a career-high 30 points in the Gauchos' season opener against Portland State November 10.

In addition, Santa Barbara returns two starters and nine letterwinners from last year's squad that finished 19-14 overall and failed to win at least a share of the Big West regular season title for the first time since the 1994-95 season, finishing second to UC Riverside at 10-4. After a narrow loss to the Highlanders in the Big West Tournament final, UCSB advanced to the second round of the WNIT and lost a 70-54 decision at Oregon.

Santa Barbara also ushers in three talented freshmen in 2007-08 and will have the services of junior forward/center Kat Suderman, who redshirted last season, and Lauren Pedersen, a transfer from UCLA.

UCSB takes the court for the first time this season Wednesday, October 31 for an exhibition contest with Vanguard in the Thunderdome at 7:00 p.m. The Gauchos will tip off the regular season Friday, November 9 with a home match-up with BYU at 7:00 p.m.