Oct. 29, 2008
IRVINE, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team, under the reigns of new head coach Lindsay Gottlieb, was picked to finish second in the Big West Conference's Preseason Coaches and Media Polls Wednesday at the league's annual Media Day in Orange County. For the third straight year, UC Riverside, which captured its first-ever conference crown in 2006-07, was selected as the preseason favorite to win the Big West title again in 2008-09.
Riverside received five of the nine first-place votes in the coaches poll, but only four of the eight from the media. UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis each picked up two first-place votes in both polls. The Gauchos were second in the coaches poll and were followed by UC Davis, Pacific, Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, and Cal State Northridge. In the media poll, UCSB and Davis tied for second, Cal State Fullerton was fourth, Long Beach State fifth, Pacific sixth, Cal Poly seventh, UC Irvine eighth, and Cal State Northridge ninth.
UC Riverside returns a league-high eight seniors, including its top seven scorers from last season. Senior forward Kemie Nkele, the 2006-07 Big West Player of the Year, returns as the league's leader in career points, rebounds, blocks, and field goals made. Also returning is senior guard Seyram Gbewonyo, who led the Highlanders in scoring with 13.2 points per game last season.
UC Santa Barbara returns four starters from a squad that went 23-8 overall and 15-1 in conference. The Gauchos won their 13th Big West regular season title, topped the field at the league tourney, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Senior center Jenna Green, a two-time All-Big West selection, will hit the floor after missing last season and being awarded a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
Green was named to the 2008-09 Preseason All-Big West Team along with Haylee Donaghe (UC Davis), Karina Figueroa (Long Beach State), Gbewonyo, Nkele, and Toni Thomas (Cal State Fullerton).
UCSB plays a pair of exhibitions at the Thunderdome to open its season, the first against Westmont on Nov. 5 and the second against Vanguard on Nov. 11. The regular season begins Nov. 16 as the Gauchos host San Diego.
Tickets for UCSB basketball games are available by calling the Ticket Office at 805.893.UCSB or online at the Ticket Office page.
2008-09 Preseason Big West Coaches Poll
1. UC Riverside, 60 points (5)
2. UC Santa Barbara, 55 (2)
3. UC Davis, 47 (2)
4. Pacific, 44
5. Cal Poly, 35
6. Cal State Fullerton, 34
7. Long Beach State, 25
8. UC Irvine, 14
9. Cal State Northridge, 10
2008-09 Preseason Big West Media Poll
1. UC Riverside, 89 points (4)
2. UC Davis, 83 (2)
2. UC Santa Barbara, 83 (2)
4. Cal State Fullerton, 56
5. Long Beach State, 51
6. Pacific, 49
7. Cal Poly, 42
8. UC Irvine, 21
9. Cal State Northridge, 16
( ) first place votes
2008-09 Preseason All-Big West Team
Haylee Donaghe, wing, senior, UC Davis
Karina Figueroa, guard, senior, Long Beach State
Seyram Gbewonyo, guard, senior, UC Riverside
Jenna Green, senior, center, UC Santa Barbara
Kemie Nkele, forward, senior, UC Riverside
Toni Thomas, forward, senior, Cal State Fullerton
- UCSBgauchos.com -