UCSB Faces Portland State, University of Oregon During Portland Tour This Week

UCSB Faces Portland State, University of Oregon During Portland Tour This Week

Dec. 4, 2007

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The Schedule
Game No. 7
Thursday, December 6, 2007 @ 7:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (3-3) at Portland State Vikings (6-1)
Concordia University's Cavalier Gymnasium (1,200)*

Game No. 8
10th Annual Papé Jam
Saturday, December 8, 2007 @ 12:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (3-3) vs. Oregon Ducks (4-3)
The Rose Garden (19,980)

Coming Attractions
After an impressive 95-82 victory at Santa Clara last Thursday, the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team will continue its three-game road trip with two contests in the state of Oregon this week. First up, the Gauchos will look to win their third straight away from home when they take on Portland State Thursday night. *Because of flooding in PSU's Peter W. Stott Center last week, UCSB's tilt with the Vikings will be played at Concordia University's Cavalier Gymnasium in Portland and tip-off has been pushed back to 7:30 p.m. Santa Barbara will then take on Oregon Saturday, a team UCSB saw twice in 2006-07, as part of the 10th Annual Papé Jam. The Gauchos will battle the Ducks at 12:30 p.m. before the Oregon men's team squares off with Utah at 3:00 p.m.

For the Record
With the win over Santa Clara last week, UCSB climbed back to the .500 mark with an overall record of 3-3 through six games in 2007-08. The Gauchos -- who have played just twice over the last 16 days -- will look to pick up back-to-back wins for the first time this season at Portland State Thursday night. Santa Barbara can also claim its third road victory in four tries with a win over the Vikings. The Gauchos were 19-14 overall in 2006-07 and finished second in the Big West Conference standings for the first time in 12 years at 10-4. UCSB was a very impressive 10-4 on the road last season.

Gauchos on the Air & Web
Both of this week's contests, along with every other UCSB women's basketball game in 2007-08, will be broadcast live on KIST 1340 AM in Santa Barbara. "Showtime" Steve Wendt is back for his fourth season as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos and he will have the call live from Portland as the Gauchos take on the Vikings and Ducks. Yours truly will try not to scare away listeners while handling the color commentary duties. Fans can also watch all games live via the internet by going to www.bigwest.tv and purchasing the UCSB season package. For the third straight year the Big West Conference and CSTV are partnering to bring exclusive Big West Gaucho events to fans online. BigWest.TV offers on-demand access to LIVE coverage of Big West contests as well as press conferences, features, and Big West Championships.

Gauchos Score 95 In Win at Santa Clara
The Santa Barbara offense has been rounding into form over the last few games and the Gauchos continued to score the ball with ease in their win over Santa Clara last Thursday. Six players not named Jenna Green reached double figures in UCSB's 95-82 victory, as the Gauchos shot a season-best 52.5% (32-61) from the floor and knocked down 61.5% (8-13) of their attempts from 3-point territory. Sha'Rae Gibbons scored a career-high 20 points to lead the way, while Jessica Wilson added a season-high 18. Jordan Franey and Meagan Williams tallied high marks for the year as well, finishing with 11 points apiece, and Chisa Ononinwu and Ashlee Brown both added 10. After the Broncos jumped out to a 11-5 lead after the first 4:18, UCSB responded with a 34-18 run over the next nine minutes to take a 39-29 lead and went on to hold a 56-44 advantage at the break. Santa Clara came roaring back to take a 66-60 lead with 13:48 to play, but the Gauchos fought back, getting eight points from Wilson during a 19-6 run to close the game and went on to defeat the Broncos 95-82. The 95 points is a new season-high and is the most Santa Barbara has scored since dropping 105 on Cal State Northridge in a 45-point rout in the Thunderdome January 6, 2002. UCSB's season-high last season was 90 points, which also came against the Matadors in the Gauchos' regular season finale March 3. Over the past six seasons, Santa Barbara has reached the 90-point plateau a total of eight times.

About The Coach
Mark French returned to his alma mater at the start of 1987-88 season and women's basketball at UC Santa Barbara has never been the same. In his 21st season as head coach of the Gauchos, French has had an immensely successful career, posting a record of 418-195 (.682) while at UCSB and an overall mark of 516-309 (.625). Since the 1991-92 campaign, a period spanning 16 years, French's Gauchos have won 12 Big West Conference titles and advanced to 11 NCAA Tournaments -- including five second rounds and a Sweet 16 appearance -- as well as three Postseason WNITs. Individually, French has earned an unprecedented seven Big West Coach of the Year honors, while in 2002-03 he was named WBCA District 8 Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year award. He is the dean of Big West coaches, with nine more years of experience in the league than any of his current counterparts and holds conference records for league wins and consecutive seasons at one school. French reached two major coaching milestones last season, winning his 400th victory at UCSB with a 78-67 Santa Barbara win over Pepperdine Dec.18 and then notched his 500th career victory overall when the Gauchos defeated Long Beach State Jan. 4.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Sha'Rae Gibbons - Team's leading scorer at 12.5 points per game.
G - Chisa Ononiwu - Leads UCSB playing 30.7 minutes per night.
G - Jessica Wilson - Scored season-high 18 points with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals vs. SCU.
F- Whitney Warren - Started the last three games after coming off the bench in previous two.
F- Ashlee Brown - Posted career-highs of 10 points and 6 rebounds last week.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Lauren Pedersen - Tallied 5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block against Broncos.
G - Ariana Gnekow - Shooting .444 from the field this season.
G - Meagan Williams - Went 3-3 overall, 2-2 from 3, and scored a season-high 11 points vs. SCU.
F - Jordan Franey - Hit her first two 3s of the year and finished with 11 points at Santa Clara.
F - Margaret Johnson - Recorded 1 rebound and 1 assist in 7 minutes against the Broncos.
F - Kat Suderman - Hauled in a season-best 6 rebounds in win at Santa Clara.
C - Jessie Goble - Averaging 2 minutes per game over the last three.

Injury Report - Notes
C - Jenna Green - Will miss contests with Portland State and Oregon with a back injury.

Scouting the Vikings
• UCSB opens this week's road trip against Portland State on the campus of Concordia University Thursday night. The clash will mark the just the third meeting between the two programs with the Gauchos and Vikings splitting their previous two contests. Santa Barbara posted a convincing 88-73 victory over PSU in the Thunderdome in last season's opener led by Jessica Wilson's career-high 30 points. The Vikings picked up their only win in the series all the way back in 1978, routing the Gauchos 64-45 in the Chico State Tournament that year.

• First year head coach Sherri Murrell's squad returns just six letterwinners and two starters from the 2006-07 team that finished the season with an overall record of 12-18 and placed fifth in the Big Sky Conference standings at 8-8.

• Portland State enters Thursday's contest with an overall record of 6-1 after edging fellow Big West foe Long Beach State 73-71 in Cavalier Gymnasium Saturday afternoon. The Vikings are averaging 72.0 points through their first seven games this season, while limiting the opposition to 68.1. PSU is a perfect 5-0 at home and while playing in Concordia's gym and their only loss this year was an 80-62 decision at UC Davis on November 27. Portland State boasts three players averaging double figure points, with two-time All-Big Sky First Teamer Kelsey Kahle leading the way at 16.1 points per game. The junior guard is also the team leader averaging 6.0 rebounds and is shooting an even 50% from the field. Second year gaurd Delaney Conway is not far behind, averaging 51.4 points and leads the squad in three-pointers made (14), three-point percentage (.378), and minutes per game (34.7). Last season's Big Sky Conference Outstanding Freshman Claire Faucher is third averaging 11.6 points per night, while leading the team averaging 9.0 assists.

Scouting the Ducks
• After taking on the Vikings, the Gauchos will square off with a team they have seen quite a bit of recently in the University of Oregon. After falling to the Ducks twice last season, UCSB trails the all-time series with Oregon 3-1. The Ducks defeated the Gauchos 85-77 on November 17 of last year, led by a career-high 27 points from guard Lilley Taylor, and then got the better of Santa Barbara once again in the second round of the WNIT at McArthur Court in Eugene. UCSB shot just 29.7% from the floor and Oregon's Carolyn Ganes scored 13 points to lead five players in double figures in the 70-54 win. The Ducks were then eliminated by Wyoming after a 64-62 loss in the WNIT Third Round. Santa Barbara's only win in the series was a 74-61 home victory in 1999.

• Head coach Bev Smith welcomes back five letterwinners and two starters from last year's squad that posted an overall mark of 17-14 and finished sixth in the Pac-10 at 8-10. The Ducks bring a record of 4-3 into Saturday's match-up after falling to Portland 78-74 on Sunday. Oregon is averaging 62.0 points per game and is holding the opposition to 56.3 through seven games in 2007-08. The Ducks are 3-1 at home so far this season and defeated Coppin State 64-51 in their only neutral site contest of the year. Taylor is the only player averaging double figures at 11.3 points per game and she also leads the squad with 14 triples and 12 steals. Freshman forward Nicole Canepa has been impressive in her rookie campaign, averaging 9.9 points and 4.9 rebounds, while shooting 48.9% from the field. Senior guard Kaela Chapdelaine is third averaging 9.1 points per night and leads the team in both rebounds and assists, averaging 6.1 and 4.3, respectively.

Quick Hits
After out-rebounding Santa Clara 48-22 last Thursday, UCSB improved to 3-0 when controlling the glass this season...The Gauchos are 0-3 when the opposition gets more rebounds in 2007-08...The game marked Santa Barbara's largest rebounding margin of the season...UCSB had six players score in double figures against the Broncos for the first time since March 3, when the Gauchos defeated Cal State Northridge 90-79...In addition to scoring a season-high 95 points in the win at Santa Clara, Santa Barbara also recorded high marks for field goals made (32), field goal percentage (52.5%), 3-pointers made (8), 3-point percentage (61.5%), free-throws made (23), free-throws attempted (34), and steals (12) against the Broncos...The 13-point victory was the Gauchos' largest this season...While the offense put up a season-best point total, UCSB also allowed 82 points defensively, which was also a season-high.

Gibbons Shines On
Don't expect Sha'Rae Gibbons to slow down anytime soon. The 5-foot-7 guard has had a breakout season so far in 2007-08 and continued her impressive play in the Gauchos' 98-82 win at Santa Clara. The Sacramento, Calif. native finished 6-of-9 from the field and was a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc for a career-high 20 points. She was also 5-for-6 at the free-throw line, grabbed four rebounds, dished out a team-high three assists, and set a career mark with four steals. Gibbons, who entered her junior season with a career average of 0.8 points per game, currently leads the team in scoring at 12.5 per night. In fact, she has either set or tied a career mark in scoring in three of UCSB's six games this season. Gibbons also leads the team shooting just under 90% at the free-throw line and ranks second in both field goal percentage (.490) and assists (2.1).

Like several of her teammates, senior guard Jessica Wilson scored a season-high against the Broncos last week, finishing with 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting. The Sacramento, Calif. native also grabbed five rebounds, dished out two assists, and recorded two steals to help Santa Barbara to its most convincing victory of the season. Through six games, Wilson leads the team averaging 5.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists and is one of UCSB's top three-point shooters, knocking down triples at a 35.7% (5-14) clip. In terms of scoring, Wilson ranks second, averaging 11.7 points per night. She is second averaging 25.8 minutes per contest and her .481 overall shooting percentage ranks third.

Shooter's Touch
Watching Meagan Williams over the last few games, you got the feeling that she was on the verge of a great performance and that performance came against Santa Clara. The sophomore guard made all three of her attempts from the field, two of which came from 3-point territory, and was 3-of-4 at the foul line for a season-high 11 points. Williams added two assists, a blocked shot, and a steal to her stat line in a total of 18 minutes off the bench, which was also a season-high. The Sacramento, Calif. native enters Thursday's contest against Portland State averaging 3.2 points, while shooting 46.7% overall and 66.7% from beyond the arc.

UCSB Inks Two For 2008-09
UC Santa Barbara signed a pair of high school seniors to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period, head coach Mark French announced Friday, November 16. Emilie Johnson, a 5'6" point guard from Roseville, Calif. and Megan Kritscher, a 6'3" forward from Woodland, Calif. will join the Gauchos for the 2008-09 season as true freshmen. Johnson is entering her senior season at Del Oro High School in Roseville, where she was named the 2006-07 Sierra Foothill League MVP after averaging 15.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 3.2 steals, while shooting 43% from the field as a junior last season. The only junior to earn a spot on the Sacramento Bee All-Metro First Team, Johnson led the Golden Eagles to 26-2 record and a third consecutive SFL championship a year ago. She is a three-time all-league selection and was named the Sonora Kiwanis Tournament MVP as a sophomore in 2006. Kritscher signs with UCSB after averaging 12.6 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 5.5 blocked shots per game as a junior at Pioneer High School last season. An All-Tri-County League selection, Kritscher scored a career-best 22 points while hauling in 11 rebounds and blocking three shots to lead the Patriots to a 44-30 victory over rival Woodland High School last and recorded a career-high 10 blocks in a game against Inderkum. She was also an all-league performer in volleyball for PHS last season.