Dec. 4, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Oregon State (4-1)
at Oregon State's Gill Coliseum (10,400)
Series record vs. the Beavers - 3-2
Streak - Lost 1
Last time out vs. the Beavers - L, 70-51 (2/24/09)
Broadcast live on AM 990 and streaming live online
Junior center Mekia Valentine has swatted 26 shots in her five games - an average of 5.2 per game, which ranks her third in the nation. She has already put her name in the school's single-game record books with two games of seven blocks and another with six (see chart, right). Valentine is already nearly halfway to Jenna Green's team-high 57 blocks from last season and is just 20 away from breaking into UCSB's single-season top-10. The school record for blocks in a season belongs to Lindsay Taylor, who swatted 69 shots in 2001-02. On Thursday, Valentine accounted for all three of the Gauchos' blocks.
Emilie Johnson had one of the finest games by a Gaucho player in recent history when she poured in a career-high 29 points in UCSB's 75-65 win over San Diego on Sunday. The sophomore guard was 9 of 16 from the field - including a career-best 5-for-8 from three-point range - and hit all six of her free throws. It was the most points scored by a UCSB player since Jessica Wilson scored 30 on Nov. 10, 2006 at Portland State. For her efforts, Johnson was named Big West Player of the Week, her first such honor.
A Bumpy Road
UCSB won its first game on the road last Sunday whereas last season the Gauchos didn't win their first road game until Jan. 8 after dropping their first five away games. The Gauchos' road win streak ended at one game as they fell at Portland State on Thursday by a six-point margin, the smallest margin of defeat this season.
Opening the season with four straight losses marked the first time a UCSB team started that way since the 2005-06 season (losing five straight). That was also the last time UCSB lost four games in a row, regardless of where it fell on the schedule.
Behind Valentine's record pace, UCSB leads the Big West with its 6.2 blocks per game average, which is seventh in the country. Against Kentucky, the Gauchos blocked 12 shots, which ties the school record for a single game, set Feb. 24 of last season vs. Oregon State. If the Gauchos' keep their current pace they would shatter the single-season record of 140 set in 2003-04 as they are on pace for 180 blocks. While Valentine has 26 of the team's 34 blocks, Meagan Williams is second with six swats.
On the Rebound
Despite going 1-5 in its first six games, UCSB has outrebounded its oppossition in each of its losses. On Thursday the Gauchos outrebounded the Vikings, 38-34, marking the most team rebounds since the Gauchos posted 42 at Nevada. UCSB is averaging 36.5 rebounds per game while opponents are grabbing an average of 34.5 boards per game - a +2.0 margin, which leads the Big West. The Gauchos also have six players pulling down at least 3.0 rebounds per game.
Mekia Valentine and Emilie Johnson are averaging 17.2 and 14.7 points per game, ranking them fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Big West. The pair have taken 137 of UCSB's 314 total shots, or 43.6% of the Gauchos' entire output. Valentine and Johnson are also the team's leading rebounders at 8.0 and 4.7 (Chris Spencer has a 6.5 rebound average, but in just two games). Valentine's rebound total is second in the Big West and she leads the conference with her 63 shooting percentage.
Home Soil Hero
Margaret Johnson, who hails from Lake Oswego, Ore. posted a season-best six rebounds and three assists and tied her season-high of two steals on Thursday during her return to her home state.
Baby, It's Cold Outside
After hitting those seven bonus bombs vs. San Diego, UCSB struggled again on Thursday going 4 for 13 from beyond the arc. The Gauchos are shooting just 22.5% from beyond the arc this season. UCSB missed all 10 of its three-point attempts vs. Kentucky, the second time this season the Gauchos have missed all of their downtown attempts (also 0-for-17 at Nevada). The last time a UCSB team went 0-for twice in a game from three-point range was the 2004-05 team, although that squad was 0-for-6 in one game and 0-for-1 in another. Prior to this season, the last time UCSB went at least 0-for-10 from downtown came in a Nov. 26, 2005 loss at BYU when the Gauchos missed all 13 of their three-point attempts.
Making a Point
Last season UCSB allowed just 55.5 points per game - second-best in school single-season history - while opponents shot just 34.6% vs. the Gauchos. This season, though, it's been a bit different. UCSB is allowing 67.2 points per game while opponents are shooting 42.1%.
`Dome Sweet `Dome
When the calendar flips to 2010, it will mark the 30th year the Thunderdome has been used for home games and in that time, the UCSB women's basketball team has enjoyed a large majority of its success inside the `Dome. The Gauchos have won over 400 games in the Thunderdome's existence, but over the past two decades, it has really proved to be a home court advantage. Since 1991, UCSB is 200-41 in the Thunderdome, an astounding winning percentage of .830.
Last season UCSB hit the 70-point mark on just four occasions. So far this year the Gauchos have done it twice.
Double Digit Defeats
The last time a UCSB team dropped three consecutively scheduled games by double-digits was during the 1989-90 season.
Single Game Tickets Now On Sale
Women's and men's basketball single game tickets are now on sale. To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click here to buy online and print at home.