SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Following a regular season in which they carried a large share of the UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team's responsibilities on both ends of the floor, guards Coco Miller and Danae Miller have earned All-Big West honors, the conference announced Monday morning.
Coming off a 2017-18 season where she missed all 29 games, Coco Miller has returned to lead UCSB in scoring (12.3 ppg) for the first time in her career, leading to an All-Big West Second Team selection. She had previously been named a Big West All-Freshman following the 2015-16 season.
Point guard Danae Miller has made a huge leap in her sophomore season, especially since the start of conference play, where she ranks top-10 in both assists and steals. She was named an All-Big West Honorable Mention, extending a run of now 12 straight seasons with at least one Gaucho earning the accolade.
Coco Miller joins Drew Edelman (2017) as the only two Gauchos to be named to the All-Big West Second Team over the last seven years. Along with being the team's leading scorer, she heads into the postseason as the Gauchos' leader in steals (1.8) and three-pointers (55). The San Clemente, Calif. native is also averaging career-highs in assists (2.8) and minutes (34.4).
While her shot hasn't always been on this season, Coco's value to her team when she's on the floor is unmistakable. She has hit the 20-point mark seven times, two more than the rest of her team combined. On Nov. 25, she led UCSB to its first win of the year, 62-56, with 22 points and 10 rebounds against Dartmouth, just the second double-double of her career. Four different times, she knocked down five or more threes, the most such occurrences from any Big West player this season. On Jan. 12, in the Gauchos' second game of conference play at Cal Poly, Miller went off for a career-high 33 points, knocking down 6-of-10 from three-point range for her fourth 20-point outing in five games. Her 1.8 steals per game put her at fourth in the conference, while her 55 triples are good for third and are approaching UCSB's all-time top-10 for a single season.
Coco's backcourt mate hasn't done so bad, either. While Danae Miller had a much quieter year as a freshman in 2017-18, she has not disappointed since being thrust into a more central role this season. The younger Miller has shattered her career-high averages across the board, ranking top-10 during conference play in assists (5th, 4.0), free throw shooting (5th, .808), steals (8th, 1.6) and minutes (2nd, 37.3). Her 11.2 points per game since the start of January are also just slightly behind Coco for the team-lead, while her 2.6 free throws per game are second-to-none.
The former Long Beach Polytechnic High School standout and Carson, Calif. native had a slow start to the year, missing the Gauchos' first four games because of a foot injury. She would ease her way back into things, averaging just 4.0 points per game through her first seven appearances. However, with her team needing a leader to step up, she would answer the call, seemingly flipping a switch as she became one of the team's top producers the rest of the way. She would help lead UCSB to its first away win of the season, 63-58 at San Diego State on Dec. 21, as she crossed the 10-point mark for the first time with 16 points and eight boards. That started a run of six straight games in double-figures, including a career-high 22-point, eight-assist outing against New Mexico State. That stretch also saw her post four or more assists in nine straight games, another career-best.
Without the play of both guards down the stretch of the regular season, UCSB may not be headed to the Big West Tournament this week. Both players played a crucial part in UCSB's late 61-60 comeback win over CSUN on Feb. 9, scoring six points in five seconds in the final minute to stun the Matadors. That began a stretch of four straight home wins, as the Gauchos went on to pick up huge victories over UC Irvine, Cal Poly and UC Riverside to clinch the conference's No. 8 seed.
The Millers are the first Gaucho backcourt tandem to garner All-Conference recognition together since Jasmine Ware and Makala Roper in 2015-16. They will now get set to face No. 5 seed UC Irvine on Tuesday in the Big West Tournament First Round at UCI's Bren Events Center.