By ARTHUR WILKIE
UCSB SPORTS WRITER
The UCSB women’s basketball team earned two selections to the preseason Big West All-Conference teams this week.
Junior center Ila Lane was named to the Coaches’ Team, and senior guard Taylor Mole was named to the team selected by members of the media around the conference.
The Gauchos were picked to finish third in the coaches’ poll, finishing with one first-place vote, while they slotted in at sixth on the media vote, also with one first-place tally.
ILA LANE ON THE COACHES TEAM
The Moraga native earns a spot on the All-Big West preseason coaches team for the first time in her career. Lane opted out of the 2020-21 season, but she had one of the best freshman campaigns in program history, leading the Big West as the only player averaging a double-double with 15.3 points and 13 rebounds per game.
Her 19 double-doubles led the conference and ranked fourth in the NCAA. She led all freshmen in the nation in this category.
She also finished the regular season as the national leader in rebounds per game and second in the country in total rebounds (378).
The three-time Big West Player of the Week made her mark on the league scene with three 20-point, 20-rebound performances, while also corralling the eighth-most rebounds and averaging the fifth-most rebounds per game in a single season in Big West history.
Last week, she was named to the 20-player watchlist for the 2022 Lisa Leslie Award, recognizing the top centers in women’s college basketball.
Lane was also listed as having earned two or more votes in the media poll.
TAYLOR MOLE ON MEDIA TEAM
Mole picks up where she left off after a sensational debut year for the Gauchos in which she earned a spot on the 2020-21 All-Big West Honorable Mention team. After the NCAA granted all transfers a waiver to compete in mid-December, she made an immediate impact by scoring double-digit point tallies in 10 consecutive games and posting five of her seven double-doubles in that same span.
Mole led the Big West in rebounds per game and defensive rebounds per game in conference play, and she ranks 20th in the NCAA in the latter category. Her most complete performance came at CSU Bakersfield on Feb. 19 when she scored 20 points, 18 of them via her six three-pointers, and picked up 14 boards while filling the stat sheet elsewhere with four assists, four blocks, two steals and four fouls drawn.
The Australian ranked sixth in scoring in conference games and eighth in field goal percentage. Her blocked shots average of 1.56 per contest was good for second in the Big West, and her 32.16 minutes per game average was ninth among all league players.
Mole set a career-high with 24 points in UCSB’s season-ending 92-90 loss to UC Irvine in the Big West Tournament, racking up 11 boards en route to her seventh double-double of the year. She also converted on four triples, helping UCSB set a new single-game program record with 18 three-pointers.
Mole also earned at least two votes in the coaches poll.
UCSB was picked to finish third in the conference, according to the league’s coaches. The Gauchos finished on 75 points with one first-place vote, 13 behind second-placed UC Irvine and one ahead of Long Beach State in fourth. In addition, the blue and gold finished sixth with one first place vote in the media poll.
The Gauchos open their season Tuesday at the Thunderdome against Loyola Marymount on Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night. The game will be streamed on ESPN+, and live stats will be available on StatBroadcast.
Arthur Wilkie works in communications/media relations at UCSB.