The UCSB women’s basketball team (6-3) will complete its first undefeated month since January 2008 if it beats UC San Diego (3-6) Thursday.
The game will take place at 7 p.m. (3-6) at the UCSB Thunderdome. Live stats will stream on ESPN+.
UC San Diego is out to a 3-6 start, despite leading all Big West teams in opponent field goal percentage (33.6%), blocks (6.11) and three-pointers per game (7.56) heading into league play. Senior guard/forward Sydney Brown paces the team in scoring at 11.2 points per game, while senior center Alex Obouh Fegue leads the team in rebounds (8.9) and the conference in blocks (2.4).
The Tritons ended their first year in the Big West in 2020-21 with a 6-9 mark in conference play. They will be playing their first game in 13 days after their Dec. 21 game against Northern Arizona was canceled due to COVID-19.
UCSB TO PLAY UC IRVINE
The UCSB women’s basketball team will go on to host UC Irvine Saturday.
UC Irvine (5-6), 2020-21 Big West Championship runner-up, has dropped four of its five December games.
After opening the conference games against CSUN on Dec. 30, the Anteaters will bring to town one of the highest scoring offenses in the Big West. UCI averages a second-best 70.9 points per game, led by freshman guard Kayla Williams’ 13 points and 4.1 assist averages.
The Anteaters are one of the most active teams on the glass, with their conference-leading 13.3 offensive boards per game set to challenge UCSB’s second-ranked +1.7 rebounding margin.
UCSB BEATS SAN JOSE STATE
Led by junior center Ila Lane’s 26 points (11-15 FG) and seven rebounds, UCSB won its fourth straight game at San Jose State on Dec. 20.
The women’s basketball team won 81-51.
The Gauchos (53.3 FG%) shut down the Spartans (31.1%), using a 23-4 run in the middle of the game to pull away as four Gauchos scored in double-digits for the fifth time already this year.
Ila Lane made it look easy in last Tuesday’s win, rarely needing to dribble as she came up one point shy of a career-high with her 26. She is on pace to lead the Big West in rebounding (9.5) for the second time, as well as leading the pack in field goal percentage (59.5%) and double-doubles (3). She also ranks third in blocks (1.4).
Lane has already climbed to third all-time in Gaucho history with five Big West Player of the Week awards. She has two this month, adding to the three she notched in her freshman season in 2019-20.
In addition to earning one for her efforts at San Jose State, she picked up her first of the year after totaling 27 points and 10 rebounds on one of the most efficient shooting performances in program history (13-14 FG) in an 89-90 win over Denver on Dec. 2.
Competing in just her second year of athletic eligibility, the Moraga native has plenty of time to challenge the program’s long-standing weekly award leaders in Erin Buescher and Lindsay Taylor.
DANAE MILLER JOINS 1,000 POINT CLUB
With 14 points in the 89-80 win over Denver on Dec. 2, Danae Miller became the 28th member of the Gaucho 1,000 point club. She is also seventh all-time at UCSB with 392 assists, currently averaging 3.5 per game this season (7th in Big West). The Carson native is third on the team in scoring (10.3 ppg) and second in three-pointers (12).
Megan Anderson has been one of the Big West’s top shooters this season, ranking fourth in the conference shooting a superb 47.1 percent from range on 3.8 attempts per game. She put on a brilliant shooting display in a 74-63 win at Pepperdine (5-7 3FG, 20 pts) on Nov. 20, resulting in UCSB’s first 20-point performance of the season and helping the Gauchos out to their first 2-1 start since 2008.
Fellow senior guard Taylor Mole has the highest three-point percentage (53.3%) on the team, having made 8-of-15 attempts from the outside.
LANE ON AWARD WATCH LIST
Junior center Ila Lane was named to the 2022 Lisa Leslie Award Watch List prior to the season, recognizing the top 20 centers in women’s college basketball. Lane opted-out of the 2020-21 season, but her freshman campaign in 2019-20 was one of the best in program history, leading the Big West as the only player averaging a double-double with 15.3 points and 13 rebounds per game.