Gauchos Begin Travel-Heavy January with Weekend Series in Fullerton

Danae Miller (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Danae Miller (Photo by Jeff Liang)
• The Schedule
Friday, Jan. 1, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. PT
UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Fullerton
The Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-Time Record vs. the Anteaters: 58-27
Last Meeting: January 25, 2020: UCSB 75, at Cal State Fullerton 66
TV: Big West TV
 
Saturday, Jan. 2, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. PT
TV: Big West TV
 
• The Gaucho Review: Week Three
G5: UC Irvine 64, UCSB 60: Senior point guard Danae Miller led UCSB with 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting and junior transfer Taylor Mole scored 15 points in her debut, but a UC Irvine team led by Kayla Williams' 21 points proved too much to handle on the opening night of Big West Conference play.
 
G6: UC Irvine 69, UCSB 56: UCSB was outscored 21-10 in the third quarter by UC Irvine, extending a five-point halftime lead for the visitors as they swept the opening series of Big West play with the Gauchos. Irvine's 13-5 run in the second quarter and an 11-0 run in the third period proved costly for UCSB, as it remained winless on the season and in conference play.
 
• Scouting the Opposition: Cal State Fullerton
The Titans are winless on the season with three games played, having lost at UCLA and against UNLV and San Diego at home. The program has been on pause since Dec. 17, leading to the cancellation of their final non-conference matchup against Pepperdine. In those three games, Fullerton has averaged 58.7 points per game, led by junior guard/forward Amiee Book with 16.7 points per game. Senior forward Joy Krupa brings down 11 boards per contest for the Titans, who split the season series with the Gauchos in the 2019/20 campaign.
 
• 2019-20 in Review
A challenging non-conference slate did well in preparing the Gauchos for Big West play, as they turned a 4-6 start into a 9-7 finish thanks to five wins in the final six games, including a sweep of CSUN and a Danae Miller buzzer-beater in the regular season finale at Hawai'i. Freshman Ila Lane, senior Coco Miller, and junior Danae Miller were the stars of the show in a season that would abruptly end without the Gauchos having played a game as the second seed in the Big West Tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
• Respected Among Our Peers
If the Big West Coaches Poll released on Nov. 10 is anything to go by, UCSB will be a contender for the league crown in the 2020-21 season. The blue and gold was picked to finish third in the conference, finishing nine points back of second-placed UC Irvine and 22 behind four-time defending champions UC Davis. The Gauchos finished fourth in the media poll, behind Davis, Irvine, and Hawai'i. 
 
In terms of individual recognition, senior point guard Danae Miller added a selection to the Preseason Big West Women's Basketball All-Conference First Team to her ever-growing list of accolades, after earning selection to the All-Big West Honorable Mention list at the conclusion of the previous season and to the Second Team the year before that.
 
• ESPN3 Has Arrived at the Thunderdome
This season, UCSB Athletics and Fall Productions are working together to begin a new chapter in delivering high-quality broadcasts to fans. Each of the Gauchos' eight Big West Conference home games will be streamed on ESPN3, beginning with UCSB's back-to-back conference-opening series against UC Irvine on Dec. 27 and 28. UCSB's away matchups at UC San Diego and CSU Bakersfield will also be aired on ESPN3. The TV schedule is subject to change and updates will be communicated on UCSBGauchos.com.
 
• The Class of 2020
Freshman guards Alyssa Marin and Anya Choice are the newest Gauchos on the block. Marin holds the record for most three-pointers made in a single season at Camarillo High and was named Camarillo Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Ventura County Player of the Year, and Ventura County Star Player of the Year following the 2018-19 season. Hailing from Cardinal Newman HS in Santa Rosa, Calif., Choice was the 2019 North Bay League MVP and San Francisco Chronicle North Bay Player of the Year in 2018-19, and was the Chronicle's Girls Player of the Year in 2019-20.
 
• Transfer Time
On Dec. 16, the NCAA Division I Council granted a blanket waiver allowing all tranfer student-athletes to compete immediately. The decision will allow San Jose State transfer Megan Anderson and Colorado State transfer Taylor Mole to suit up for the Gauchos this season, pending the conclusion of fall quarter. Anderson, a Fresno native, started in every game over the past two seasons for the Spartans, averaging 8.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 0.8 steals in a team-leading 31.7 minutes per game in her most recent campaign. Mole averaged 1.6 points and 1.1 rebounds per game in her two seasons with the Rams. Mole set career-highs in points (12), shooting (4-4 3PT, 4-8 FG), blocks (2), and minutes (28) over the course of the 2019-20 season.