This opening basketball weekend there are going to be Cardinals getting their feathers ruffled, Golden Grizzlies getting mauled, Huskers getting their ears chucked and Gauchos tying up their opponents.
The #26 UCSB women’s basketball team is looking to start its season on a strong note with a game against Louisville tonight in the first round of the Time Warner Cable Classic in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The Cardinals are in a similar position as Santa Barbara, with both teams fielding a young backcourt, yet both having the luxury of veteran frontcourt players. The Cardinals are expected to start the 2000 Miss Indiana Basketball, freshman point guard Sara Nord. Nord averaged 22.5 points and 7.1 assists per game last year at Jeffersonville High, and is expected to take over the helm of the program, similar to Gaucho freshman Syretta Coleman’s anticipated presence in the lineup.
Louisville went 2-0 in its exhibition season after posting wins over the Reebok Lady Stars, 94-83, and crushing Tapiolan Honka, 81-37.
“We will jump straight into the fire this season when we open up on the road against UC Santa Barbara,” Cardinals Head Coach Martin Clapp said in a press release. “[Playing against UCSB] should be a great test for us.”
The Gauchos have been working out in practice this week, gearing up for the regular season by focusing more on how to improve themselves than on specific aspects of their opponents.
“[Wednesday] we went through some plays,” junior forward Kayte Christensen said. “It was basically a review. We went hard at practice and we’re pretty excited. We’ve been adding new plays and fixing things and tuning things up [for the start of the season].”
The players on the team were also satisfied with their exhibition performances overall, which included a 19-point win over the top Slovakian club team and a nail-biting three-point loss to China’s Olympic squad.
“Obviously, it’s nice we didn’t get blown out by China,” senior forward Nicole Greathouse said. “We had an opportunity to beat them … certain things didn’t happen.”
If the Gauchos dispose of Louisville, Santa Barbara will advance to face Nebraska or Oakland for a chance at winning the tournament. Nebraska will hope to meet UCSB in the finals and avenge last year’s 75-66 loss.
This year, Santa Barbara must face how it will handle the turmoil and adversity that has surrounded the team off the court. Notwithstanding the departures of guards Stacy Clinesmith and Tawne