Currently enjoying a season-high four game winning streak, the UCSB women’s basketball team’s 4-1 Big West record is its best start through five conference games since going 5-0 in back-to-back seasons in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Involved in a three-way tie for first place with Long Beach State and UC Riverside, the Gauchos are 9-9 overall and will travel to Cal State Northridge for their first road game since Jan. 7 at Cal State Fullerton, in which a 56-49 victory began their streak.
CSUN, currently tied with UC Irvine for seventh, is hoping to end its four game skid. Sitting at 8-11 and 1-4 in conference play, the Matadors’ matchup versus UCSB will be the second of their four game home stand.
There is a current total of three Gauchos that average 10 points per game. One of them is redshirt junior forward Drew Edelman, who serves as the team’s focal point in the frontcourt.
Leading the Big West in field goal percentage with a 57.6 overall average, and has been even more efficient during UCSB’s conference schedule, making a huge improvement to 65.1 percent. Helping create high percentage shots has been her ability to rebound the ball as well. During conference play, she is tied for third in rebounds per game at 8.4.
Edelman has increased her endurance to be able to produce when called upon, ranking second in minutes per game with a 37.4 average during the conference slate.
Santa Barbara’s post player is coming off her highest point total in a conference game thus far of 19 points. Over the course of both the non-conference and conference schedules combined, Edelman leads the team in games with at least 10 points at 11.
It can be expected that Edelman will face one of her toughest matchups in the paint this Wednesday as she will battle it out with sophomore center Channon Fluker.
After an exceptional freshman season, in which she was named the Big West Freshman of the Year and became the first rookie to be a First Team All-Big West selection since 2002, Fluker remains within the top ranks of post players in the conference.
Averaging 15.2 points and 10 rebounds per game, Fluker is currently the only player in the Big West to average a double-double in any statistical category. Her rebounds per game average ranks 31st in the nation. Her 206 total rebounds is the most in league play so far this season and has helped the Matadors gain their conference leading average of 42.6 rebounds per game.
She is a proven rim protector, owning a conference leading 2.2 blocks per game average. Her current total of 42 blocks, which leads all Big West players, has already surpassed her total of 35 in her first year.
Although CSUN was swept in both of its games against the Gauchos last season, Fluker made her presence felt in game two of the series with a 31-point performance.
It is no secret that the Matadors’ gameplan revolves around Fluker, so the Gauchos will look to contain her presence in the interior, but still must remain aware of the three-point shooting of redshirt junior guard Serafina Maulupe. Maulupe’s 40.5 three-point percentage ranks sixth in the Big West, while 47 three-point makes is second.
Thus far, UCSB has been consistent with its perimeter defense, ranking third overall in three-point defense at 28.7 percent. They also are second in scoring defense, allowing 63.1 points per game.
UCSB and Cal State Northridge will face each this Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.