It’s only the third game of the year for the UCSB women’s basketball team, but for the Gauchos, it already feels like tournament time.

#18 Santa Barbara travels to Lubbock, Texas today to play #6 Texas Tech in the semifinals of the Preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament at 7 p.m. at United Spirit Arena. The game is a rematch of last year’s second-round NCAA Tournament – a game in which UCSB fell 72-68 at Texas Tech.

“We’re very excited to prepare for them and get another shot at them,” senior forward Lisa Willett said.

The Gauchos currently stand at 2-0 for the year after two first-round home wins in the Preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament. Santa Barbara easily disposed of San Diego 82-44 on Nov. 14 and defeated #19 Utah 52-44 Monday night.

Junior forward Kristen Mann leads the Gauchos into Texas, averaging a team-high 13 points and 6.5 rebounds through the first two games of the year. Willett has provided an early spark in both tournament games. Willett is averaging 12 points and four rebounds per game.

Santa Barbara has also received solid performances from a few of their newcomers. Freshman forward Jenna Green is averaging eight points and five rebounds per game while receiving the start in both tournament games. Junior forward Autumn Nichols scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds in her first game as a Gaucho.

Senior guard April McDivitt has provided a spark as point guard for UCSB. The transfer from Tennessee is averaging 5.5 points, four assists and two steals per contest.

Texas Tech is led by senior forward Jia Perkins, who is averaging 18.5 points and eight rebounds in two games this year. Perkins torched the Gauchos for 23 points in last year’s matchup.

“We know their personnel real well. There hasn’t been any huge changes, so I think we know what to expect,” UCSB Head Coach Mark French said.

Freshman guard Alesha Robertson has done well to start her Red Raiders career, averaging 12 points and four rebounds per game. Texas Tech advanced to the semifinals of the WNIT with a 88-47 win over Western Kentucky University on Sunday.

“All the players are pretty stoked to play them and I’m sure they’ll be fired as well,” Mann said.

Senior center Lindsay Taylor finished with 26 points and nine rebounds in last year’s contest, but was overshadowed by four different Red Raiders scoring in double digits.

“Mentally we need to be prepared. Our veteran players need to help our younger players with staying level-headed and cool,” French said. “There’s going to be 14,000 people there. It’s really important to stay focused during a run and know that we are going to have some runs too.”

The winner of the UCSB-Texas Tech matchup will face either #15 Rutgers or University of Michigan on Sunday, Nov. 23 in the WNIT championship game.