sIt’s becoming routine around these parts.
Another year has passed, and with it another dominant display of women’s basketball at UCSB has gone largely unnoticed: ho-hum.
Quietly, Santa Barbara has positioned itself nicely to win its 10th consecutive Big West regular season title, and, quietly, the student body has cared less. Well, that’s not entirely true. We did, in fact, care even less about the men’s team.
The UCSB women have outdrawn the men at the Thunderdome by a count of 1517 fans per game to the men’s 1354 so far this season. With the UCSB men’s home slate completed and the women having just two remaining home games, the women will likely outdraw the men.
It’s reassuring to see that fans don’t just care – if they care at all – about dunks and flash. Refreshingly, all we care about is wins and losses.
Sure, when the men’s soccer team went deep into the NCAA’s, we scurried to the nearest bandwagon station in record numbers. But when the Big West title was on the line, a meager 1110 of us braved the hike to Harder Stadium. Considering that there are 19,800 students at UCSB… well, I’ll let you be the judge.
This weekend, another UCSB team will be tested of its worthiness to be named conference champions. If the stars are aligned – meaning UCSB and Long Beach both win Thursday – the Gaucho women’s basketball team will have a showdown with LBSU to decide the regular season title and the number one seed in the upcoming Big West Tournament.
If we’re just getting just plain bored with the wild successes of the women’s basketball team, you’ll have to forgive us – we suffer from forgetfulness. I’ll now remind everyone of what makes this team special:
– The recovery the team has made in a season cursed with adversity. The Gauchos uncharacteristically got off on the wrong foot, going 2-4 in their first six against some of the top teams in the nation, including Michigan, Purdue, Arizona and top-ranked Louisiana State.
– Four important Gauchos, sophomore center Jenna Green, junior guard Courtney Young, freshman guard Ana Onaindia and junior forward Hillary Jager. Have all suffered season-ending injuries – not to mention senior Brandy Richardson’s ankle injury that has her out indefinitely. The Gauchos, however, still remain 14-2 in the Big West.
– Kristen Mann. The senior all-everything is averaging nearly one double-double at 20 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, and is doing everything expected of an All-American candidate.
– They’ve freakin’ outdrawn the men’s team. How many women’s college basketball teams can say that? I’d bet you could count them on your fingers.