It’s good to be home for the holidays, and nobody could be happier than the UCSB women’s basketball team after dropping its first two games of the season for the first time in 13 years. The Gauchos (0-2 overall) play host for the first time this season when Richmond comes to the Thunderdome tonight at 7.
The Gauchos have struggled lately, dropping their first two games but look to rebound tonight against the Spiders (1-2 overall). Santa Barbara will have to overcome some shooting issues and a glaring lack of rebounding if it expects to succeed.
“One of the difficult things for us is that we’re at a stretch in our schedule with lots of games and little time for practice,” Head Coach Mark French said. “Do we work on the things we need to work on in practice, or do we spend more time scouting our opponents?”
The key matchup for the night will be at the power forward position where Santa Barbara’s sophomore forward/center Jenna Green will take on junior forward Christina Campion of the Spiders – both Green and Campion lead their respective teams with Campion averaging 14.3 points per game and Green averaging 18.
“[Campion is] very versatile,” French said. “She plays very well inside and out.”
Richmond isn’t a fast breaking team like Santa Barbara’s previous two opponents – it brings a balanced offense and veteran leadership to the court. Santa Barbara will need to limit Campion and rebound the ball to stay ahead of the Spiders.
“They’ve got a good, well-balanced team,” French said. “They’ve got good speed and two veteran senior guards returning for them.”
Last season, Richmond made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 14 years and return 11 players. One of them is senior guard Araceli Gil. A Santa Barbara native, Gil graduated from Santa Barbara High School and will have an opportunity to play college basketball in front of family and friends for the first time in her career.
“[Gil is] the reason why they scheduled this game,” French said.
With the Thanksgiving holiday rapidly approaching on the calendar, the Gauchos are certainly happy to return home after a difficult road trip.
“All teams like to play at home,” French said. “I know our players are happy to be sleeping in their own beds and eating their own food.”