With Sunday’s win against UC Davis behind them, the UCSB women’s basketball team is now focusing on heading down the road to another Big West Championship.
After winning eight of their last 10, the Gauchos (12-10 overall, 5-2 in the Big West) have turned their season around and are currently sitting in striking territory at third place in the conference.
“We’re kind of gearing up for the stretch run right now,” Head Coach Mark French said. “I think the team’s energy is good. It was nice to get back in a positive note against Davis.”
The Gauchos have not played a whole lot on the road this season, but have posted a respectable 5-3 record, which includes losses to Pac-10 powerhouse UCLA and then-#1 Maryland.
“We’re not quite as road-likeable, but we’ve won some good games on the road,” French said. “We’re not worried about the road; I think we’re ready to play either way.
The Anteaters (6-17, 3-6 Big West) have been in the bottom half of the Big West standings all season, but in French’s opinion, the Gaucho’s opponents are far less important than how his players compete against them.
“I would hope that the team would focus on what we need to do well, and worry about the Gauchos,” French said. “We don’t want to look at the other teams’ records; we want to focus on ourselves.”
French said that the Gauchos have three things that they are trying to improve on at this point in the season: their competitiveness, rebounding and offensive execution. Rebounding has been a key theme for the Gauchos all season, and has certainly improved as of late. As far as offense, the deciding factor has been the ability of UCSB players to move the ball effectively; if they get open looks, the shots will fall. Also, the mentality of the team is certainly going to be key as they grind their way through Big West competition.
“I’d like to see us improve in those three areas, and have a really competitive desire or killer instinct, so to speak. I don’t think we gave 40 minutes of competition against Stanford, and we are very worried about that,” French said. “When we get a lead against a team, I don’t want our team to be content with just leading.”
Tip-off for tomorrow night’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Bren Events Center at Irvine.