Gottlieb, Gauchos gobble up Warriors

Lindsay Gottlieb had her first taste of Gaucho basketball on Wednesday, leading the UCSB women’s team from the Thunderdome sidelines in a 65-48 exhibition win over Westmont.

“It was fantastic!” Gottlieb said of her first game at the Gauchos’ helm after 20 years of Mark French rule. “The Gaucho atmosphere was what I really wanted to experience.”

The first-year head coach was an assistant coach at Cal for the past three seasons and takes over a team that went 23-8 under French, who stepped down with a career record of 415-192 and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances.

Nearly a thousand fans showed up for Gottlieb’s debut and were decidedly one sided in favor of the Gauchos. More than a few of them were worried when UCSB sputtered into halftime facing a one-point deficit to the NAIA school.

For the Warriors, who have only two seniors on their roster, it’s the second Division I school that the small liberal arts college from Montecito has challenged in the last week. On Friday, Westmont battled an NCAA Tournament team in Pepperdine during the first half, taking an early lead before getting to halftime down just four.

But in both contests, the Warriors were worn down in the second half.

UCSB looked like a completely different team after the break, starting the half on a 9-0 run and extending that to a 23-7 advantage for a 52-37 lead.  

“It must have been a good halftime speech,” joked Gottlieb before turning serious. “I think it was more about what we were doing to them than them not playing well.” 

She cited better defense, better shots and fewer turnovers on the Gauchos’ behalf as reasons for the complete turnaround. UCSB outscored the Warriors 36-18 in the half.

“I think everyone was thinking too much,” said Jenna Green of the early going, saying the players are still adjusting to Gottlieb’s new system.

Green, a 6’4″ sixth-year senior and former All-Big West player, is being cautious returning from a back injury that ended her season in December last year. She’s slowly making her way back, coming off the bench to score six points in 19 minutes of game time.

Kat Suderman and Lauren Pederson were Wednesday’s stars. Suderman scored 15 points in only 19 minutes on the floor. Pederson ran the point and did a little bit of everything, scoring 11 points with seven assists and four steals. She also hit the Gauchos’ lone long ball of the night.

Instead, the Gauchos dominated the paint against the smaller Warriors, getting countless layups on drives and dumps to post players downlow. As a result, UCSB shot a stellar 54.9 percent from the floor on the night (nearly 59 percent in the second half)

“Exhibition’s are really for a learning experience,” said Gottlieb, who played freshman Emilie Johnson more than anyone else. “I think it’s great for her to get those minutes.”

UCSB has one more exhibition against Westmont’s conference-foe Vangaurd on Tuesday before starting the regular season at the University of San Diego.

Junior Jessica Case had a near-perfect shooting night for Westmont. The guard made four-of-five field goals, a three-pointer and both of her free throws for 11 points. Amber Stevens, a Dos Pueblos grad, had a steady night, scoring 10 points and dishing out six assists. 

The Warriors start their season on Friday at home vs. William Jessup.


  1. Great article, love the website!

    Just a minor correction re: Lindsay Gottlieb:


    Lindsay was an assistant at Cal for 2 seasons, but last year she was the Associate Head Coach.