UCSB adds two Cal transfers, prep star

The two-time defending Big West champion UCSB women’s basketball team announced on Tuesday that it has added two transfers to its squad in addition to welcoming another player that will be in uniform this upcoming season.

Transferring to UCSB from Cal’s women’s basketball team – a Sweet 16 team that finished the 2008-09 season ranked No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today poll – is guard/forward Kelsey Adrian and guard Angelei Aguirre. Both players will be forced to sit out the 2009-10 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but will be eligible for the 2010-11 seasons.

Adding depth to the Gauchos’ backcourt for this upcoming season will be Stefanie Corgel, a point guard who just completed her prep career at Marlborough High in Los Angeles.

“Adding Stef, Kelsey and Angelei to our Gaucho family this spring is an exciting development for our women’s basketball program and the larger UCSB community,” UCSB head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “These three young women embody what Gaucho athletics is all about: they are hard-working and talented both on the court and in the classroom, each has a contagious energy about her, and they are winners. I believe that they will be key pieces to the championship puzzle we are looking to maintain and build upon and I am so looking forward to coaching all of them.”

Gottlieb already has experience with Adrian and Aguirre, serving as Cal’s Associate Head Coach prior to her appointment as UCSB’s head coach. Gottlieb helped recruit both players to Cal and coached Adrian before taking over UCSB’s program.

Last season Adrian, who stands 6-foot-1, played in 32 games, starting 10 of them, and averaged 3.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. As a starter the Langley, British Columbia native averaged 5.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Adrian has been a member of Canada’s senior national team since she was 16 and was also a member of Canada’s junior national team. When Adrian takes the court in 2010-11, she will be a junior.

“I’ve known Kelsey for years, and I’ve always been impressed by her versatility, mobility, and dedication,” Gottlieb said. “She is long and athletic, and will be able to play multiple positions for us. She thrives in a movement offense, and will help our ability to push the tempo and create mismatches for opponents. Her experiences with the Canadian National Team and in the Pac-10 will help allow her to be one of those players that raises the level of those around her.”

Aguirre, the daughter of former NBA player Mark Aguirre, who played with three teams spanning a 13-year career, saw action in 18 games for the Bears last season. The 5-foot-11 guard from Dallas, Texas, averaged 0.5 points and 0.7 rebounds per game in her freshman season. When she is eligible to play for the Gauchos, Aguirre will be a sophomore.

“Amongst many things that stood out to me from the first time I met Angelei, I was struck by how she talks about winning first and foremost,” Gottlieb said. “She has always been a part of successful teams, and she will add a great competitive spirit to our squad. Angelei is athletic and long, and has proven that she can defend at any level. I also believe she has a knack for scoring will be able to utilize her ability to get to the basket as well as her tough mid-range game.”

Corgel will be a freshman this season, adding depth to the point guard position that includes All-Big West Freshman Team player Emilie Johnson and fellow freshmen Bree Richardson. Corgel, a 5-foot-8 guard from Manhattan Beach, averaged 11.2 points and 2.1 assists per game last season at Marlborough High, finishing second on her team in each category.  She also led the team with 1.7 steals per game.

“Stef has leadership qualities that you can’t teach,” Gottlieb said. “She is a pure point guard who can run a team and knock down shots. Her work ethic is second to none.”

What further excites Gottlieb about these three new additions to the Gauchos are the fact that UCSB’s women’s basketball history is rich with success of transfers. Recently, April McDivitt led the 2004 team to the Sweet 16 and Lauren Pedersen was named the Big West Tournament’s MVP while leading the 2008-09 team in points, steals and assists.

“The history of our program shows that transfers can become a key factor in putting together a championship-level team,” Gottlieb said. “Kelsey and Angelei will not be in uniform until the 2010-11 season, but their presence in practice and with the team will make an immediate impact.”