UCSB will host its inaugural basketball media preview luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion on the beach in Santa Barbara. The event will be open to the public and the media, and food will be available.

“We are very excited about beginning a new era in women’s basketball at UCSB, but really, we are excited about both programs,” Athletics Director Mark Massari said. “This will be a great opportunity for us to make the teams accessible to the public, as well as the media, giving everyone a chance to see why we are so excited.”

The players and coaches will take part in a meet-and-greet with the public and media, as well as a news conference.

The UCSB women’s team, which won the Big West regular season and tournament titles in 2007-08, will be under the guidance of first-year head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. The Gauchos, who went 23-8 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2008 — their 13th consecutive postseason appearance — will return a number of key players, including two-time All-Big West center Jenna Green, a redshirt in 2007-08.

“Since my arrival at UCSB, I’ve learned very quickly that this is a community that embraces Gaucho basketball,” Gottlieb said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to join with Bob Williams, Mark Massari and our other Gaucho supporters to talk about the upcoming season. There is a palpable excitement surrounding UCSB athletics, and this event is a terrific way to showcase both the men’s and women’s basketball program.”

The Gaucho men’s squad won the Big West regular season championship in 2007-08 and in the process set a school record for wins in a season as they finished 23-9. UCSB, which returns two All-Big West players in senior forward Chris Devine and junior guard James Powell, advanced to the National Invitation Tournament following the year.

“This is a very good opportunity to take the Gauchos to the community instead of the community coming to us,” said men’s head coach Bob Williams, who will enter his 11th year in 2008-09. “We have great young people in both programs, and this event will let us showcase them for the public and the media.”

The UCSB women’s team will play its first exhibition game the night before the luncheon when it plays Westmont College at 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome. The Gauchos will also host Vanguard College in an exhibition at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 before opening the regular season at 2 p.m. Nov. 16 at home against the University of San Diego.

The men’s team plays its only exhibition game at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 against Cal State Dominguez Hills in the Thunderdome. The Gauchos open regular season play at home at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 when they host Cal State Los Angeles.

Click here for ticket information for all UCSB basketball games or call the Athletics Ticket Office at 805.893.UCSB.

Bill Mahoney is UCSB‘s assistant athletics director of media relations.