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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stacy’s Pursuing Degrees Former Mead High Basketball Star Finds Uc Santa Barbara ‘Awesome’

Stacy Clinesmith is having fun with the person on the paying end of her long-distance phone conversation.

“Let me look out my window,” Clinesmith says from her UC Santa Barbara dorm room.

“Oh, it’s 70 degrees out,” Clinesmith reports to her caller, who phoned from dank and dreary Spokane.

Weather aside - although it did come up more than once - the 1996 Mead High School grad and all-everything athlete couldn’t be happier with her decision to compete at UC Santa Barbara.

She’s been the Gauchos’ starting point guard from the get-go and she gets a chance to show off for the locals when UCSB visits University of Idaho Friday night.

“It’s so much different than anything I’ve ever done. It’s awesome down here. I love it,” said Clinesmith, who employs “awesome” as her adjective of choice for just about every occasion.

But when you’re a freshman in college, living in a Southern California beach community and playing hoops on a winning team, well, life is pretty awesome, dude.

Clinesmith arrived at Santa Barbara with an impressive resume (two-time Class AAA state tournament MVP, two-time Greater Spokane League MVP in basketball and soccer), but no starting job. It didn’t take long for that to change.

By the time UCSB opened its basketball season in November, Clinesmith had convinced Gauchos coach Mark French she could run the team. Former point guard Dio Aguinaldo had graduated and sophomore Sheila Frial wasn’t quite up to it.

“It was shocking. I never expected anything like this,” Clinesmith said.

The Gauchos enter Friday night’s Big West Conference game 13-5 overall with a 6-1 first-place Western Division record. Furthermore, UCSB leads the nation in scoring, averaging 85.2 points per game.

The Vandals are 9-10 and 4-3 in the Eastern Division, a record that ties them with Nevada and New Mexico State for second place.

Clinesmith has not let her new team down. She is averaging five assists per game and 12.1 points on 45-percent shooting. Her 38-of-85 shooting from 3-point range (45 percent) ranks her 10th in the nation.

And, at 70 degrees, the winter weather outside is far from frightful.

“It’s so awesome, it’s so beautiful here,” Clinesmith reiterated.

She said the choice to sign with Santa Barbara was a no-brainer. Washington State and Oregon were in the running, but one walk through the UCSB campus and a welcome from the team in October 1995, and she was sold.

“I just clicked with the team and the coaches. That was my main reason,” Clinesmith said.

“And the team did everything with us. On some of the recruiting trips, you don’t even see the other players. Here, they were with us the whole time.”

Clinesmith shares dorm space with Kristi Rohr, a new friend who’s also a freshman player on the basketball team. Clinesmith also has the comfort of an old friend, Carmel Lampson of Kennewick.

Former Spokane Stars, Clinesmith and Lampson have played with or against each other since eighth grade. Lampson, a 5-foot-9 guard is playing 7.6 minutes per game and is averaging 4.1 points.

And then there’s the topic of men.

Clinesmith’s special guy from Mead High, Steve Lowell, whose creativity had them dressing up as Christmas trees for the ‘95 winter formal, is no longer under the mistletoe.

Lowell plays football at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, about 45 minutes away from Santa Barbara.

Clinesmith said they’re still friends, but “there’s all sorts of surfer dudes right here. I check them out.”

Friday, Clinesmith’s fan club will shuttle down U.S. Highway 195 to Moscow, many on a chartered bus. The Mead girls team, off Friday night, plans on showing, too.

“I’ve heard some rumors (about the chartered bus),” Clinesmith said. “My mom (Nikki) keeps telling me about all these people. I’ve been waiting for this game since preseason conditioning.”

And of course, Clinesmith hopes her homecoming will be awesome.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: Cut in the Spokane edition

This sidebar appeared with the story: STACY CLINESMITH’S STATS FGM-FGA Pct. PPG 72-159 .453 12.1

FTM FTA Pct. 35 54 .648

3PM 3PA Pct. 38 85 .447

Assists: 90 (5.0 apg). Turnovers: 49 (2.7)

Cut in the Spokane edition

This sidebar appeared with the story: STACY CLINESMITH’S STATS FGM-FGA Pct. PPG 72-159 .453 12.1

FTM FTA Pct. 35 54 .648

3PM 3PA Pct. 38 85 .447

Assists: 90 (5.0 apg). Turnovers: 49 (2.7)

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