Hawai'i Dances In Los Angeles
Links associated with this release:
2016 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Bracket
Big West Basketball Weekly Release No. 19
Making its first NCAA appearance since 1998, Hawai'i will head to Los Angeles to take on UCLA in first round NCAA action Saturday.
The Big West Tournament champion Rainbow Wahine (21-10) were given the 14 seed in the Bridgeport Region, taking on the third-seeded Bruins Saturday at 3:30pm live on ESPN2. The winner of that matchup takes on the winner of the No. 6 seed South Florida and No. 11 seed Colorado State Monday in Los Angeles at Pauly Pavilion.
UH earned access to the NCAAs after winning the league tourney last weekend, taking down UC Davis in the final by a 78-59 score. The 'Bows were the No. 2 seed in the Big West Tournament, winning its first league crown since 1996.
No. 3 UCLA earned an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament after falling in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game. The Bruins are 24-8 on the season, their first 20-win campaign since 2012-13.
All 64 teams will be fighting to earn spots in the Final Four held in Indianapolis April 3. The national championship game will be April 5 live on ESPN.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
CAL POLY (15-16, 7-9 BIG WEST)
For Openers: Cal Poly secured the No. 6 seed in the Big West Tournament, but fell in the quarterfinals to No. 3 Long Beach State, 54-52, thanks to buzzer-beating shot. The Mustangs topped No. 7 CSUN in the first round, 72-51.
Super Dynn: Sophomore guard Dynn Leaupepe spent most of the season as a reserve, but her last nine games of the season came in a starting role. Leaupepe averaged 16.2 points per game as a starter, connecting on at least two three-pointers in four of those nine games.
Patrol The Paint: Junior forward Hannah Gilbert made a big leap in her junior season, averaging 12.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Gilbert also shot 54.0% from the floor, the second-best accuracy mark in the Big West.
The Numbers Game...37.3: Cal Poly was one of the top defensive teams in the Big West, ranking second in the conference in opponents’ shooting percentage at 37.3%.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (3-27, 1-15 BIG WEST)
For Openers: Cal State Fullerton wrapped up its season last weekend, losing out on the No. 8 seed in the Big West Tournament due to a coin flip tiebreaker.
What A Debut: Freshman forward Michelle Berry had a tremendous rookie season for the Titans, averaging 14.5 points and 9.1 rebounds. Berry started her freshman season with a 38-point explosion against Portland State, the second-highest scoring output by a Big West player this season. Berry is also tied atop the Big West with 12 double-doubles.
Do It All Sami: Junior guard Samantha Logan did just about a bit of everything for CSF this season, averaging 8.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists this season. Logan also filled it up beyond the arc, tying for second in the league in three-pointers made with 67.
The Numbers Game...6.6, 21.2: Cal State Fullerton leads the Big West in three-pointers made per game (6.6) and attempted per game (21.2).
CSUN (7-25, 5-11 BIG WEST)
For Openers: No. 7 CSUN came up short in its quest for a three-peat, falling in the first round to No. 6 Cal Poly, 72-51.
Beast In The Paint: Freshman center Channon Fluker had a standout rookie season, averaging 13.8 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. She tied for the top spot in double-doubles with 12.
Second Chances: Thanks in large part to Fluker, the Matadors were the best team in the Big West in offensive rebounding, averaging 13.7 per game. The team was even better in conference play, averaging a conference best 14.1 offensive boards per game.
The Numbers Game...80.0%: Senior forward Jasmine Johnson shot a team-best 80% from the foul line, but is just short of qualifying for the league leaderboard.
LONG BEACH STATE (24-8, 12-4 BIG WEST)
For Openers: Long Beach State lost in the Big West Tournament semifinals to eventual champion Hawai’i, 76-60. The Beach will continue their season in the WNIT, facing off against Oregon Thursday.
First Time Since: The Beach that the program hasn’t seen in a while. The club has won 20 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1990-92. The 49ers also have reached double digit wins in conference play for the first time since 2005-06, while their 12 league wins are the most since they won 13 in 2004-05.
Postseason Worthy: LBSU is making its third postseason appearance in the last four years. The last time the club made the postseason prior to this run was the 2000 WNIT.
The Numbers Game...20: Junior guard Raven Benton attemped 20 free throws in the season finale against CSUN, just five three throw attempts shy of the Big West single game record.
UC DAVIS (19-13, 10-6 BIG WEST)
For Openers: UC Davis advanced to the Big West Tournament championship game where it fell to Hawai’i, 78-59. The Aggies advanced to the final for the fourth time in nine appearances at the league tournament.
What A Debut: Redshirt freshman Morgan Bertsch showed that she will be a force in the Big West in years to come, averaging 13.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and shooting 58.2% from the floor. Bertsch recorded 10 20+ point games in her first season with the Aggies, including a school conference tourney record-tying 26 point effort against UC Santa Barbara. For her efforts Bertsch was named second team All-Big West and to the All-Freshman team.
Added Dimension: Senior forward Celia Marfone leads the Big West in three-point field goal percentage at 42.2% (43-102), the lone player in the league at the 40% mark. Marfone had previously not connected on better than 33.3% from three in any of her first three seasons, and had a total of 37 made threes entering the 2015-16 campaign.
The Numbers Game...10, 12: UC Davis’ 10 league wins are its most since 2011, while its 19 wins were the most for the club since 2011.
UC IRVINE (4-27, 1-15 BIG WEST)
For Openers: UC Irvine played its first round game at home in the Bren Center, but fell to No. 5 UC Santa Barbara, 62-43.
Final Go-Round: Junior forward Mokun Fajemisin will forgo her final season, making 2015-16 her swansong with the ‘Eaters. Fajemisin leads the Big West in blocks (2.0) is also averaging 9.2 points and 7.9 rebounds.
Still Perfect: Senior guard Raelyn Cheung-Sutton had her strong of 44 consecutive free throws snapped, included in that was an impressive 40-for-40 from the line in conference play. Overall, Cheung-Sutton has connected on 83.5% from the foul line, ranking fourth in the Big West.
The Numbers Game...1995: UC Irvine’s lone Big West Tournament title came in 1995.
UC RIVERSIDE (23-8, 16-0 BIG WEST)
For Openers: UC Riverside lost in the Big West semifinals to UC Davis by an 81-72 score, the first time the Highlanders had dropped a game to a Big West opponent this season. The regular season champions earned the automatic berth into the WNIT, going on the road to face Gonzaga in first round action Thursday.
The All-Time Best: Senior guard Brittany Crain has scored 2,313 points in her career, the most in UCR program history and the fourth-most in Big West history. Crain reaching the top five is notable since no Big West player has reached the top five scorers in league history since 2000. She is also just the fourth player in conference history to record at least 2,200 career points.
Shoooooter: The Highlanders are the league’s top shooting team, leading the Big West in field goal percentage (46.4), three-point shooting percentage (37.0) and free throw shooting (77.3). Not surprisingly, UCR led the league in scoring at 78.6 points per game.
The Numbers Game...23: UC Riverside’s 23 wins are the most for the program in its DI era.
UC SANTA BARBARA (12-20, 8-8 BIG WEST)
For Openers: UC Santa Barbara entered the Tournament as the No. 5 seed, knocking off No. 8 UC Irvine, 62-43, before falling to No. 4 UC Davis, 71-67, in the quarterfinals.
Jazzy Off The Bench: Senior guard Jasmine Ware was the top reserve for UCSB this season, averaging 10.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and shooting 45.1% from the floor over her 32 games. Ware was also the top free throw shooter on the squad, knocking down 82.4% of her attempts from the foul line.
UCSB-“D”: The Gauchos re-established themselves as a tough defensive outfit, ranking third in the Big West in points allowed per game (62.8). The team was even better in conference play, ranking second in the league allowing just 61.8 points per game.
The Numbers Game...8: UC Santa Barbara’s eight wins in conference play are the most for the club since 2012-13 (11).
HAWAI'I (21-10, 12-4 BIG WEST)
For Openers: Hawai’i won its first Big West title since 1996, defeating UC Davis in the Tournament final by a 78-59 score. The ‘Bows also claimed their first league tournament crown since rejoining the league four years ago.
Coming On Strong: UH started the conference season just 3-3, but has turned it on since then having won 11 of 12. The lone loss during that stretch was a road loss to regular season champion UC Riverside on February 27.
Swiss Army King: Senior guard/forward Destiny King has done it all for the Rainbow Wahine, starting all 31 games and averaging 10.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 26.6 minutes. King has done it all without being a big three-point threat. In fact King has attempted one three-pointer in her last 13 games.
The Numbers Game...4: The Rainbow Wahine have won at least 10 games in Big West play in each of the four seasons since their return to the league.