A Look Back At The 2015-16 Women's Basketball Season
Big West Women's Basketball Weekly Release No. 20
The Rainbow Wahine may have ultimately lifted the hardware, but there were plenty of notable achievements around the league making 2015-16 a year to remember.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
CAL POLY (15-16, 7-9 BIG WEST)
For Openers: Cal Poly finished up with a 15-16 record in 2015-16, the first losing campaign for the club since going 13-19 in the 2007-08 season. The sub .500 record in Big West play was also the first the 2004-05 season (5-13).
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 went 3-27 this past season, missing the Big West Tournament with a 1-15 record in conference play.
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 (7-24, 5-11 BIG WEST)
For Openers: CSUN’s season finished in the first round of the Big West Tournament, falling short in its quest for three consecutive Big West Tournament titles.
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 (24-9, 12-4 BIG WEST)
For Openers: Long Beach State saw its season come to a close in the first round of the WNIT, falling on the road to Oregon by an 84-76 score. The loss ended a brilliant season by LBSU, as it registered the most wins in the league with 24.
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 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 made 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 led 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 wrapped up the final season of the Doug Oliver era at 4-27. Oliver announced his retirement from coaching earlier in the 2015-16 campaign.
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.
The Point: Senior guard Raelyn Cheung-Sutton had an oustanding final season in an ‘Eater uniform, averaging 8.4 points, 5.6 assists, 1.3 steals per game and shooting 83.5% from the foul line. Cheung-Sutton also went an impressive 40-for-40 from the free throw line in conference play and had the most assists in a game in the league this season with 12.
The Numbers Game...167: Cheung-Sutton led the league with 167 assists this season, the most by a player in the Big West since 2009-2010.
UC RIVERSIDE (23-9, 16-0 BIG WEST)
For Openers: UC Riverside had its incredible season come to an end in the first round of the WNIT, falling to Gonzaga, 88-54. Despite injury problems that whittled the roster down to seven for the last month-plus of the season, UCR became the first team since 2001-02 to go undefeated in conference play.
The All-Time Best: Senior guard Brittany Crain has scored 2,326 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 (46.0), three-point shooting percentage (36.6) and free throw shooting (77.2). Not surprisingly, UCR led the league in scoring at 77.8 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 had a solid first season under Bonnie Henrickson, going 12-20 and finishing 8-8 in conference play. UCSB’s improved play nabbed it the No. 5 seed in the Big West Tournament, its highest since the 2013 tourney.
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 the 2016 Big West Tournament title, its first Big West title since 1996. This was also the first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998 when the ‘Bows were a member of the WAC.
Coming On Strong: UH started the conference season just 3-3, but finished the season winning 11 of 12 on the way to the Tournament title. The lone loss during that stretch was on the road 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 32 games and averaging 10.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 26.7 minutes. King has done it all without being a big three-point threat. In fact King attempted three three-pointers in her last 14 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.