UC Davis Hosts Long Beach State In Early Conference Showdown
Big West Women's Basketball Weekly Release No. 10
An early showdown among the two top teams in the league is in the cards this week as Long Beach State travels north to take on UC Davis. The two clubs have the top records in the Big West at 10-6 and 11-4, respectively, and are a combined 3-0 in conference action after the opening week. ESPN3 will also broadcast its first women's hoops game of the season as Cal Poly visits UC Riverside Thursday.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
MUSTANGS/HIGHLANDERS BATTLE ON ESPN3
After a successful first weekend of conference play for Cal Poly and UC Riverside, the two will meet Thursday in the Inland Empire live on ESPN3. The Mustangs went 2-0 in the opening weekend, sweeping a pair of home games. The Highlanders got off to a slow start against UCI last week, but righted the ship for their 17th straight win in conference play.
Cal Poly at UC Riverside on ESPN3
RITTER TIES ‘EATER RECORD
UC Irvine’s Andee Ritter broke out of a shooting slump in a big way against UCR last week. The sophomore tied a single-game UCI record with seven threes on her way to a career-best tying 23-point effort. Ritter shot 50% from deep in the game (7-14), breaking out of a recent cool streak which saw her shoot just 26.1% (6-23) over the previous three games.
CASH AT THE STRIPE
Cal Poly junior Dynn Leaupepe has been automatic from the foul line this season, leading the Big West and ranking 13th in the NCAA with a 91.7% success rate. Leaupepe has hit 15 free throws in a row and has yet to miss more than once from the line in a game this season. Her current rate would be historic in the league annals as she is ahead of the single-season Big West record for free throw percentage. Selena Ho of former member Pacific shot 90.1% in the 2000-01 campaign.
Dani Nafekh is the latest in a long line of sharpshooters for UC Davis. The junior is shooting 47.4% from the field, while leading the Big West and ranking 26th in the NCAA in three-point shooting at 44.8%. Nafekh is also tied for 8th in the country in single-game threes, having hit eight from downtown in the win over San Diego State on December 2.
The two 2-0 squads entering the second round of conference have something in common, they’re tough on foes at home. UC Davis and Cal Poly each have six home wins to this point in the year, two more than any other club in the league.
NO REST FOR THE WEARY
Four Big West players stand above the rest when it comes to minutes, barely coming off the floor for their clubs. UC Riverside has three of those players as Réjane Verin leads the league in minutes per game (37.1), Simone DeCoud ranks third (36.3) and Lauren Holt ranks fourth (36.3). Ritter is second in minutes played per outing at 36.4. Verin (14), Ritter (24) and DeCoud (29) also all rank in the top 30 in minutes per game on the NCAA leaderboard.
STEP UP & KNOCK DOWN
Cal State Fullerton has made the free throw line a priority as the club ranks third in the league in free throws made (185) and second in three throws attempted (289).
UC Riverside senior Simone DeCoud became the 130th member of the Big West 1,000-point club this season, reaching the milestone in a home win over Grand Canyon.
Three more players could join DeCoud as Long Beach State senior Anna Kim (912) and Cal Poly senior Hannah Gilbert (935) should reach the list by season’s end. A player to keep an eye on is UC Riverside senior Réjane Verin (775) as she put up 544 points last year, her first with UCR after transferring from UNLV.
2.89 - Assist/Turnover ratio of LBSU's Anna Kim, best in the Big West and 17th in the NCAA.
11.1- League-leading rebounding average of CSUN's Channon Fluker, the lone player in the league averaging double-digit rebounds.
17- Consecutive conference wins by UC Riverside.
17.5 - Scoring average of UCD's Morgan Bertsch, tops in the Big West.
Follow Along All Season
Big West Rise Up Tour Begins On Jan. 12
The Big West Tour sponsored by Fox PrimeTicket and Coors Light returns for 2017, running January 12th through March 2nd. Over the course of the Tour, Big West representatives will make stops at the eight Big West campuses in California, giving fans opportunities to win prizes from the Big West spin wheel. The first stop is UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 12. The Big West Men's and Women's Basketball Tournament returns to Honda Center for the 2017 season, the event's 8th year at the Anaheim-based arena. The tournament runs March 9-11, with the women's first and second rounds March 7-8 at Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid and the women's semifinals and finals at Honda Center March 10-11. The entire men's tournament will be played at Honda Center March 9-11.