Finals Make For Light Week
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10-11 WBB Release 5
Finals Make For Light Week
This week's light schedule reflects the heavy workload of the student-athletes as they prepare for their finals. Only two teams, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State play multiple contests, and UC Irvine, coming off a three-game week, is the lone conference team taking the entire week off. While most schools are staying close to home, the Mustangs and Aggies are packing their bags for some winter wonderland. On Sunday, Dec. 12 Cal Poly battles Minnesota at noon and UC Davis takes on Kansas State for a 5:00 p.m. tipoff.
Reuniting With The Pyramid
Playing eight of their first nine contests away from the familiar confines of The Walter Pyramid, the Long Beach State 49ers (1-8) make a brief stop home to host San Diego Wednesday evening. Following the showdown with the Toreros, the 49ers visit California on Sunday before beginning a four-game homestand next week.
The Anteaters, 5-3 overall, are off to the program's best start since a 6-2 beginning to the 2002-03 season. UC Irvine opened the 2010-11 season dropping its first three contests, but since has strung together a conference-best five straight victories, including four on its home court - The Bren Events Center. Last season it took UC Irvine, who concluded the year with an overall mark of 9-21, 18 games before capturing its fifth win. Under the guidance of third-year head coach Molly Goodenbour, UC Irvine is on pace to crack the double-digit win threshold, a feat it hasn't accomplished since tallying a 17-12 record in 2002-03. The Anteaters are idle this week due to finals, but return to the court on Monday, Dec. 13 with a matchup at Seattle.
Win After Win After Win
UC Davis, who entered the 2010-11 season with an eight-game home win streak, has extended its success at The Pavilion to 12 after a 71-62 win over Saint Mary's last week. The Aggies recorded its last home loss back on Dec. 29, 2009, when they fell to Kansas State, 73-59. The Aggies tackle a four-game road trip before returning home to host Santa Clara on Dec. 27, so the nation's 14th-best streak will be put on hold until after the holiday.
The Aggies aren't just winning at home this season, in fact they have also recorded two road victories to own a league-best 6-1 mark. Their only loss this season was a 65-49 defeat to then-No. 15 UCLA. UC Davis is currently ranked in the collegeinsider.com Mid-Major poll.
Swatting The Competition
Nothing gets past UC Santa Barbara's senior forward/center Mekia Valentine. Averaging 4.29 blocks per game through the first three weeks of the season, Valentine ranks fifth in the nation in blocked shots. She is also tied for second in most blocks in a single game with 10 swats. Valentine reached that feat on Nov. 28 against Northern Colorado and she did so in style, posting the Gaucho's first-ever triple double with 15 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks.
A season ago, Valentine averaged 4.0 blocks per game and finished the year with 120 total blocks to rank fourth all-time in the Big West season records. The Greensboro, N.C., native has tallied 30 blocks so far this season to increase her conference career total to 150. She needs just 41 more blocks to crack the league's career top 10.
Maly-Karros Seeing Double
Not only does UC Irvine's Mikah Maly-Karros pace the Big West Conference with five double-doubles on the season, she is averaging a double-double for the season. The junior forward is averaging 19.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per contest and leads the league in both respective categories. Stephanie Duda was the last UC Irvine player to average a double-double through most of the season. Unfortunately in the final game of the 2007-08 season she fell short of the double-double and concluded the year with 12.2 points and 9.9 rebounds.
Looking For Win Number One
Cal State Northridge, playing its first season under the tutelage of head coach Jason Flowers, owns a 0-9 record after one month of play. The Matadors have lost their nine games by an average of 13.9 points. Their closest outing was a six-point loss to Chattanooga in the second game of their home tournament - Woodland Hills Holiday Inn Classic. Next up for the Matadors is a home contest against Washington on Wednesday, December 8.
Mimnaugh Looking To Join Elite Club
Cal Poly Head Coach Faith Mimnaugh is just 11 conference wins away from reaching 100 Big West victories, a feat only four other league coaches have accomplished. The Mustangs, who return a majority of their players from 2009-10, tallied 11 conference wins last season, making the magic number within reach this season.
A handful of players are eyeing the elite list and should reach the milestone this season. The newest member, and first of the 2010-11 season, is UC Davis' Paige Mintun. Mintun drained 13 points in the Aggies' win over Saint Mary's last week to surpass the 1,000th-point mark. She currently owns 1,001 career points, 983 of which occurred during her time competing in the Big West Conference. Seventeen more points makes her the 103rd Big West player to reach 1,000 points.
Megan Richardson, from Cal State Fullerton, is the second closest to the 1,000-point mark with 925 points. Teammates Lyndsey Grove and Lauren Chow are also closing in on the milestone with 821 and 776 points, respectively. Headlining UC Riverside's offense, Brittany Waddell owns an 828-point tally. Cal Poly's Kristina Santiago was the only Big West player to enter the year as a member of the 1,000-point club, but suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of the season.
CSF's Chow Shooting Her Way Into The Record Books
Senior guard Lauren Chow is inching her way into the Big West annals with her impressive three-point shooting. Over the course of her collegiate career, Chow has drained 149 buckets from long range. She needs just 13 three-pointers to crack the Big West's top 10, a feat that is well within reach since she averages 47.6 three-pointers a year. In 2007-08, Chow registered 77 baskets from behind-the-arc to rank sixth in the Big West single season list.
Honda Center To Become Official Home Of Big West Basketball Tournament Beginning in 2011
Honda Center has announced a five-year partnership with the Big West Conference to host its annual mens and womens post-season basketball tournament beginning in 2011. The Big West and Honda Center have teamed up for March Madness and The Road To The Final Four on numerous occasions including mens basketball regionals in 1998, 2001 and 2003 and first and second round action in 2008. In addition, the Big West and Honda Center were selected as host of the 2011 NCAA Division I Mens Basketball West Regional.
Cal Poly Takes Huge Hit To Lineup
Cal Polys top returner Kristina Santiago, tore her ACL in the first two minutes of the 2010-11 season and will miss the rest of the year due to her injury. The 2009-10 Big West Womens Basketball Player of the Year will undergo surgery and spend the next few months rehabilitating her knee. The senior is eligible to apply for a medical redshirt. The Mustangs will rely heavily on 2009-10 All-Big West second team member Rachel Clancy. Last season, the senior paced the league with an impressive .450 three-point percentage, while tying for fourth with 1.7 three-pointers made. She also concluded last season tied for 13th in scoring with an 11.3 average and 12th in rebounding at 5.4 RPG.
New Era At Cal State Northridge With Flowers Hire
During the spring Jason Flowers was hired as head coach of the Cal State Northridge Matadors. Flowers is very familiar with the Big West Conference having held stints as an assistant coach at both UC Riverside and Long Beach State.
In 2009-10, the Highlanders earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament following their championship performance at the Big West Tournament. A year earlier, the Highlanders chalked up 19 wins, a 14-2 league mark, produced the schools first-ever victory over a nationally-ranked Top-25 team, recorded a school record 13-straight wins and earned a berth in the WNIT.
While at LBSU, Flowers helped coach the 49ers to the 2005-06 Big West Championship, and developed 11 players into all-conference performers including the 2006 Big West Conference Player of the Year.
Aggies Simpson Retiring After Season
Sandy Simpson, UC Davis all-time winningest womens basketball coach who has been named coach of the year in three different conferences, will retire at the end of the upcoming 2010-11 season with associate head coach Jennifer Gross being named as his permanent replacement.
Simpson has longtime roots with the UC Davis womens program having coached with mentors Pam Gill-Fisher (1977-81) and Jorja Hoehn (1991-98) before assuming reins on a permanent basis in 1998. Since then, he has compiled an impressive overall record of 227-144 (.612), led UC Davis to a third-place finish at the 1997 NCAA Division II Championships, Womens National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) berths in 2008 and this past winter, and last seasons Big West Conference regular-season title.