Race For The Title Begins
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10-11 WBB Release 7
Race For The Title Begins
While the 2010 year is coming to a close, the quest for the 2010-11 Big West Conference title is just beginning. Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara have the honor of kicking off league play as the 49ers welcome the Gauchos to The Walter Pyramid on Dec. 30. Tipoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. The following day the rest of the teams join in the fun as UC Davis hosts Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge visits Pacific and UC Irvine travels to UC Riverside. Cal Poly must wait until the new calendar year before playing its first conference matchup. The Mustangs square off with Long Beach State Sunday, Jan. 2 at 2:00 p.m.
UC Davis Pegged As Favorite To Claim 2010-11 Big West Title
UC Davis was selected to repeat as Big West womens basketball champion for the 2010-11 season, as voted on by the media in the Big West womens basketball preseason poll. The Aggies captured 16 of a possible 25 first-place votes and 210 total points. They were followed by second place Cal Poly, who received four first-place nods and 183 points. Sitting one point back in third place is last seasons Big West tournament champion UC Riverside with two first-place selections and a point total of 182. UC Santa Barbara ranked fourth with three first-place votes and 164 total point and Cal State Fullerton garnered the fifth slot with 113 points. UC Irvine earned the sixth spot after acquiring 96 points and was followed by Long Beach State (84), Pacific (51) and Cal State Northridge (42).
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.
UC Irvine (8-4) opened the 2010-11 season dropping its first three contests, but followed that up with a conference-best six straight victories. The last time the Anteaters won six straight contests dates back to 1984 when the club won seven in a row. Unfortunately the Anteaters snapped their win streak on Dec. 15 with a loss to Eastern Washington but quickly got back on their feet and posted back-to-back victories at home. UC Irvine is currently a perfect 6-0 when playing at the Brent Events Center. Following the holiday break, UCI hits the road for a pair of Big West contests before returning home for a three-game stint.
UC Irvine concluded the bulk of their nonconference schedule with an 8-4 mark. The Anteaters need just one more win to tie their overall total from a season ago (9-21). 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 hasnt accomplished since tallying a 17-12 record in 2002-03.
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 on Dec. 1. The Aggies recorded its last home loss back on Dec. 29, 2009, when it fell to Kansas State, 73-59. The Aggies put their 15th-ranked home win streak on the line Dec. 27 when they host Santa Clara. The Aggies-Broncos showdown kicks off a three-game homestand for UC Davis.
Pacific Takes On No. 1 Connecticut
On December 28, the Tigers welcome the top team in the polls to the Alex G. Spanos Center for the first time in program history. The Tigers have played the No. 2 team twice, North Carolina in the Bahamas in 2008 and UNLV in the Spanos Center in 1990, falling in each contest. Pacific is 0-7 all-time vs teams in the top five. Pacific and UConn square off in front of a sold-out crowd at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday's game is the first sellout of the Spanos Center in women's basketball history. The Tigers will shatter their previous high attendance mark of 1,917, set on Feb. 21, 2009, as Pacific hosted Cal Poly in the annual Pacific Plays Pink game for breast cancer awareness.
Maly-Karros Seeing Double
Not only does UC Irvine's Mikah Maly-Karros pace the Big West Conference with seven double-doubles on the year, she is averaging a double-double for the season. The junior forward is averaging 18.9 points and 10.1 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 0-11 record after one month of play. 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 their first Big West contest of the 2010-11 season at Pacific on New Years Eve.
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. Early in the month of December, Mintun surpassed the 1,000th-career point mark. She currently owns 1,052 career points, 1034 of which occurred during her time competing in the Big West Conference. Mintun became 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 949 points. Teammates Lyndsey Grove and Lauren Chow are also closing in on the milestone with 860 and 786 points, respectively. Headlining UC Riverside's offense, Brittany Waddell owns an 861-point tally. Cal Polys 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 151 buckets from long range. She needs just 11 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 Poly's 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.
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 women's 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, Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) berths in 2008 and this past winter, and last seasons Big West Conference regular-season title.