Mustangs Maintain Perfection
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10-11 WBB Release 11
Mustangs Stand Alone
Another week, another perfect outing by the Cal Poly Mustangs, who have strung together a conference-best seven straight league victories to maintain sole possession of first place in the Big West Conference. Cal Poly is off to its best start in the Big West since it joined the conference for the 1996-97 season.
Even though the Mustangs are sitting atop the conference, they had to face some adversity at the beginning of the year when 2009-10 Big West Player of the Year Kristina Santiago tore her ACL in the first two minutes of the 2010-11 season and was informed she would miss the rest of the year due to her injury. Filling her shoes this season has been senior Rachel Clancy, who paces the team and ranks second in the conference with a 16.1 scoring average.
While the Mustangs own the top spot with a perfect 7-0 mark, defending champion UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara are tied for second with a 4-2 record.
League-leading Cal Poly kicks off a three-game road trip with a visit to central coast foe UC Santa Barbara, who is currently tied for second in the league, for a Thursday-night showdown. The Gauchos follow that up with a road trip to Northridge to take on the Matadors Saturday afternoon.
Also holding on to second place with a 4-2 mark is UC Davis, who leaves the familiar confines of The Pavilion, where it is 7-1 this season, to travel to southern California to tackle both UC Riverside (1/27) and UC Irvine (1/29). The Anteaters also face Cal State Northridge Thursday evening, while the Highlanders entertain Pacific Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
Long Beach State (2-6), who recently snapped a four-game skid, hosts Pacific Thursday evening before visiting Cal State Fullerton for a Saturday matinee.
Mimnaugh Looking To Join Elite Club
Cal Poly Head Coach Faith Mimnaugh is just four conference wins away from reaching 100 Big West victories, a feat only four other league coaches have accomplished, after kicking off the 2010-11 Big West season with a victory over Long Beach State. The Mustangs, who return a majority of their players from 2009-10, own a perfect 7-0 mark to start conference. A year ago they tallied 11 conference wins.
Where Did The 'Eaters Go?
Two weeks ago UC Irvine was knotted in first place with Cal Poly after opening conference play with a 3-0 mark. Fast forward to this week and the 'Eaters are now sitting fifth after dropping three straight contests for a 3-3 record. The Anteaters' first conference loss, a 69-58 defeat to UC Santa Barbara, snapped UC Irvine's seven-game home win streak. Since then, UCI suffered two more losses (Cal Poly and Long Beach). UC Irvine looks to get back on track this week when it visits Cal State Northridge and host UC Davis.
Home Court Woes
Cal State Northridge seems to be missing the mystic of home court advantage this season, going winless in seven attempts at The Matadome. The Matadors open a three-game homestand Thursday when they entertain UC Irvine.
In just her second season at UC Santa Barbara, senior forward Mekia Valentine has already moved into second place in the Gauchos' record book for career blocks. Currently with 189 swats, Valentine is just one block away from cracking into the Big West's top 10. In 2009-10, she recorded the fourth best single-season performance in conference history, registering 120 blocks. So far this season she has accumulated a league-high 69 swats.
UCSB's Historic Outing
A week after suffering the worst loss in 18 years, 81-48 loss to UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara bounced back and toppled Cal State Fullerton, 69-32. The 32 points allowed was the 10th-fewest in school history; the 14 first-half points the Gauchos allowed are the sixth-fewest in the first half ever at UCSB; and the 18 second-half points count as the fifth fewest ever in program annals. The 37-point victory marked the largest in the Gottlieb era and was the Gauchos' largest win since an 88-44 defeat of Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5, 2008.
Last Saturday's win also extended UC Santa Barbara's win streak versus Cal State Fullerton to 36, which dates back to 1995.
Double-Doubles A Plenty
UC Irvine's Mikah Maly-Karros is dominating her opposition both on offense and defense, tallying a league best 12 double-doubles on the season. Her impressive feat places her fourth in the nation. Not only is Maly-Karros' besting second place Jasmine Erving (CSUN) and Mekia Valentine (UCSB) by six double-doubles, she is averaging a double-double on the season with 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. 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.
Erving and Valentine are tied for second with six double-doubles apiece, while Pacific's Danielle Peacon sits fourth with four.
At the start of the year, Cal State Fullerton's Megan Richardson reached elite status and became just the 19th Titan to surpass 1,000 career points. Richardson, who became the 104th Big West player to reach the milestone, owns 1,110 career points. Teammates Lyndsey Grove and Lauren Chow are also closing in on the milestone with 951 and 854 points, respectively.
UC Davis' Paige Mintun was the first player this season to reach 1,000 points. Early in December, Mintun tallied her 1,000th-career point. She currently owns 1,155 career points, 1,137 of which occurred during her time competing in the Big West Conference to rank her 73rd in the league annals. Fellow Aggie Heidi Heintz drained her 1,000th point on January 6. Heintz enters the week with 1,041 career points, 517 of which came during her time at San Francisco.
Headlining UC Riverside's offense, Brittany Waddell owns an 952-point tally.
CSF's Chow Shooting Her Way Into The
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 160 buckets from long range. She needs just two three-pointers to crack the Big West's top 10. 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 men's and women's 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 men's 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 Men's Basketball West Regional.
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 women's 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).
New Era At Cal State Northridge With
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.
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.