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Women's Basketball

Action Heats Up In NorCal This Week

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10-11 WBB Release 12


Mustangs Continue To Hold Top Spot
Cal Poly played just one contest last week but still managed to keep its perfect conference record in tact as a 54-51 win over central coast for UC Santa Barbara improved the Mustangs to 8-0 in the Big West and 12-7 overall. The Mustangs are off to their 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 8-0 mark, defending champion UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara are tied for second with a 5-3 record.

The Week Ahead
All eyes are on northern California this week, where the top three teams in the Big West Conference are playing. League-leading Cal Poly visits The Pavilion Thursday evening to take on UC Davis, who is knotted in second place with UC Santa Barbara. Two days later the pair of second place teams battle in a Saturday matinee while the Mustangs travel to the Alex G. Spanos Center to face Pacific. Pacific is coming off an impressive, 62-49, victory over UC Riverside.

UC Irvine, dropping four of the last five contests, looks to get back on track this week with a pair of home games against Cal State Fullerton (2/3) and Cal State Northridge (2/5). The Highlanders visit The Matadome Thursday evening to battle Cal State Northridge before returning to the Student Recreation Center to host the Titans.

Long Beach State takes a break from league play with a nonconference contest versus Seattle on Friday.

Mimnaugh Looking To Join Elite Club
Cal Poly Head Coach Faith Mimnaugh is just three 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, own a perfect 8-0 mark to start conference. A year ago they tallied 11 conference wins.

Home Court Woes
Cal State Northridge seems to be missing the mystic of home court advantage this season, going winless in nine attempts at The Matadome. The Matadors conclude a three-game homestand hosting UC Riverside Thursday evening.

Valentine Blocks Her Way Into Top 10
A nine-block week increased UC Santa Barbara's Mekia Valentine's career total to 198 swats and vaulted here into Big Wests top 10. One more block will elevate her to ninth in the conference annals. In just her second season at UCSB, the senior forward ranks fourth in the nation this season with a league-best 78 blocks. In 2009-10, she recorded the fourth-best single-season performance in conference history, registering 120 blocks.

Double-Doubles A Plenty
UC Irvine's Mikah Maly-Karros is dominating her opposition both on offense and defense, tallying a league best 13 double-doubles on the season. Her impressive feat places her seventh in the nation. Not only is Maly-Karros besting second place Mekia Valentine (UCSB) by six double-doubles, she is averaging a double-double on the season with 18.6 points and 10.1 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.

Valentine ranks second with seven double-doubles and is followed by Jasmine Erving with six. 1,000-Point Club Welcomes New Member
Cal State Fullerton's Lyndsey Grove entered last Saturday's contest against Long Beach State needing 16 points to reach the 1,000-point milestone. She did just that, draining her 16th and final point from the free throw line with 5:45 remaining. Grove becomes the second Titan this year to reach the plateau, as Megan Richardson garnered the elite status at the start of the season. Richardson, who became the 104th Big West player to reach the milestone, owns 1,134 career points. Teammate Lauren Chow is also closing in on the milestone with 882 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 1,179 career points, 1,161 of which occurred during her time competing in the Big West Conference to rank her 68th in the league annals. Fellow Aggie Heidi Heintz drained her 1,000th point on January 6. Heintz enters the week with 1,052 career points, 517 of which came during her time at San Francisco.

Headlining UC Riverside's offense, Brittany Waddell owns an 974-point tally.

Highlanders Setting New Records
Coming off a year where they were crowned Big West Women's Basketball Tournament champion and advanced to the 2009-10 NCAA Tournament, the UC Riverside Highlanders welcomed back seven letterwinners, three starters, and looked to be in position to battle for the top spot again. They started off the 2010-11 season strong, winning six of their first eight contests. During that stretch they defeated Morgan State, 60-44, and held the Bears to just nine points in the first half, the lowest in the Div. I history of the program.

On Dec. 18, 2010, UC Riverside fell to Miami, which kick-started a five-game skid. Amidst the losing streak, UC Riverside stumbled against UC Irvine to start conference play with a 0-1 mark. Something changed for the Highlanders as the calendar rolled over to 2011. UCR not only snapped his losing streak, but strung together three straight Big West wins. It has now won five of the last seven contests, including an impressive 81-48 victory over UC Santa Barbara, the largest win in the Div. I history of the program for the Highlanders.

UC Riverside, facing Cal State Northridge and Cal State Fullerton this week, is currently in fourth place with a 4-3.

Other Happenings In The Big West
Cal Poly's win over UC Santa Barbara extended the Mustangs' consecutive win streak to eight, tying the Division I school record.

In UC Davis' 91-72 victory over UC Irvine, Vicky Deely drained a career-best 25 points. She was perfect from the field (6-of-6) and the free throw line (8-of-8).

Like Deely, Cal State Fullerton's Lauren Chow couldn't miss from the field in last Saturday's contest, shooting 7-of-7. She did however miss her one attempt from the charity stripe. Chow tied a school record for three-point shooting with a perfect 6-for-6 performance.

A 22-8 run early in the second half sparked Pacific to a 62-59 win over UCR last Saturday.

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 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.

UC Davis Pegged As Favorite To Claim 2010-11 Big West Title
UC Davis was selected to repeat as Big West women's 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 season's 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 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.

Aggies' Simpson Retiring After Season
Sandy Simpson, UC Davis' all-time winningest women's 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 and Jorja Hoehn before assuming reins on a permanent basis in 1998. Since then, he has compiled an impressive overall record of 227-144, led UC Davis to a third-place finish at the 1997 NCAA Division II Championships, Women's National Invitational Tournament berths in 2008 and this past winter, and last season's Big West Conference regular-season title.