Action Packed Week At The Thunderdome
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10-11 WBB Release 13
Defending Champions Take Down Mighty Mustangs
On Thursday, February 3, the UC Davis Aggies did what no other Big West team has been able to do so far this season - defeat the Cal Poly Mustangs. It did take two tries for the Aggies, who lost to Cal Poly, 74-65, back on Jan. 8, but they posted a decisive 81-61 victory at The Pavilion in their second attempt. Two days later the defending Big West Champions also took care of business when they hosted UC Santa Barbara, downing the Gauchos 74-70 to gain sole possession of second place in the league standings with a 7-3 mark.
Mustangs Continue To Hold Top Spot
Despite a hiccup last week with an 81-61 loss to UC Davis, Cal Poly still maintains the top spot in the standings with a 9-1 Big West record. The loss to the Aggies snapped a conference-best eight-game win streak. It was the Mustangs' first road loss since Dec. 20 when they fell to Pepperdine 80-45.
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 15.8 scoring average.
Action Packed Week At The Thunderdome
As the season winds down, teams are battling for position for the Big West Women's Basketball Tournament and its new tournament. This year the top four teams host the first round of the tournament at their respective courts. As the teams are jockeying for position, this week marks a perfect opportunity for a few teams to get a slight edge over their opponents. Third place UC Riverside (6-3) travels to fourth place UC Santa Barbara (6-4) Saturday afternoon. The Gauchos are looking for redemption after UC Riverside recorded its largest win in the Div. I history of the program back on Jan. 15 with an 81-48 victory over the Gauchos. The fourth-place Gauchos also battle fifth place UC Irvine (5-5) Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
Mimnaugh Eyeing 100th Career Win
Cal Poly Head Coach Faith Mimnaugh is just two conference wins away from reaching 100 Big West victories, a feat only four other league coaches have accomplished. The Mustangs, who returned a majority of their players from 2009-10, own a perfect 9-1 conference mark. A year ago they tallied 11 conference wins.
UCSB's Johnson Unstoppable
Last week was all about Emilie Johnson, as far as the Gauchos are concerned. In the pair of UC Santa Barbara contests, Johnson drained an impressive 55 points, including a career-best 31-point performance in the win over Pacific. Her 31 points ties her for fifth highest single-game point total in the Big West this season. Johnson shot 11-of-12 from the field for a .917 percentage, the highest single-game field goal percentage in the Big West since UC Riversides Kemie Nkele had a similar performance back in 2005, going 10-for-11 for a .909 clip.
Valentine Blocks Her Way Into Top 10
UC Santa Barbara's Mekia Valentine's increased her career block total to 201 swats, moving her into ninth place in the Big West's top 10. In just her second season at UCSB, the senior forward ranks 4th in the nation this season with a league-best 81 blocks. In 2009-10, she recorded the fourth-best single-season performance in conference history, registering 120 blocks.
CSUN Struggles At Home; Prosperous At Bren Center
Cal State Northridge seems to be missing home court advantage this season, going winless in 10 attempts at The Matadome. Cal State Northridge's next chance of breaking the home-court curse is Saturday when it entertains Cal State Fullerton.
While the Matadors can't seem to find their mo-jo at home, they certainly can light it up at UC Irvine's home court - The Bren Center. With an impressive .643 field goal percentage, Cal State Northridge defeated UC Irvine, 82-72, last weekend. The Matadors' field goal percentage is the highest Big West single-game percentage since the Matadors tallied a .611 field goal percentage at the Bren Center back on Jan. 11, 2007.
Home Games Equals Victory For LBSU
Last week, Long Beach State (5-19/3-7) hosted Seattle in nonconference action, kicking off a four-game homestand for the 49ers. All three of LBSU's conference victories have been in front of their hometown fans. This week the 49ers welcome Cal State Northridge and UC Davis to The Walter Pyramid.
Big West Adds New Member to 1,000-Point Club, Two More Approaching
So far this season five current Big West athletes have reached the 1,000-point plateau and two more are approaching the milestone. The fifth addition happened over the weekend. Scoring a season-best 24 points in UC Riverside's win over Cal State Fullerton, vaulted Brittany Waddell to elite status as she collected for 1,011th career point.
Cal State Northridge's Jasmine Erving recorded her seventh double-double of the season in Saturday's win over UC Irvine, registering 27 points and 10 rebounds, to improve her career scoring total to 969.
Cal State Fullerton's Lauren Chow is also closing in on the milestone with 896 points, respectively. Teammates Megan Richardson and Lyndsey Grove captured the status symbol earlier this season. Richardson currently owns 1,172 career points, while Grove has recorded 1,029 points.
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 1,208 career points, 1,190 of which occurred during her time competing in the Big West Conference to rank her 63rd in the league annals. Fellow Aggie Heidi Heintz drained her 1,000th point on January 6. Heintz enters the week with 1,066 career points, 517 of which came during her time at San Francisco.
UC Davis Maintains Spot In Mid-Major Poll
For a majority of the season, the UC Davis Aggies have been represented in the collegeinsider.com Mid Major Top 25 Poll. Last week they ranked 14th and proceeded to tally wins against the top two teams in the conference at the time (Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara). The next poll does not come out until Tuesday, Feb. 8 but the Aggies are sure to get more votes in an effort to continue to climb the ladder. Other Big West schools receiving votes in last week's poll were Cal Poly and UC Irvine.
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 women's 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 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 seasons Big West Conference regular-season title.