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Women's Basketball

First Round Sites Set For ampm Big West Women's Basketball Tournament

Files associated with this release:
10-11 WBB Release 16

Links associated with this release:
2011 ampm Big West Tournament Ticket Information

2/28/2011

First Round Sites Set For ampm Big West Women's Basketball Tournament
With one week left of the regular season, Cal Poly (12-3), UC Santa Barbara (11-4), UC Riverside (9-5) and UC Davis (8-6) have already secured a top-four seed in the first round of the 2011 ampm Big West Womens Basketball Tournament, awarding them hosting duties.

In the new format of the ampm Big West Womens Basketball Tournament, the top four teams in the conference host the first round of competition before the semifinals and championship game move to Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The exact seeding will not be finalized until the conclusion of Saturday's contest, but it is already determined that league-leading Cal Poly, who has already captured at least a share of the 2010-11 Big West Championship, is the No. 1 seed. Seeds 2-4 are still up for grabs between the remaining three teams.

First round action gets underway at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8 at designated campus sites. The semifinals are slated for Friday, March 10 and the championship game takes place on Saturday, March 11 at 1:00 p.m.

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 Men's Basketball West Regional.

Mustangs Earn First-Ever Share Of Big West Regular Season Championship
Saturday's 61-48 put an explanation point on Cal Poly's season, as it bumped the Mustangs to 12-3 on the season, guaranteeing them at least a share of the 2010-11 Big West title. The Mustangs become the fifth different Big West team to capture at least a share of the conference title in the past six years.

What is even more impressive about the Mustangs success this year is they did so without their best player, 2009-10 Big West Player of the Year Kristina Santiago. Santiago tore her ACL in the first two minutes of the 2010-11 season and missed 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 16.7 scoring average.

Cal Poly can gain sole possession of the title with a win over second-place UC Santa Barbara (11-4) Saturday at Mott Gym. Earlier in the season the Mustangs won a tightly-contested 54-51 battle at The Thunderdome. If Cal Poly fails to sweep the Gauchos, it will share the title with UC Santa Barbara. Cal Poly is 8-2 at home this season.

Here's What We Know
- Cal Poly, who has captured at least a share of its first-ever Big West title, is the No. 1 seed of the ampm Big West Womens Basketball Tournament.

- UC Santa Barbara sits second in the Big West, but a win over Cal Poly on Saturday could earn them a share of its 14th Big West title. Depending on the outcome of Saturday's contest, the Gauchos will either be seeded second or third in the Big West Tournament.

- UC Riverside, 9-5 in the Big West, can finish anywhere between second and fourth place in the league.

- 2009-10 Big West Champion UC Davis will finish either third or fourth in the standings.

- UC Irvine can finish no worse than sixth place. If UCI grabs the fifth slot, it will be the highest league finish for the Anteaters since the 2002-03 season when they finished fourth with a 9-7 mark.

- Long Beach State can finish any where between fifth and seventh place.

- Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge and Pacific are battling for the final two spots on the ampm Big West Women's Basketball Tournament.

Mimnaugh Captures 100th Career Win
A 78-58 victory over Cal State Fullerton on February 24 awarded Cal Poly Head Coach Faith Mimnaugh her 100th Big West victory. Mimnaugh becomes just the fifth league coach to accomplish this feat. In her 14th year at the helm, she has led the Mustangs (12-3) to at least a share of its first-ever Big West title.

UC Riverside's Sophomore Standout
Entering the final week of the regular season, UC Riverside finds itself in a situation where it can finish anywhere from second to the fourth in the Big West Conference. The Highlanders, who currently sit third with a 9-5 Big West record, owe a lot of their success to TreShonti Nottingham. The sophomore guard is a jack-of-all-trades. She currently paces the league with a .902 free throw percentage and a 2.27 steal average. Her impressive showing at the charity stripe ranks her sixth in the nation. Nottingham also leads the Highlanders in scoring with 13.0 points per game and ranks second among UCRs starters in field goal percentage.

V Is For Victory
The Gauchos have come on strong towards the end of the regular season, stringing together six straight wins, which includes a 59-37 victory over third place UC Riverside on Feb. 12. The Highlanders also have their own hot-streak going. Since suffering the 22-point loss to the Gauchos, UC Riverside has won three of the last four outings, including a 78-70 win over league-leading Cal Poly.

CSUN Going For Best Finish Since 06-07
Under the tutelage of first year head coach Jason Flowers, the Cal State Northridge Matadors own a 4-10 record with two conference games remaining. If the Matadors win at least one of their final two contests, they will post their highest win total in four years. They are currently tied with the 2008-09 squad with four wins.

UC Davis Eyes The Big 2-0
Two games remain in the regular season and UC Davis, sitting at 19 overall wins, needs just one more victory to reach the 20-win plateau. If successful, they will post their first back-to-back 20-win seasons since joining the Big West Conference. In 2009-10, UC Davis captured the Big West title with a 12-4 conference mark and a 21-11 overall record.

UCSB's Johnson Joins 1,000-Point Club
UC Santa Barbara's Emilie Johnson is the newest member of the 1,000-point club. The junior guard reached the milestone last week after draining 17 and 27 points in a pair of Gaucho victories. She currently sits at 1,021 career points.

Other Big West athletes reaching the 1,000-point threshold this year are UC Davis' Paige Mintun and Heidi Heintz. Mintun holds 1,283 career points, 1,273 of which occurred during her time competing in the Big West, and Heintz enters the week with 1,103 career points, 517 of which came during her time at San Francisco.

Cal State Fullerton Titans Megan Richardson and Lyndsey Grove captured the status symbol earlier this season. Richardson currently owns 1,243 career points, while Grove has recorded 1,069 points. Teammate Lauren Chow is also closing in on the milestone with 939 points, respectively.

Cal State Northridge's Jasmine Erving currently owns 1,058 career points and UC Riverside's Brittany Waddell reached the 1,000-point plateau and owns 1,077 points.

Valentine Leaving Her Mark In Big West
UC Santa Barbara's Mekia Valentine increased her career block total to 223 swats and sits in ninth place in the Big West's top 10. In just her second season at UCSB, the senior forward ranks third in the nation this season with a league-best 103 blocks. Valentine becomes just the fifth Big West player to post two 100-block seasons. In 2009-10, she recorded the fourth-best single-season performance in conference history, registering 120 blocks.

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.

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