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Women's Basketball

ampm Big West Women's Basketball Tournament Begins Tuesday

Files associated with this release:
WBB BWT Bracket 2010-11.pdf
10-11 WBB Release 17

Links associated with this release:
ampm BIg West Tournament TIcket Information


March Madness officially kicks off Tuesday as the first round of the 2011 ampm Big West Women's Basketball Tournament begins. In the new format of the ampm Big West Women's 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.

Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara each claimed a share of the 2010-11 Big West Regular Season Championship after finishing the year with a 12-4 conference mark. This is the first women's basketball championship for the Mustangs, while the Gauchos nab their 14th title.

Cal Poly owns the tiebreaker over UC Santa Barbara and was awarded the No. 1 seed of the tournament. The Mustangs are slated to host No. 8 Cal State Fullerton at Mott Gym Tuesday evening. Cal Poly swept the series with Cal State Fullerton during the regular season.

The Titans found themselves knotted in seventh place with Pacific at 5-11, but they lost the tiebreaker and were given the eighth seed while Pacific was tabbed No. 7. Riding a seven-game win streak, the second-seeded Gauchos are set to welcome the Tigers to the Thunderdome, where they have defeated Pacific 24 consecutive times.

Posting an 11-5 record earned UC Riverside a third place finish in the Big West standings. In the quest to defend their Big West Tournament Championship, the No. 3 Highlanders are slated to entertain No. 6 Long Beach State at the Student Recreation Center. The 49ers closed out the 2010-11 season with a 6-10 league record. UC Riverside and Long Beach State split the regular season series with each team winning on its home court.

The final matchup of the first round of the ampm Big West Women's Basketball Tournament pits No. 4 UC Davis (10-6) against No. 5 UC Irvine (7-9) at The Pavilion. The Aggies won the series against the Anteaters, taking both contests by an average of 17.5 points

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, starting at noon, 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 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. NCAA Women's Basketball Selection Show
ESPN will present the exclusive live announcement of the 64-team NCAA Tournament field as part of its Selection Monday Special Show on Monday, March 14, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. (PST). For the ninth consecutive year, the ESPN networks will combine to present all 63 games from the 2011 NCAA Division I Womens Basketball Championship.

Mustangs, Gauchos Share Big West Regular Season Championship
Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara concluded the regular season knotted in first place with a 12-4 mark, awarding both teams a share of the 2010-11 Big West Womens Basketball Championship. This is the first conference title for the Mustangs, while the Gauchos pick up their 14th.

The Mustangs were successful even 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 was senior Rachel Clancy, who paces the team and ranks second in the conference with a 16.3 scoring average. She also followed in Santiagos footsteps and earned this seasons Big West Player of the Year award.

UC Santa Barbara was led by All-Big West First Team selection Emilie Johnson and second team member Mekia Valentine. Johnson is the Gauchos' leading scorer with 13.9 points per game and Valentine is the conference's top rebounder (11.0 RPG) and blocker (3.72 BPG). Valentine also ranks among the best in the nation in both respective categories.

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 became just the fifth league coach to accomplish this feat. In her 14th year at the helm, she has led the Mustangs to a share of its first Big West title.

V Is For Victory
The Gauchos have been hot down the final stretch of the regular season, stringing together seven straight wins, with none more important than the last victory. The Gauchos closed out the regular season downing league-leading Cal Poly, 78-64, to capture a share of the 2010-11 Big West Womens Basketball Championship with the Mustangs.

UC Davis Posts Second Straight 20-Win Season
The UC Davis Aggies eclipsed the 20-win plateau last week with a pair of contests that elevated them to a 21-8 mark. This is UC Davis' first back-to-back 20-win season 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.

'Eaters Headed In Right Direction
In just her third season at the helm of the UC Irvine women's basketball program, Molly Goodenbour has made a positive impact on the Anteaters. UC Irvine (7-9) posted its highest league finish since the 2002-03 season when it finished fourth with a 9-7 mark. Heading into tournament play, the Anteaters own a 15-14 overall mark, guaranteeing at least a .500 record for the first time in eight years.

1,000-Point Club
Seven women's basketball players eclipsed 1,000 career points this year. UC Santa Barbara's Emilie Johnson was the newest member of the 1,000-point club. The junior guard reached the milestone in late February after draining 17 and 27 points in a pair of Gaucho victories. She currently sits at 1,039 career points.

Other Big West athletes reaching the 1,000-point threshold this year were UC Davis' Paige Mintun and Heidi Heintz. Mintun holds 1,316 career points, 1,306 of which occurred during her time competing in the Big West, and Heintz enters the week with 1,126 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 1,248 career points, while Grove has recorded 1,083 points. Teammate Lauren Chow is also closing in on the milestone with 942 points, respectively.

Cal State Northridge's Jasmine Erving currently owns 1,078 career points and UC Riverside's Brittany Waddell reached the 1,000-point plateau and owns 1,116 points.

Valentine Leaving Her Mark In Big West
UC Santa Barbara's Mekia Valentine increased her career block total to 228 swats and sits in eighth 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 108 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.