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Women's Basketball

Pacific Battles National Power UConn

Files associated with this release:
11-12 WBB Release 2


Pacific Battles National Power UConn
In the return game of a home-and-home with No. 4 Connecticut, the Pacific Tigers visit Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn., to battle the Huskies Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific).

The Tigers will be looking for their first win over a ranked team since 2003, when Pacific knocked off No. 18 UC Santa Barbara, 75-65, on Jan. 18, 2003. Pacific has never beaten a top 10 team.

Last years contest drew the attention of the Central Valley, as Pacific sold out the Spanos Center for the first time in the history of the womens basketball program, as 6,150 shattered the Tigers previous attendance record. Back on Dec. 28, 2010, the top-ranked Huskies defeated the Tigers, 85-42, in the first meeting between the two programs.

And They're Off
Despite a new head coach at the helm and losing three starters from last season's NCAA-bound team, UC Davis hasn't missed a step. The Aggies kicked off the 2011-12 season with an impressive 69-68 victory over Pac-12's Washington on Friday evening. Two days later they snuck past Seattle, 66-62 to begin the year with a 2-0 record. UC Davis opened the 2010-11 season with a 10-2 run. Its two losses were to then-No. 15 UCLA (65-49) and Kansas State (61-41).

Odds are in the Aggies favor to extend their win streak this week as the play their first two contests of the season on their home court, The Pavilion. A year ago, UC Davis tallied a 12-3 mark when playing in front of its home town fans. First up for the Aggies is San Jose State, who visits their NorCal foe Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Wichita State makes a trek out west to tackle UC Davis Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos open the home portion of their schedule this week as they entertain a pair of West Coast Conference schools at The Thunderdome. The action gets underway Thursday, Feb. 17 at 6:00 p.m. as the Gauchos take on the Saint Mary's Gaels. Two days later Loyola Marymount visits the central coast for a Saturday matinee. Last season, UC Santa Barbara went 1-2 against West Conference opponents.

Super Sophomore
Long Beach State's Ella Clark had a tremendous opening weekend. In the pair of contests, the sophomore forward averaged 14.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.5 blocks per contest. In the 49ers' win over Utah Valley State she drained 16 points while pulling down eight boards. She also tallied a career-best seven blocks, which tied the programs third-best single-game mark. Two days later versus Syracuse, she recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. She was also one block shy of matching her previous effort.

Asano's Stealing Ways
UC Davis senior Hana Asano is on her way to being one of the Aggies' best thieves. After registering seven steals over the weekend, the 5-6 guard now owns sole possession of 10th place in UC Davis' all-time Top 10 list for career steals with 157. Asano recorded 40 steals during the 2010-11 season.

Matadors Capture Season-Opening Win
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team defeated San Francisco 67-59 last Friday in both team's season opener to claim their first season-opening victory since the 2004-05 season. This was also the Matadors' first-ever victory over San Francisco, while representing CSUN head coach Jason Flowers' first career nonconference win.

Cal State Northridge has a jam-packed week ahead of it as the Matadors close-out a four-game road trip with a trio of contests. The Matadors visit Loyola Marymount Monday night before taking on a pair of Pac-12 teams - Oregon State (11/17) and Washington (11/19).

Road Warriors
Long Beach State is in the midst of a seven-game road trip. After kicking off the season with a home victory at The Walter Pyramid, the 49ers hit the road for a trek that spans as far east at New York and as far north as Washington. Among the schools LBSU faces during their cross country journey are Columbia, Iona, Seattle and Washington, along with a few California programs. Last season, the 49ers struggled on the road, posting a 1-13 mark.

Mustangs Tabbed To Repeat At Regular Season Champion
Cal Poly was selected to repeat as the Big West women's basketball regular season champion for the 2011-12 season, as voted on by the media in the Big West women's basketball preseason poll. The Mustangs collected 11 of the possible 24 first-place votes and 200 total points.

The Mustangs welcome back 2009-10 Big West Womens Basketball Player of the Year Kristina Santiago, who missed last season due to a torn ACL. During her junior campaign (2009-10), she led the conference in scoring (19.6) while ranking second in steals per game (2.41), total steals (70), rebounding (8.5) and field goal percentage (.547). She will be headlining a roster that showcases an even mix of veterans and fresh faces.

The second-place Gauchos return much of their team including All-Big West First Team pick Emilie Johnson, Honorable Mention selection Sweets Underwood, All-Freshman Team choice Nicole Nesbit, as well as starters Kelsey Adrian and Angelei Aguirre. While Johnson is the Gauchos' top returner in scoring, Underwood will lead the way on the boards after finishing third in the league last year (6.9 RPG).

Leading the charge for the third-place UC Davis Aggies this year is a trio of returning starters - Hana Asano, Samantha Meggison and Kasey Riecks. In 2009-10 they combined for nearly one-third of the Aggies' total points, while tallying a .368 field goal percentage. Meggison started all 33 contests and Asano and Riecks started 31 and 29, respectively.

Finishing fourth with a total of 120 points is the UC Riverside women's basketball program. In the offseason the Highlanders lost five players due to graduation, including four of its top five scorers, so look at 2011-12 to be a rebuilding year. This year's Highlanders squad is led by junior TreShonti Nottingham, who paced UCR with 13.5 points per game last season.

Garnering the fifth slot in the preseason poll with 107 points is Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine earned the sixth spot after acquiring 91 points. The pair of Orange County schools were followed by Cal State Northridge (73), Pacific (66) and Long Beach State (63).

New Head Coaches Make Debut In 2011-12
UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara are both featuring a fresh face at the helm of their programs.

Jennifer Gross, former associate head coach for the Aggies, begins her first season at the helm of the UC Davis' women's basketball program in 2011-12. Her promotion to head coach came after former head coach Sandy Simpson announced last October his retirement from coaching following this past season. He garnered a program-best 251 wins. Gross and her staff look to build on a memorable 2010-11 season where UC Davis captured a Big West Tournament championship and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament where they fell to second-ranked Stanford.

Carlene Mitchell, who has spent the past 10 seasons at Rutgers with the previous three as associate head coach, was named UC Santa Barbara's new head women's basketball coach in the offseason to replace former head coach Lindsay Gottlieb left for a position at California. In the first head coaching job in a distinguished career on the sidelines, Mitchell inherits a Gaucho squad that has won 14 Big West regular-season titles in the past 16 years. .

Youth Supremacy
Once again Long Beach State will showcase a multitude of fresh faces as they welcome six freshmen to this year's lineup. Back in 2010-11, the 49ers listed three freshmen in their starting rotation. The diaper dandies will be joined by a pair sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Also relying on the young this year are the Pacific Tigers, who return five of their 10 letterwinners from 2010-11, after losing players to both graduation and transfers. Key losses for the Tigers are senior guard Jennifer Fath, senior forward Andrea Swanson to graduation and freshman forward Danielle Peacon. After having four underclassmen start all 31 contests a year ago, and with the loss of some key players, this season seems to be shaping up to showcase yet another young lineup.