This Week In Women's Basketball
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11-12 WBB Release 6
This Week In The Big West
Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge are taking the week off for final exams, but the remaining seven schools are in action this week. Cal Poly kicks off the week Wednesday as it faces Long Island and UC Riverside plays the lone game on Thursday with a visit to Idaho.
A trio of Big West schools host events on Friday, Dec. 16. UC Santa Barbara entertains Pepperdine and UC Irvine plays future Big West member San Diego State at the Bren Center. Both games are slated with a 7:00 p.m. tip. Long Beach State looks to keep its home win streak intact as it welcomes Dartmouth to The Walter Pyramid for a 7:00 p.m. tip. The 49ers also begin a two-day tournament, the Beach Classic Presented by Residence Inn/Courtyard, Sunday Dec. 18 when they take on Western Michigan.
Cal Poly, Pacific and UC Riverside all play road contests on Saturday and UC Davis begins a three-day tournament in Hawaii starting on Sunday, Dec. 18. The Aggies face Denver, Portland State and Hawaii at the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Shootout.
Big Win For Tigers
On Friday, December 9 the Pacific women's basketball team extended its win streak to four after notching a 78-73 victory against Southeastern Conference member Florida in front of its fans at the Alex G. Spanos Center. Battling the vertically-gifted Gators, who managed to record 33 offensive rebounds and nine blocked shots, the Tigers relied on their three-point shooting with an 11-of-16 effort from behind-the-arc. The Tigers .688 three-point field goal percentage was the second-best single-game performance in the nation this season. Leading the way for Pacific was junior guard Erica McKenzie, who drained seven of her eight three-pointers.
Titans' Skid Comes To An End
Last Saturday, Cal State Fullerton snapped a five-game losing streak with a 76-74 win over Nevada at Titan Gym. The Titans' victory over the Wolfpack was just the second in the last 12 meetings. Leading a trio of players who scored in double figures, senior Megan Richardson tallied a game-high 26 points with a 8-of-14 performance from the field and a perfect 9-of-9 from the charity stripe.
Cal State Fullerton takes the week off before heading to the bay area to face San Francisco (12/20) and San Jose State (12/22) the following week.
1,000 And Counting
On Friday, December 2 senior Lauren Chow became the 21st Cal State Fullerton Titan to reach 1,000 career points. Chow, who owns 1,021 points, is one of two current Titans with 1,000-plus career points as teammate Megan Richardson currently has 1,406 career points, ranking her 36th in the Big West record book.
Other Big West players that have already notched their 1,000th career point are Cal Poly's Kristina Santiago (1,395), Cal State Northridge's Jasmine Erving (1,222) and UC Santa Barbara's Emilie Johnson (1,137). UC Davis' Kasey Riecks is eyeing the milestone as she eclipsed 900 points last week to currently total 909 career points.
Home Sweet Home
With the first month of the 2011-12 season completed, two Big West Conference members still own an unblemished home record. The Aggies are 4-0 at The Pavilion, but are currently in the midst of a four-game road trip. UC Davis' next home game is slated for Dec. 31 when it kicks off the conference portion of its schedule at The Pavilion with Cal State Fullerton.
Long Beach State, who had the luxury of kicking off the 2011-12 season with a victory in The Walter Pyramid, finally had the opportunity to play in front of its hometown fans last week following a season-long, seven-game trek. The 49ers improved to 2-0 at home with a dramatic 61-58 overtime victory versus Nevada Thursday night. Long Beach State, who is 2-0 at home and 1-7 on the road, plays the next six contests at The Pyramid, including the Beach Classic Presented by Residence Inn/Courtyard Dec. 18-19.
Anteaters On A Rampage
UC Irvine went 2-1 in the Oregon Tournament over the Thanksgiving holiday, collecting wins over Nicholls State (62-48) and Weber State (57-52). The Anteaters' only loss was a 89-77 defeat to host Oregon. Following the three-day event, UC Irvine returned home to the Bren Center and picked up two more victories. It downed Santa Clara, 88-82, the only Big West school to record this accomplishment in four attempts, and toppled Sacramento State, 81-75.
The Anteaters, who opened the 2011-12 season with a four-game skid, currently own a 4-5 overall record and are emulating last years squad. The 2010-11 team opened the year dropping its first three contests before picking up steam and winning 11 of the next 12 contests, including a 3-0 start to conference play.
Up next for UC Irvine is a showdown with future Big West member San Diego State Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the Bren Events Center.
Despite battling an injury, Cal Poly's Kristina Santiago continues to dominate on both sides of the court. The redshirt senior paces the conference in both scoring and rebounding. Her double-double average consists of 20.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per contests ranking her in the nation's top 25 in both categories.
Mustangs Tabbed To Repeat As 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 womens basketball preseason poll. The Mustangs collected 11 of the possible 24 first-place votes and 200 total points.
The second-place Gauchos return much of their team including All-Big West First Team pick Emilie Johnson, Honorable Mention selection Sweets Underwood and All-Freshman Team choice Nicole Nesbit. Leading the charge for third-place UC Davis is a trio of returning starters - Hana Asano, Samantha Meggison and Kasey Riecks. Finishing fourth with a total of 120 points is the UC Riverside women's basketball program.
Garnering the fifth slot in the 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
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.
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.