Undefeated CSUN And LBSU Battle At The Pyramid
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11-12 WBB Release 9
CSUN, LBSU Have Stellar Week
In Big West Opener
One week of Big West action in the record books and Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State both collected a pair of wins. The 49ers are off to their best start in Big West play since the 2005-06 season, the same year they claimed a share of the Big West regular season title. The Matadors and 49ers hosted the same two opponents, UC Irvine and UC Riverside, and earned their first home victories in both respective series since the 2006-07 season.
Also maintaining a perfect record through the first week are the Pacific Tigers and the Cal Poly Mustangs, who each recorded a home victory. The Tigers downed Cal State Fullerton, 72-67, and Cal Poly won the battle between the co-defending champions with a last-second 61-58 victory over UC Santa Barbara. The win snapped a seven game winless streak for the Mustangs who played their first game at home since Nov. 30th. The Gauchos have now dropped its past three games by a combined six points and lost its conference opener for just the second time in the last 17 seasons.
Cal State Fullerton, who went 1-1 opening week, entertains co-defending champions Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara at Titan Gym. The Titans-Mustangs showdown is slated for Thursday, Jan. 5 at 7:00 p.m. while the Gauchos challenge the home team Saturday, Jan. 7 at 3:00 p.m.
UC Irvine takes its turn against Pacific Thursday evening before hosting UC Davis in a Saturday matinee. The Tigers and Aggies also visit UC Riverside on opposite days. The Big West matchup of the week is Long Beach State facing Cal State Northridge at The Walter Pyramid on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 4:00 p.m., guaranteeing one team their first conference loss.
Cal Poly's Kristina Santiago paces the Big West Conference with six double-doubles this season. Her impressive performances have guided her to a double-double on the season so far, tallying 23.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest. Also doing double-duty on both offense and defense is Cal State Northridge's Jasmine Erving, who has collected five double-doubles. Pacific's Kendall Rodriguez isn't far behind with four.
Cal Poly has a potent offense as it paces the Big West Conference in multiple categories. The Mustangs lead the way with a 71.8 scoring offense, while also owning a league-best .416 field goal percentage and .355 three-point field goal percentage. Individually, Kristina Santiago leads the Mustangs in scoring (23.5) and field goal percentage (.536), Christine Martin paces the team with a .396 three-point field goal percentage.
Tigers Take Win Streak On The Road
Since returning to the Alex G. Spanos Center on Dec. 19, the Pacific Tigers have won three straight contests. Pacific began the win streak with a 69-60 victory over Eastern Washington and then picked up victories against both Air Force and Cal State Fullerton. If the Tigers want to continue their winning ways, they will need to do so on the road as they visit UC Irvine (1/5) and UC Riverside (1/7) this week.
During Cal State Fullertons 76-74 victory over Nevada on Dec. 10, senior guard Lauren Chow drained her 200th career three-pointer, becoming just the eighth Big West player to reach the milestone. Her quest to the top began early in her Titan career as she registered 77 three-pointers her freshman year, earning her 2007-08 Big West Women's Basketball Freshman of the Year honors. Her mark ranked her seventh all-time in the Big West single-season list. With 205 total three-pointers, she is just 10 buckets away from grabbing the sixth spot.
Also making her way towards her 200th bucket from behind-the-arc is UC Santa Barbara's Emilie Johnson, who currently owns 184 baskets.
UC Davis' Home Dominance
Comes To An End
UC Davis entered last week as the lone Big West team with an undefeated record at home (4-0), but joined the other eight teams by the end of the week. The Aggies opened conference play on Dec. 31 with a 58-50 loss to Cal State Fullerton, ending their winless streak at The Pavilion.
UC Irvine's Road Woes
UC Irvine (4-8) remains winless on the road this year as it went 0-2 to start conference play, dropping its road record to 0-8. UC Irvine, currently on a five-game skid, is the only team that hasn't been able to post a win away from the Bren Center. Lucky for the Anteaters, they play their next two contests at home entertaining Northern California foes Pacific and UC Davis.
1,000 And Counting
Five current Big West players have already eclipsed the 1,000-career point marker, while one more player is inching her way towards the milestone. Follow them as they climb the Big West rankings.
Name, School - points (Big West ranking)
Kristina Santiago, Cal Poly - 1,532 (26th)
Megan Richardson, Cal State Fullerton - 1,490 (30th)
Jasmine Erving, Cal State Northridge - 1,281 (53rd)
Emilie Johnson, UC Santa Barbara - 1,159 (73rd)
Lauren Chow, Cal State Fullerton - 1,047 (102nd)
Kasey Riecks, UC Davis - 958
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 women's 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' womens 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. 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. 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.