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Women's Basketball

Mid-Season Standings Leaves Three-Way Tie For Second

Files associated with this release:
11-12 WBB Release 13.pdf


Road Woes To Home Sweep
Cal Poly snapped a three-game slump last week with two wins inside Mott Gym in San Luis Obispo.  The Mustangs had a roaring start despite the leading scorer for Cal Poly, Kristina Santiago, only putting up six points in the first half with three rebounds as the Mustangs took a 40-32 lead at the half.  But the Tigers fought back in the second half only being out-scored by two.  Santiago came alive with 19 points and 11 rebounds in the bottom half resulting in a 74-64 win.  Santiago finished with a game-high 25 points and 14 rebounds, grabbing her 10th double-double of the season.

The Mustangs came back on Saturday against UC Davis to finish over the Aggies, 87-65, concluding the pair of wins at home.  Cal Poly is making the climb back after road woes (2-9), improving to 6-3 at home to put them in a three-way tie for second in Big West Conference standings at the middle mark of the season. 

Big West Broadcast On ESPN3
In collaboration with ESPN and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the Big West Conference launched a ten-game distribution package on ESPN3 this past Fall. Defending 2011 co-conference champions will face off on Saturday, February 4 as the rival match-up of Cal Poly at UC Santa Barbara is set to air at 2 p.m.  In the last competition Cal Poly came out on top with a three-point 61-58 win.

This year’s package includes a volleyball match, two baseball, two men’s basketball, two women’s basketball, one MPSF men’s volleyball and two softball games. The addition of games on ESPN3 extends ESPN’s current five-year deal with the Big West, which continues through the 2012-13 season.

ESPN3 is currently available in more than 70 million households through computers, tablets and smart phones and in 25 million households via Xbox gaming consoles.

Home Court Perfection Snapped
Coming off a five-game winning streak, the Anteaters took home court for the ESPN3 televised matchup against ninth-place UC Riverside last week.  The Anteaters held a 3-0 conference record at the Bren Center but were unable to defend as the Highlanders played tit-for-tat taking their second-consecutive conference victory.  Losing a majority of their lineup in the offseason has definitely hurt the former Big West Champion Highlanders, but with a two-game winning streak Riverside looks to continue as they take it home for two conference battles.  The Highlanders will face Cal State Northridge on Thursday followed by Long Beach State on Saturday.

Nottingham led the Highlanders with a game-high 24 points accompanied by teammates Natasha Hadley with 15, and Brittany Palmer with 14.  Nottingham and Hadley combined for 23 of the 29 points in the first half against Irvine, starting off with the first 17 points of the game.  The Highlanders snuck by with the 70-67 win over the Anteaters improving to 4-16 overall and 2-6 in Big West play while Irvine remains in a three-way tie for second in conference standings (9-12, 5-3 Big West).

Close To The End
In 2011-2012 Big West Conference play there has been little margin left for error with close contests in every other competition.  Out of the 37 conference games played up to this point, 17 of those games have been won by a deficit of five points or fewer.  Three of the games have been sent into overtime, one being a double-overtime game between UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge, allowing
Northridge to sneak away with a four-point victory. 

Cal State Northridge leads the conference in neck-in-neck matchups with five of their eight conference meets being decided by fewer than five points.  In those down to the wire face-offs the Matadors have come out of top four of the five times, the only loss was by two points to UC Davis on January 12. 

Fullerton Gets Ahead
Cal State Fullerton broke a three-game skid last week in their victory over Long Beach State 74-53 after an overtime loss to Cal State Northridge by six points in their previous battle.  The Titans had suffered a five-game losing streak in conference play, unable to get a win since the end of the year but came out shooting 44 percent from the floor against the 49ers.

Sophomore Mya Oliver led the team with a career-high 23 points to go along with seven rebounds.  Oliver finished 9-for-10 from the floor tallying her second career 20-point scoring performance this season.  The Titans return home looking to snap the 4-4 home record for the next two conference matchups while sitting tied for ninth in Big West Standings (9-11, 2-6 Big West).

Johnson Receives National Recognition
Senior guard for the Gauchos, Emilie Johnson, received recognition last week after  being named as one of the Top-10 nationwide finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.  Johnson has been recognized as an outstanding player throughout the season.  She was named to Team USA early this season and was starting point guard in the Pan-American Games.  In her career at UCSB, Johnson ranks in numerous categories including three-pointers and free throw percentage, top-20 in all-time scoring and on set to break the top-10 in career assist.

The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.  The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 60 candidates announced in November.

1,000 And Counting
Six current Big West players have eclipsed the 1,000-career point milestone.  Santiago leads the Big West Conference ranked nationally currently fifth in the nation in scoring (23.3 ppg), 23rd in rebounding (10.2) and 10th in field goal percentage (56.1).

Follow all six players as they climb the Big West rankings.

Name, School - points (Big West ranking)
Kristina Santiago, Cal Poly - 1,693 (T16th)
Megan Richardson, Cal State Fullerton - 1,599 (23rd)
Jasmine Erving, Cal State Northridge - 1,370 (42nd)
Emilie Johnson, UC Santa Barbara - 1,214 (T62nd)
Lauren Chow, Cal State Fullerton - 1,099 (85th)
Kasey Riecks, UC Davis - 1,020 (104th)

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 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. 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.