Long Beach Overcomes Road Block To Defeat League Leader
Files associated with this release:
11-12 WBB Release 15.pdf
Long Beach State overcame road woes by beating league-leading Cal State Northridge at home last week for its only conference road win this season. Away from home Long Beach is 2-12 overall compared to a 8-2 at the Pyramid, and 1-5 in the Big West as visitors. This is the first road win for Long Beach since its nonconference matchup against Columbia in a nine-point win earlier this season.
In a double-overtime battle, Long Beach overcame Cal State Northridge by only three points. Both teams exchanged buckets for most of the first half as the 49ers went into the second half with only a one-point lead. In the first overtime both teams scored five points, sending it to the second overtime, where Long Beach was able to make a short run and come away with the win, 75-72, to put an end to road woes.
Unable to Overcome Double-Overtime
Cal State Northridge suffered its second conference home loss last week to Long Beach State in a double-overtime battle. Northridge is 7-3 overall from its home floor with only two conference losses at home, both of which have come from double-overtime matches, ending in a three- point loss or less.
The first loss came against Cal Poly where they came back from a four-point deficit after the first half against the Mustangs, but eventually lost by two in double-overtime. Last week against the 49ers, Northridge exchanged baskets with Long Beach to trail by one going into the second half. Despite the inability to pull out a win in double overtime, Northridge continues to be on top of the Big West standings with a record of 14-9 overall and 8-2 in Big West play after its single game appearance last week.
This past week, two teams walked away with a pair of victories to improve their overall and conference records, moving them up in Big West standings. Cal Poly (11-12, 7-3 Big West) has found themselves sitting in the second seed this week collecting its seventh conference win against Cal State Fullerton and a non-conference showing against Cal State Bakersfield. Leading the Mustangs was Kristina Santiago with her 12th double-double on the season, to rank tying for 12th nationally, while scoring 17 points with 10 rebounds against Fullerton for the 68-44 win. The Mustangs shot an overall 45 percent from the field, but were more impressive shooting 57 percent from the floor in the second half.
Pacific recorded two conference wins last week at home over UC Riverside and UC Irvine. The Tigers move up in the Big West, tying for third place in the conference standings (14-9, 7-4 Big West). Against Riverside, the Tigers held its opponent to their lowest half this season (15) while forcing 26 turnovers for the 63-46 win over the Highlanders. In their second conference contest against UC Irvine, the Tigers scored 53 second-half points to go up from a tie at the half, 87-63.
Ervin’s Helping Hands
Cal Poly’s starting gaurd Jonae Ervin had a total of 17 assists last week for the Mustangs. Against Cal State Fullerton, Ervin had eight assists, with only two turnovers, moving her to the top spot in NCAA standings for assists/turnover ratio (3.32).
Fullerton Unable To Finish
Cal State Fullerton has lost four straight in league play, with the last win coming against Long Beach State on January 28, 74-53. The Titans have struggled in conference play and have fallen in Big West standings with a pair of losses last week (9-15, 2-10 Big West).
Fullerton took it to the road last week after two home losses the week before, hoping to shake things up. But the Titans’ struggles continued last week, first against UC Santa Barbara and then Cal Poly. In its first outing against the Gauchos, Fullerton held on in the first half just trailing by three, but the Aggies showed up in the second taking the lead to finish the Titans with a 13-point lead, 52-39.
Just two days later Cal Poly continued to run down the Titans, only allowing two Titans to score in double figures for a 18-point lead and Fullerton losing 66-48. This past week Fullerton averaged 43.5 points while shooting 7-for-36 from the field.
Down To The Wire
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 50 conference games played up to this point, 19 of those games have been won by a deficit of five points or fewer. Four of the games have been sent into overtime, two being double-overtime games both at Cal State Northridge where it suffered the home loss by three points or fewer.
Cal State Northridge leads the conference in neck-in-neck matchups with six of their 11 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 six times, with their losses decided by less than four points in each defeat.
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.
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 sixth in the nation in scoring (22.9 ppg), tied for 23rd in rebounding (10) and 11th in field goal percentage (55.2).
Follow all six players as they climb the Big West rankings.
Name, School - points (Big West ranking)
Kristina Santiago, Cal Poly - 1,754 (T11th)
Megan Richardson, Cal State Fullerton - 1,640 (20th)
Jasmine Erving, Cal State Northridge - 1,448 (34th)
Lauren Chow, Cal State Fullerton - 1,245 (56th)
Emilie Johnson, UC Santa Barbara - 1,241 (T59rd)
Kasey Riecks, UC Davis - 1,034 (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.