Cal State Northridge Preseason Favorite For 2012-13 Title
Files associated with this release:
2012-13 Big West WBB Preseason Poll/All-Conference
Cal State Northridge is tabbed this year’s favorite to claim the 2012-13 Big West Women’s Basketball Championship, according to the Big West women’s basketball preseason poll voted on by the media. The upstart program picked up six first-place votes en route to a 161 point total.
Just two points back after receiving five first-place votes and a 159 point total is Pacific. The 2011-12 defending Big West Tournament Champions, UC Santa Barbara, followed in third place with three top votes and a 153 points.
Last season the Matadors had a season to remember after vaulting from last place to second place in the Big West in just one season. Their impressive feat tied them for first in the nation for the best win-differential records in the NCAA Division I conference last season. Cal State Northridge posted four total wins during the 2010-11 season under first-year head coach Jason Flowers, but just one year later the Matador women tallied 17 wins in 2012-13. Their efforts earned them a berth into the Big West Conference Basketball Tournament for the first time since the 2008-09 season and the highest tournament seed in program history. In order to live up to the high expectations, Cal State Northridge will need to fill the void of Big West First Team member Jasmine Erving,who averaged 14.9 points per game during the 2011-12 season to bump her to 1,523 career points, claiming the 27th spot in Big West all-time scoring. What the Matadors do have returning is quite impressive on its own with both the 2011-12 Big West Freshman of the Year Janae Sharpe and 2011-12 Big West Coach of the Year Jason Flowers representing the black and red this season. Joining the duo are honorable mention all-conference members Ashlee Guay, who led the league in assists and ranked second in steals, and Violet Alama who finished ninth in the conference in rebounding. In all, the Matadors return four starters and eight letterwinners.
The Pacific Tigers look to continue where they left off last season, winning the program’s first-ever postseason game to advance to the second round of the Women’s NIT. Pacific concluded the 2011-12 season with an overall record of 18-14 while tying for third in the Big West with a 9-7 mark. Head coach Lynne Roberts, who enters her seventh season with the Pacific Tigers, welcome back three All-Big West selections in senior forward Kendall Rodriguez (First Team), senior guard Erica McKenzie (Honorable Mention) and sophomore forward Kendall Kenyon (All-Freshman Team). Last season Rodriguez ranked in the Big West’s top ten in both scoring (13.0 PPG) and rebounding (7.7 RPG) while McKenzie placed seventh in assists with a 3.2 average.
UC Santa Barbara captured its first Big West Tournament Championship since 2009 under first-year head coach Carlene Mitchell. Led by Emilie Johnson, the Gauchos finished sixth in the conference standings at 8-8 while posting an overall mark of 17-16. This year they will be without Johnson, who averaged 9.5 points per game to lead the Gauchos in scoring. Johnson was named to the All-Big West Second Team and was one of the Top 10 nationwide finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Despite losing their top scorer from a season ago, UC Santa Barbara brings back eight letterwinners, including three starters - senior forward Sweets Underwood, senior forward/center Kirsten Tillman and senior guard Destini Mason. Tilleman led the squad and ranked second in the league with an 8.4 rebounds per game average, while Underwood was second on the team in rebounding (7.0 RPG) and third in scoring (7.7 PPG).
Finishing fourth in the preseason poll is 2009-10 and 2010-11 Big West Champion Cal Poly, who received one first-place vote and 127 total points. The Mustangs have a rather large hurdle in front of them for the upcoming season with the graduation of two-time Big West Player of the Year Kristina Santiago. Santiago was explosive both on offense and defense, pacing the league in scoring (23.4 PPG), field goal percentage (.555) and rebounding (9.9 RPG). She finished her career with the most career points in school history (1,924) and claimed the eighth spot in the Big West annals. Look for All-Big West Second Teamer Kayla Griffin and All-Big West Honorable Mention Team member Jonae Ervin to step up to the challenge. Griffin was second on the team and seventh in the league in rebounding with a 6.6 average, while Ervin ranked fourth in assists (3.62 APG) and fifth in free throw percentage (.762).
Long Beach State placed fifth after picking up one-first place vote and a 116 point total. Newcomer Hawai’i earned the sixth slot with 81 points and UC Davis found themselves one point back in seventh place. The Highlanders of UC Riverside grabbed the eighth spot with 74 points and was followed by UC Irvine (65) and Cal State Fullerton (29).
The media also voted on a six-player preseason all-conference team that included Kayla Griffin (Cal Poly), Ashlee Guay (Cal State Northridge), Kamilah Martin (Hawai’i), Tre’Shonti Nottingham (UC Riverside), Kendall Rodriguez (Pacific) and Janae Sharpe (Cal State Northridge).
Media Poll Results
1. Cal State Northridge (6) - 161
2. Pacific (5) - 159
3. UC Santa Barbara (3) - 153
4. Cal Poly (1) - 127
5. Long Beach State (1) - 116
6. Hawai’i - 81
7. UC Davis - 80
8. UC Riverside - 74
9. UC Irvine - 65
10. Cal State Fullerton - 29
( ) First-place votes
2012-13 Preseason All-Conference Team
Name (School), Position, Year
Kayla Griffin (Cal Poly), Guard, Senior
Ashlee Guay (Cal State Northridge), Guard, Sophomore
Kamilah Martin (Hawai’i), Forward, Junior
Tre’ Shonti Nottingham (UC Riverside), Guard, Senior
Kendall Rodriguez (Pacific), Forward, Senior
Janae Sharpe (Cal State Northridge), Guard, Sophomore