CSUN No. 1, Rest Of League Fights For Women's Hoops Final Seeds
Big West Women's Basketball Release No. 18
Cal State Northridge has wrapped up the #1 seed in next week's Big West Women's Basketball Tournament, but the rest of the field will be fighting for position during the final games of the regular season this week.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
For Openers: Cal Poly split its two home games last week, a 77-69 setback to UC Davis and an overtime win over UC Irvine, 92-87.
Tournament Forecast: The Mustangs can earn a share of the Big West title with a win this week and a Cal State Northridge loss. However Cal Poly can only climb as high the #2 seed.
Bench Mob: After scoring just 13 points against UC Davis, the Mustangs’ bench contingent contributed 43 points in the win over UC Irvine. Sophomore Beth Balbierz and junior Kristen Ale each supplied 17 points, hitting a combined 7-for-13 from three-point land.
The Numbers Game...61: The Mustangs collected a season-high 61 rebounds against the Anteaters, just two shy of the Big West season high. The conference record for rebounds in a single game is 80, done twice by a pair of former members, San Diego State and Pacific.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
For Openers: Cal State Fullerton picked up a key road split in Big West play last week, losing to Cal State Northridge, 79-59, and defeating Long Beach State, 71-55. The Titans now stand at 7-7 in league play with two games remaining.
Iwuoha Returns: Junior Kathleen Iwuoha returned to the CSF lineup after a two game absence against CSUN, but struggled with four points and four rebounds in her 31 minutes. Iwuoha bounced back against the 49ers with a career-high 25 points and season-best 12 rebounds in 40 minutes.
Thomas Pours It On: Senior Alex Thomas scored 27 points against the Matadors, just one game after scoring a career-best 29 against UC Santa Barbara.
The Numbers Game...6: Thomas has played all 40 minutes in six straight games and eight of her last 11 contests. That doesn’t include the 45 minutes she played in an overtime game against UC Davis February 13.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
For Openers: Cal State Northridge earned a share of the Big West title thanks to two home wins last week. CSUN downed Cal State Fullerton, 79-59, and UC Riverside, 77-75.
Topping The Field: The Matadors have claimed the top seed in next week’s Big West Tournament, earning a bye to the semifinals on Friday, March 14. It’s the first #1 seed for the program in its Big West tenure, topping the #2 seed the program picked up in 2012.
Sprinkle Of Cinnamon From Three: Junior Cinnamon Lister nailed a career-best seven three pointers against the Titans, then followed that up with three more against the Highlanders. In all, Lister his 10-of-17 from beyond the arc over the two games.
The Numbers Game...11: Cal State Northridge has matched the most wins in program history during Big West play with 11.
LONG BEACH STATE
For Openers: Long Beach State lost a pair of Big West games last week to fall to 7-7 in conference play. LBSU fell on the road to Hawai’i, 82-71, then were defeated by a 71-55 margin at home against Cal State Fullerton. The 49ers are now tied for fifth with two other clubs with two games remaining.
Kim Joins The Club: Freshman Anna Kim just missed her career-high with 20 points against the Rainbow Wahine. Kim joins classmate Raven Benton (4) and junior Alex Sanchez (2) as the third LBSU player to register multiple 20-point games.
Alex Hits The Hardwood: Sanchez saw her first action since January 18 last weekend, missing eight games in all due to injury. She played 11 minutes against UH, scoring two points and adding a rebound. Sanchez upped her minutes to 24 against the Titans, scoring 10 points to go along with a pair of assists and three rebounds.
The Numbers Game...9: Long Beach State had nine players see action against CSF. The last time LBSU had that many in a game was January 18 against Cal Poly.
For Openers: UC Davis extended its win streak to three with a pair of wins in the Central Coast a week ago. The Aggies defeated Cal Poly, 77-69, and UC Santa Barbara, 65-47. UCD is now 8-6 and fourth in the standings.
Marfone In The Clutch: Sophomore Celia Marfone had a big day against the Mustangs, scoring 12 points and pulling down a career-best 12 rebounds. She hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:24 left and a conventional three-point play on the next Aggie offensive possession to lead a late spur a late comeback.
Perfect Molly: Sophomore Molly Greubel was perfect from all angles of the floor against the Gauchos. She hit all four of her field goal attempts, including her lone three-point attempt, and was 5-for-5 from the foul line on the way to a 14-point effort.
The Numbers Game...6: The Cal Poly game was the sixth in a row for the Aggies decided by single digits. The club was 3-3 over that span.
For Openers: UC Irvine went 1-1 in its two-game Central Coast road swing. The Anteaters defeated UC Santa Barbara by a 77-73 score, then fell in overtime to Cal Poly by a 92-87 final. UCI is now 7-7 in the Big West, tied for fifth with two other clubs going into the final weekend of the regular season.
Aguilar At Will: Senior Vanessa Aguilar had another big day beyond the arc against UCSB, hitting a career-best five three-pointers in nine tries on her way to 17 points. She leads the team and is tied for eighth in the Big West in made threes with 44.
Meggs Breaks Out: Senior Kelly Meggs scored a season-high 22 points against the Mustangs, hitting 7-of-13 from the floor, 5-of-10 from deep and all three of her free throw attempts. It was her first double figure scoring game since November 30 against North Dakota State.
The Numbers Game...5: UC Irvine’s 14 wins is a five-game improvement over last season. It is also the most wins for the team since 2010-11.
For Openers: UC Riverside dropped its lone game of the week, a 77-75 decision on the road against league-leading Cal State Northridge.
Seven And Counting: Sophomore Brittany Crain scored 20 points against the Matadors, upping her consecutive double digit scoring string to seven.
Simone’s Boards: Freshman Simone DeCoud has been hitting the boards with vigor over the past four games, averaging 7.5 over that span. DeCoud upped her output in each game, grabbing five, seven, eight and 10 rebounds.
The Numbers Game...18.9: Crain has been a model of consistency this season, averaging 18.9 points in Big West play and overall.
UC SANTA BARBARA
For Openers: UC Santa Barbara lost two Big West games at home last week, falling to UC Irvine, 77-73, and UC Davis, 65-47. The Gauchos are 3-11 in the Big West with a pair of games this week to close out the regular season.
Watkins On The Boards: Junior Clair Watkins picked up her second straight double digit rebound game against the Anteaters, pulling down 11 caroms. She also just narrowly missed her second straight double double as she scored nine points.
Zornig Takes Care Of It: Senior Melissa Zornig is known for her shooting, but is also a solid ball handler. Zornig has not turned over the ball more than twice in any of her past three games and had no turnovers against UCD.
The Numbers Game...8: UC Santa Barbara can finish no higher than eighth in the standings this season. That would be the first time the Gauchos have finished in eighth since the 1985-86 campaign.
For Openers: Hawai’i played a single game last week, an 82-71 Big West win at home over Long Beach State. The victory gave UH (9-5) sole possession of third place in the league standings.
Kailiawa Battling Down Low: Senior Pua Kailiawa picked up her first career double double with career highs in points (13) and rebounds (10) against the 49ers. Kailiawa has started five of the past six games and is averaging 6.3 points and 3.8 rebounds during that span.
The Talented Ms. Haydel: Senior Sydney Haydel is the lone UH player to start all 26 games this year and is one of two players on the club to average 30 minutes a night (30.8). She is also averaging career-highs in points (6.1), rebounds (3.5) and assists (1.2).
The Numbers Game...10.7: Hawai’i leads the Big West during conference play with a +10.7 margin in the rebound department.