#MARCHTOMARCH Begins In Earnest For Women's Basketball
Links associated with this release:
This Week In The Big West - January 5-11, 2015
Big West Women's Basketball Weekly Release No. 9
The race to the Big West title begins this week for women's hoops, highlighted by an ESPN3 showdown between UC Davis and defending champion CSUN.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
For Openers: Cal Poly wrapped up non-conference play with a 71-66 home win over Bakersfield. The Mustangs open up conference play Thursday at Mott Gym against Hawai’i, then travels to rival UC Santa Barbara Saturday.
Bench Mob: A strong bench effort keyed the win over the Roadrunners, outscoring their counterparts 32-6. Leading the way was junior Beth Balbierz who hit 5-of-7 from three-point land on her way to 15 points.
Rounding Into Form: The Mustangs offense has upped its shooting percentages from deep and the foul line after the season’s first two months. After shooting just 28.7% (31-108) from three and 60.2% (71-118) from the foul line in November, Cal Poly upped its three-point shooting to 40.0% (42-105) and foul shooting to 69.3% (61-88) in December. The club has also cut down its turnovers from 18.8 to 17.2 in that span.
The Numbers Game...36: Cal Poly 36 wins in conference play over the last three season, the most in the Big West.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
For Openers: Cal State Fullerton completed non-conference play with its first two-game win streak of the season. The Titans topped UMKC at home, 72-52, and Seattle on the road, 66-59. CSF opens up its Big West schedule with home date against UC Riverside in its lone game of the week.
Double Double-Double: The senior duo of Chante Miles and Kathleen Iwuoha finished up 2014 in style as they both recorded double-doubles against the Kangaroos. Miles put up 18 points and 12 assists, while Iwuoha recorded 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Sneaky 3s: Cal State Fullerton leads the league in three-pointers made (104) and attempts (312), while ranking fourth in three-point percentage (33.3). Their 8.0 made threes a game leads the Big West and is 22nd in the country. A year ago, CSF hit 6.8 threes per game and shot just 29.5% from beyond the arc.
The Numbers Game...12: Miles’ 12 assists are the most in a game in the league so far this season.
For Openers: CSUN snapped its two-game losing streak last week with a dominating road win over Seattle by an 86-63 score. The defending Big West regular season and Tournament champions open their title defense with a pair of home games against UC Davis and Hawai’i. The matchup against the Aggies will be national TV affair live on ESPN3.
Cinnamon Was Sweet: Senior Cinnamon Lister led the way against Redhawks with 21 points, hitting a season-high six three-pointers.
Not This Time: CSUN committed 20 turnovers in each of its previous two games and combined for 19 assists in those contests. The New Year was kind to the club as it recorded a season-best 26 assists and committed only eight turnovers against Seattle.
The Numbers Game...15: CSUN hit a program single-game tying 15 threes against SU, the first time this season the club has recorded double-digit threes in a contest.
LONG BEACH STATE
For Openers: Long Beach State did not play a game last week, but enter Big West play with the league’s best record at 13-1. It’s the best mark by a conference team entering the league derby since former member Pacific was 10-2 in the 2012-13 campaign. LBSU will kick things off with a pair of home contests against UC Irvine and UC Davis.
More D From The Beach: The 49ers lead the conference in scoring defense (60.1), opponents’ three-point percentage (21.9) and steals per game (10.6). Among the national leaders, LBSU is third in three-point percentage defense and 51st in steals per game.
Who’s Turn Is It: Depth has been key to Long Beach State’s fortunes this season. Only two players average double figures (Raven Benton - 11.1; Anna Kim - 10.7) but nine average at least 17.3 minutes a game and eight have started at least twice.
The Numbers Game...11: Long Beach State’s 11 straight wins is the most in the league since UC Santa Barbara won 10 in a row during the 2008-09 season. It’s also the most for LBSU since the 1990-91 team won 16 in a row.
For Openers: UC Davis opened up the New Year with a 77-56 win over Menlo College. The Aggies will be on the road for its first two Big West contests, heading to the top two teams in the standings in CSUN and Long Beach State. The matchup against the Matadors will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
Shoooooter: Senior Kelsey Harris leads the Big West and the NCAA in three-point field goal percentage at 53.2% (33-62). Harris is truly a three-point specialist as 62 of her 71 shots have come from behind the three-point line.
Shaking Off The Rust: UCD shook off the long layoff and posted some impressive ball control stats. The club tied a season-high with 22 assists and committed a season-low 11 turnovers.
The Numbers Game...4: UC Davis will play four of its first seven Big West games on the road.
For Openers: UC Irvine recorded a 78-72 home win over Concordia in its final non-conference game. The ‘Eaters will start Big West play on the road with trips to league-leading Long Beach State and UC Riverside.
Five Were Alive: A season high five players scored in double figures against the Eagles, led by senior Methlyn Onogomuho’s career-high tying 20 points. Sophomore Irene Chavez was next with 12, senior Madison McKenney and sophomore Shereen Sutherland each had 11 and sophomore Mokun Fajemisin rounded out the scoring brigade with 10.
Back To Methlyn: Onogomuho added a lot more than scoring against Concordia. She recorded a double-double thanks to a career-best 15 rebounds and added a game-high three steals.
The Numbers Game...3: UC Irvine is looking to snap a three-game losing streak in its first game of the conference season.
For Openers: UC Riverside started the New Year with an impressive 81-38 home win over UMKC. UCR will look to continue the momentum during its opening Big West weekend, traveling to Cal State Fullerton and hosting UC Irvine.
Curry’s Double: Down two starters against the Kangaroos, freshman Michelle Curry picked up her game in a big way. Curry nearly recorded a triple double, putting up 14 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. For good measure, Curry added six steals and committed only one turnover in 37 minutes.
Take Care: UC Riverside leads the Big West and ranks 14th in the NCAA in turnover margin at +6.5. They also share the ball among the nation’s best, ranking 34th with a Big West leading 16.5 assists per game.
The Numbers Game...7: Junior Brittany Crain leads the Big West and is seventh in the country in scoring at 23.1 points per game.
UC SANTA BARBARA
For Openers: UC Santa Barbara sits at 0-13 on the season after losing a pair of road games around the New Year. The Gauchos fell to Seattle, 66-46, then fell to Bakersfield by a 74-64 margin. UCSB will have just one game this week, its Big West conference opener against rival Cal Poly in the friendly confines of the Thunderdome.
New Year, New Offense: UCSB sported a new starting lineup against the Roadrunners and the squad responded with its best offensive effort of the season. The team scored a season-best 64 points, the first time the club broke the 60-point barrier, and shot a season-high 48.1%. The Gauchos were also money at the foul line with a 90.9% (10-11) conversion rate.
Durr’s Big Night: Freshman Chaya Durr had the best performance of her young career against Bakersfield. Durr hit 6-of-11 from the field for a personal-best 15 points and added a career-high tying eight rebounds in her second start of the season.
The Numbers Game...42: UC Santa Barbara scored a season-high 42 points in the paint against CSUB.
For Openers: Hawai’i picked up a pair of wins at home to close its non-conference schedule. UH defeated Hawai’i Pacific, 76-68, and UNC-Greensboro, 74-54. The Rainbow Wahine head back to the mainland this week its first two games of Big West play, taking on Cal Poly and defending champion CSUN.
‘Bows Ahead Of The Pack: Hawai’i leads the Big West in several categories after a solid run in non-conference play. UH is tops in points per game (72.4), rebounding (43.5) and scoring margin (5.2). The Rainbow Wahine also rebounded 38.4% of its misses, the best percentage in the Big West by nearly four percentage points.
One More Run Through: Sixth-year senior Shawna-Lei Kuehu is entering her final conference season playing the best ball of her career. She is averaging 13.5 points and 7.4 rebounds, both career-high numbers. Kuehu’s ranks in the Big West include No. 7 in scoring, No. 3 in rebound average, and No. 8 in steals (20). She leads the conference in defensive rebounds (5.38 per game) and is tops on UH with 19 blocked shots and second on the team with 35 assists.
The Numbers Game...3: Hawai’i won its first three road games of the season for the first time since 2005-06.