Four Unbeatens Look To Continue Hot Starts
Big West Women's Basketball Weekly Release No. 2
Four clubs look to continue their hot starts after unbeaten runs through the first week of the season. Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Riverside and Hawai'i all sit at 2-0 in the standings.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
For Openers: Cal Poly opened up its season by going 1-1 at the Islanders Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Mustangs defeated host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 56-45, before falling to Texas Rio Grande Valley, 66-58. Cal Poly will play two road games in the Bay Area this weekend, taking on San Francisco and #21 California.
Now That’s A Start: Junior forward Hannah Gilbert controlled the paint in both contests, notching back-to-back double doubles to start the season. Gilbert recorded 17 points and 14 rebounds against the Islanders, then put up 13 points and 15 rebounds against the Vaqueros. Gilbert is now one double double shy of her total from the 2014-15 season.
Give It To Babz: Senior guard Beth Balbierz matched her career high with 21 points against TAMCC. She connected on five threes and shot 8-of-12 from the field overall.
The Numbers Game...11: Gilbert was one of 11 players in the country to record two double doubles in the first weekend of the season.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
For Openers: Cal State Fullerton is 2-0 for the first time in the Daron Park era, thanks to victories over Portland State at home, 84-69, and Loyola Marymount on the road, 75-73. The Titans will look to continue their hot start on the road against Pepperdine and at home against Weber State this weekend.
No Adjustment Needed: Freshman Michelle Berry has had a spectacular scoring start to her career, putting up 38 points against the Vikings and 24 against the Lions. Berry also showed exceptional stamina, playing 40 minutes in each contest.
Another Frosh: Freshman Jade Vega had her fingerprints all over the win over the Lions, scoring five of her 13 points in the final 10 seconds. Two of those points were the game-winning layup at the buzzer.
The Numbers Game...1: Only one player in the country scored more than Berry’s 38 in the opening weekend.
For Openers: CSUN struggled in its first two games, falling at home to Saint Mary’s, 93-59, and on the road to San Diego, 86-64. The Matadors will stay on the road as they look to right the ship, facing Idaho and Eastern Washington.
Efficiency For The Frosh: Freshman Nautica Morrow had a strong outing against the Toreros, putting up a team-high 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four steals and two assists in 25 minutes.
Showing The Form: Sophomore Jordan Smith has shown a deft shooting touch from deep in her first two games. Smith is 4-7 from three-point range, a 57.1% conversion rate. She leads the Matadors in threes made and is third in attempts.
The Numbers Game...4: CSUN has four international players on its roster, the most in the Big West.
LONG BEACH STATE
For Openers: Long Beach State blew away the competition in its first two contests of the season, defeating San Diego State, 74-54, and Portland State, 89-71, at home. The 49ers will hit the road for the first time this week, taking on Houston and LSU.
Jewelyn Was A Gem: Junior Jewelyn Sawyer started off her season on a high note, recording a career-best 20 points in the win over the Aztecs. She also showcased her all-around game with eight rebounds, four assists and two steals in 33 minutes. The 20 points were also the most by a 49er in a season opener since 2009.
Not MIssing Much: Freshman Chanterria Jackson was dialed in over the first two games, hitting 83.3% (10-12) from the field and 80.0% (4-5). She hit nine straight field goals to start her career before finally missing a shot in the seconc period against the Vikings.
The Numbers Game...5: Long Beach State is now 5-0 in season-opening games at the Walter Pyramid under Jody Wynn.
For Openers: UC Davis picked up a pair of home losses against Bay Area rivals, falling to #14 Stanford, 74-45, and Pacific, 66-53. UCD will have a road game against San Diego State Thursday then returns to host Air Force Monday.
Doherty Stands Tall: Senior Alyson Doherty led the way against the Cardinal with 10 points and 11 rebounds. The 11 boards were one shy of her career-best.
Sophomore Standout: Sophomore Rachel Nagel started her second season with a big effort against Stanford, scoring a team-high 18 points to go along with five rebounds and four three-pointers. Nagel was just two points shy of her career-high.
The Numbers Game...78: Doherty is just 78 points shy of 1,000 for her career.
For Openers: UC Irvine opened up its season in front of its home fans last week, but could not get a win over St. John’s by an 85-63 score. UCI will hit the road this week, facing off against Southern Utah and UNLV.
Worth The Wait: Junior Mckenzie Piper scored 16 points against the Red Storm, her first game as an Anteater after transferring from Illinois. Piper also added five rebounds and an assist in 25 minutes.
DIsh By Raelyn: Senior Raelyn Cheung-Sutton led the Big West in assists last season and looks primed to repeat that stat this season. She picked up six assists against St. John’s and committed only a pair of turnovers.
The Numbers Game...4: The matchup against the Thunderbirds is the first of four straight on the road for the ‘Eaters. They will then return to the Bren for four straight home games starting with Northern Arizona on December 4.
For Openers: UC Riverside had two impressive wins to kick off the 2015-16 campaign, defeating Fresno State at home, 86-68, and San Diego State on the road, 85-68. UCR has a difficult pair of road games this week, facing off against #21 California and #7 Oregon State.
The Big 3: The Highlander trio of seniors Brittany Crain and Annelise Ito and junior Rejane Verin have already made their mark in the scoring column. Verin leads the way at 19.5 points, Ito is second at 18.5 and Crain, last season’s Big West scoring champ, is putting up 17.0.
Cookin’ From Three: UCR was red hot from three over its first two games, shooting 44.0% (11-25). Four players have hit at least two buckets from deep, led by four from Crain.
The Numbers Game...80: UC Riverside was the only team in the Big West to put up 80+ points in each of its first two games.
UC SANTA BARBARA
For Openers: UC Santa Barbara lost its first two games of the season last week, falling to Washington State, 61-44, and Idaho, 64-42. UCSB plays its home opener Thursday against CSU Bakersfield, then hits the road for a Pac-12 matchup against Oregon.
A-Ware Of Everything: Senior Jasmine Ware has been all over the stat sheet for the Gauchos, averaging 9.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 28.0 minutes per game.
Top Reserve: Sophomore Makala Roper has been a great option off the bench, averaging 9.5 points and 3.5 rebounds over the first two contests.
The Numbers Game...13.0: UC Santa Barbara is third in the Big West in offensive rebounds per game with 13.0.
For Openers: Hawai’i had a successful road trip to open up the season, defeating Grand Canyon, 74-41, and Northern Arizona, 61-52. The Rainbow Wahine will return home for the Rainbow Wahine Classic this weekend, hosting Loyola Marymount and Washington State.
Grand Opening: UH overwhelmed the Antelopes in the season opener, posting a 33-point victory. It was the largest margin of victory for the program in a season-opener since a 38-point win over St. Bonaventure at the start of the 1997-98 season.
Same Ol Story: Hawai’i continued its reputation as one of the top rebounding teams in the country over the first two games. The club leads the Big West with 45.0 rebounds and 34.5 defensive rebounds per game.
The Numbers Game...14: Sophomore Sarah Toeaina scored a career-high 14 points in both UH wins.