UC Riverside Hosts Hawai'i In Late Season 1-2 Clash
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This Week In The Big West - February 22-28, 2016
Big West Women's Basketball Weekly Release No. 16
With two weeks to go before the Big West Tournament, a matchup of the top two teams in the standings looms as Hawai'i takes on UC Riverside at the SRC Arena. Its one of several big games as clubs jockey for seeding.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
CAL POLY (13-13, 6-7 Big West)
For Openers: Cal Poly snapped a two-game losing streak last week, picking up two key road wins heading into the stretch run. The Mustangs defeated Cal State Fullerton, 63-57, and CSUN, 77-66. This week the club looks to keep the momentum going as it plays Long Beach State and Hawai’i in its final two games at Mott Gym this season.
Beth On Fire: Senior guard Beth Balbierz is catching fire at the right time for the Mustangs, averaging 21.0 points per game over the last three outings. She has recorded three consecutive 20-point outings for the first time in her collegiate career.
Upping The Defense: Cal Poly’s defense has been turned up of late, allowing just 61.4 points over its last five outings. The team has made it tough for opposition all year as it leads the Big West in opponents’ field goal percentage at 37.2%.
The Numbers Game...7: The Mustangs broke 70 points for the seventh time this season.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (3-24, 1-12 Big West)
For Openers: Cal State Fullerton went 1-1 last week, losing to Cal Poly at home, 63-57, and defeating Cal State Fullerton on the road, 66-53. The Titans play a single game this week, a home contest live on ESPN3 against Hawai’i.
Sami Does It All: Junior guard Sami Logan had her hands all over the win against UCI, putting up 15 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and handing out three assists before fouling out in 34 minutes. It was Logan’s first double-double of the sesson.
Craig Supplies The Rain: Freshman guard Dani Craig poured in 19 points against the Mustangs, one point off her career-high. Craig hit 5-of-7 from three-point land and all four of her free throws on the evening.
The Numbers Game...24: Cal State Fullerton’s win over the Anteaters snapped a 24-game losing string.
CSUN (6-20, 4-8 Big West)
For Openers: CSUN lost two games last week, a road contest against UC Santa Barbara, 70-58, and a home matchup against Cal Poly, 77-66. The Matadors have another split week as they take on UC Riverside at home and UC Davis on the road.
Boxing Out Didn’t Work: Freshman center Channon Fluker tied her career-high with 19 rebounds against the Gauchos, 15 of those coming on the offensive end. Fluker is seventh in the NCAA with an average of 5.0 offensive rebounds per outing.
Jasmine Hits 20: Senior forward Jasmine Johnson recorded 20 points against the Mustangs, the first time in her career that she hit that number. Johnson connected on a personal best eight free throws on the way to a career night.
The Numbers Game...19: After missing 19 games due to injury, sophomore guard Vanessa Garner returned against the Gauchos. She had a career-high 14 points the following game against Cal Poly.
LONG BEACH STATE (19-7, 8-4 Big West)
For Openers: Long Beach State picked up a split of Big West road games last week, losing to UC Riverside, 83-58, and beating UC Santa Barbara, 58-55. The 49ers face a big week as they travel to Cal Poly and host UC Irvine.
Raven Swoops In: Junior guard Raven Benton was the offense for LBSU, scoring 16 against the Highlanders and 19 against the Gauchos. With three more points, Benton would be the 24th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark.
That’s More Like It: The 49ers forced just 16 turnovers in the loss to UCR, but were more like themselves against UCSB with 23 forced turnovers. LBSU leads the league and ranks 16th in the NCAA with 21.1 turnovers forced per outing.
The Numbers Game...1: The Beach is one win away from 20 on the season. It would mark the first back-to-back 20 win seasons for the program since 1990-91 and 1991-92.
UC DAVIS (15-11, 8-5 Big West)
For Openers: UC Davis fell in a pair of contest to the league leaders last week, losing at Hawai’i, 70-50, and to UC Riverside at home, 90-76. The Aggies have one game this week, a contest against CSUN that will be the final home game of the 2015-16 season for the club.
20 More: Freshman forward Morgan Bertsch scored 22 points against UH, then followed that up with 21 points against the Highlanders. It was her eighth 20-point game and third back-to-back 20 point effort of the season.
Give It, They’ll Make It: UC Davis is one of three programs in the Big West to have attempted 500 three-pointers (501) on the season, but the lone club among that trio shooting 35% (35.1) from beyond the arc.
The Numbers Game...2: Senior forward Alyson Doherty needs 17 points to pass head coach Jennifer Gross for eighth on the all-time Aggie scoring list. She would be the second player under Gross to pass her on the UCD career scoring chart.
UC IRVINE (4-22, 1-11 Big West)
For Openers: UC Irvine dropped its only game last week, a home contest against Cal State Fullerton, 66-53. The Anteaters hit the road for two games this week, taking on UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State.
Blue Collar Work: Junior forward Mokun Fajemisin did all the little things against the Titans, putting up six points, seven rebounds, five blocks, two assists and a steal in 35 minutes. It marked her fourth straight game with at least two blocks.
Home Cookin: The ‘Eaters have been a more efficient offensive club at home than on the road, averaging 61.8 points and shooting 38.2% in the Bren Events Center. Away from home, UCI is averaging just 54.1 points per game on 32.5% from the floor.
The Numbers Game...1.000: Senior guard Raelyn Cheung-Sutton is perfect during conference play from the free throw line, going 25-for-25.
UC RIVERSIDE (19-7, 12-0 Big West)
For Openers: UC Riverside picked up two more wins last week, defeating Long Beach State at home, 83-58, and UC Davis on the road, 90-76. The Highlanders play two pivotal games this week as they travel to CSUN and host Hawai’i.
Looking Ahead: UCR’s two wins last week clinched a bye to the semifinals for the club in the upcoming Big West Tournament. One win this week would clinch at least a share of the Big West crown for the first time since 2007.
Much Needed Streak: With the Highlanders decimated by injury, Réjane Verin is on a much needed double-double streak. Verin has four double-doubles in a row, averaging 17.0 points and 11.3 rebounds during that stretch.
The Numbers Game...10: UC Riverside is one of 10 schools that ranks in the top 20 nationally in field goal percentage (11th - 46.7%) and three-point percentage (19th - 36.6%).
UC SANTA BARBARA (10-17, 7-6 Big West)
For Openers: UC Santa Barbara split its two home games last week, defeating CSUN, 70-58, and losing a tight battle to Long Beach State, 58-55. This week UCSB hosts UC Irvine in its final appearance in the Thunderdome this season, then travels to rival Cal Poly.
She’ll Do That Too: Sophomore guard Makala Roper was forced into the point guard role thanks to foul trouble against the Matadors and excelled in the role. Roper picked up a career-high eight assists to go along with 15 points.
Back On Track: Senior guard Jasmine Ware bounced back after a two-game slump, averaging 13.0 points on 52.4% shooting over the two games. In the two games prior, Ware put up only 4.0 points on 25.0% from the floor.
The Numbers Game...10: UC Santa Barbara has reached double-digit wins for the first time since the 2012-13 season.
HAWAI'I (16-9, 9-3 Big West)
For Openers: Hawai’i made the most of its one-game week as it defeated UC Davis at home, 70-50. UH has a key week as it hits the road to take on Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside.
King Of The Double: Senior guard/forward Destiny King picked up her first double-double of the season against the Aggies, putting up 13 points and 13 rebounds. King led the way as the ‘Bows outrebounded UCD, 42-30.
About That Defense II: The Rainbow Wahine will be sure to pack their defense for the roadtrip this week, as they lead the league during Big West play in field goal percentage defense (37.4%) and opponents’ points per game (55.8).
The Numbers Game...10, 1: Two players have their eyes on the record books as King is 10 points shy of 1,000 for her career, while senior guard Ashleigh Karaitiana is one three-pointer shy of tying for second on the all-time UH list. She has 127 and counting in her career.