Six Seeds Up For Grabs Heading Into Final Weekend
Links associated with this release:
This Week In The Big West
Big West Women's Basketball Weekly Release No. 17
The final weekend of the women's basketball season will hold plenty of intrigue as six of the eight seeds for next week's Big West Tournament are up for grabs. They all will be chasing UC Riverside for the title as the Highlanders claimed the #1 seed for the first time since 2007.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
CAL POLY (14-14, 7-8 Big West)
For Openers: Cal Poly kept its hopes for a top-five seed alive last week, losing to Long Beach State at home, 61-56, but rebounding to defeat UC Santa Barbara at home, 66-60. The Mustangs have a single game this week, a road trip to Hawai’i, and need some help to move up in the final standings.
The Big Three: The Mustangs have won three of their last four and the play of sophomore guard Dynn Leaupepe, junior forward Hannah Gilbert and senior guard Beth Balbierz has been key. The trio is averaging 51.5 points per game over that stretch, with Leaupepe putting up 19.5, Balbierz 17.8 and Gilbert 14.3.
Close But No Double: Gilbert ranks fourth in the Big West with seven double-doubles, but hasn’t recorded one since January 28 against UC Riverside. Gilbert has come close since then as she has recorded five double figure scoring games and one double figure rebounding total.
The Numbers Game...37.3%: Cal Poly leads the Big West in opponents’ field goal percentage at 37.3%.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (3-25, 1-13 Big West)
For Openers: Cal State Fullerton fell in its lone game last week, a home contest against Hawai’i by a 70-50 score. CSF enters the last two games of the regular season fighting for the #8 seed in the upcoming Big West Tournament, as it hosts CSUN and travels to UC Riverside.
The Way In: The Titans have a shot to play themselves in the Tournament, but in the chance they tie with UC Irvine with one Big West win apiece, the final spot will be decided by coin toss.
Sami The Scorer: Junior guard Samantha Logan supplied most of the offense against UH, scoring a season-high 20 points. Logan is averaging 17.5 points over her last two outings, the first time all season she has scored in double figures in back-to-back games.
The Numbers Game...20.9: Cal State Fullerton leads the Big West in three-pointers attempted per game, putting up an average of 20.9 shots from beyond the arc.
CSUN (6-22, 4-10 Big West)
For Openers: CSUN went 0-2 last week, falling to UC Riverside at home, 84-62, and losing to UC Davis on the road, 57-50. The Matadors will wrap up their regular season slate with another split weekend, visiting Cal State Fullerton and hosting Long Beach State.
All Figured Out: CSUN will enter the Big West Tournament as the #7 seed, facing off against either UC Santa Barbara or Cal Poly at 8:30pm on Tuesday, March 8 at the Bren Events Center at UC Irvine. The Matadors, who are the two-time defending Big West Tournament champion, have their lowest seed at the tourney since 2009 (#8).
No Fluke Here: Freshman center Channon Fluker picked up her 10th double-double of the season against the Highlanders, with all but one coming during conference play. Fluker is averaging 17.1 points and 12.2 rebounds during Big West play.
The Numbers Game...80.8%: Senior forward Jasmine Johnson is one of three players in the Big West to shoot 80% or better from the foul line, ranking third at 80.8%.
LONG BEACH STATE (21-7, 10-4 Big West)
For Openers: Long Beach State picked up a pair of key wins last week, defeating Cal Poly on the road, 61-56, and UC Irvine at home, 67-49. The 49ers will have another split week to end the 2015-16 campaign, hosting UC Davis before visiting CSUN.
Raven Is Grand: Junior guard Raven Benton scored only five points against the Mustangs, but those five pushed her over 1,000 for her LBSU career. Benton is the 24th player to reach the milestone and 12th-fastest to have done so, passing the point in her 83rd career game.
First Time Since: The Beach reached a couple of benchmarks they haven’t in a while over the weekend. The club has won 20 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1990-92. The 49ers also have reached double digit wins in conference play for the first time since 2005-06.
The Numbers Game...12: Long Beach State has recorded 12 steals in back-to-back games. This is on the heels of a three-game stretch where the club did not record double digit steals.
UC DAVIS (16-11, 9-5 Big West)
For Openers: UC Davis wrapped up its home schedule with a win last week, defeating CSUN, 57-50. The Aggies have a key two game road week to wrap up the regular reason, visiting Long Beach State and UC Irvine.
20 Two Times: Senior forward Alyson Doherty picked up her second 20-point game of the season, putting up exactly that number in 34 minutes against the Matadors. She connected on a season-high nine field goals in 12 attempts.
Added Dimension: Senior forward Celia Marfone leads the Big West in three-point field goal percentage at 43.0% (37-86). Marfone had previously not connected on better than 33.3% from three in any of her first three seasons, and had a total of 37 made threes entering the 2015-16 campaign.
The Numbers Game...2: Doherty’s point total passed her head coach Jennifer Gross for eighth on the all-time Aggie scoring list. She is the second player under Gross to pass her on the UCD career scoring chart.
UC IRVINE (4-24, 1-13 Big West)
For Openers: UC Irvine lost a pair on the road last week, falling to UC Santa Barbara, 66-37, and Long Beach State, 67-49. UCI wraps up the 2015-16 regular season at home against UC Riverside and UC Davis.
The Way In: The Anteaters have a shot to play themselves in the Tournament, but in the chance they tie with Cal State Fullerton with one Big West win apiece, the final spot will be decided by coin toss.
Dee For Three: Sophomore guard Jenny Dee came off the bench to record three three-pointers on her way to a team-high13 points. Both numbers were career-highs and the first time Dee had recorded a double-digit scoring effort.
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 (21-7, 14-0 Big West)
For Openers: UC Riverside picked up two wins last week, defeating CSUN on the road, 84-62, and Hawai’i at home, 81-77. This week UCR will finish up the regular season looking to go undefeated in conference play, visiting UC Irvine and hosting Cal State Fullerton.
The All-Time Best: Senior guard Brittany Crain scored 21 points against the Matadors, putting her at the top of the Highlander program career scoring record. With another 21 points against the Rainbow Wahine, Crain now stands with 2,214 points which is fourth on the all-time Big West scoring list. Crain reaching the top five is notable since no Big West player has reached the top five scorers in league history since 2000.
Long Time Coming: The win over UH gave UCR the outright Big West title for the first time since 2006-07. That was also the last time the program had a 20-win season, which was the first time the team won 20 games in its DI era.
The Numbers Game...2: With two wins this weekend UC Riverside will be the first team since UC Santa Barbara in 2001-02 to go undefeated in conference play.
UC SANTA BARBARA (11-18, 8-7 Big West)
For Openers: UC Santa Barbara went 1-1 last week, defeating UC Irvine at home, 66-37, and losing to rival Cal Poly on the road, 66-60. UCSB will play a single game on the road this week, visiting Hawai’i Thursday night.
Senior Day: Senior guard Jasmine Ware had a day to remember in her final home game as a Gaucho, recording 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in 24 minutes against the Anteaters. Even more impressive was that Ware didn’t commit a turnover or foul in the game.
A Helping Hand: Junior guard Onome Jemerigbe ranks fifth in the Big West in assists, ranking 4.1 per game. Jemerigbe has recorded four or more assists in six of her last eight games, including a career-high 11 against Cal State Fullerton on February 3.
The Numbers Game...8: UC Santa Barbara’s eight wins in conference play are the most for the club since 2012-13 (11).
HAWAI'I (17-10, 10-4 Big West)
For Openers: Hawai’i picked up a 1-1 record in its final regular season trip to the mainland, defeating Cal State Fullerton, 70-50, and losing to UC Riverside, 81-77. This week the ‘Bows will play two games as it looks to secure the #2 seed in the Big West Tournament, hosting UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly.
Moving Up The Charts: Senior guard/forward Destiny King picked up 11 points against the Titans, pushing her past the 1,000-point plateau. King became the 20th UH player to reach 1,000 career points.
Picking It Up From Deep: Senior guard Ashleigh Karaitiana has been on fire from beyond the arc in her last five games, shooting 50.0% (12-24). In the four games prior to that, Karaitiana was ice cold from deep, shooting just 1-for-15.
The Numbers Game...4: The Rainbow Wahine have won at least 10 games in Big West play in each of the four seasons since their return to the league.