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Women's Basketball

Conference Unbeatens Look To Continue Strong Starts


Big West Women's Basketball Weekly Release No. 10


Three of the four teams to win conference openers will be in action this week, looking to continue the momentum from last weekend's victories. One matchup will pit two victorious squads from last weekend as CSUN heads south to take on UC Irvine. UC Davis looks to move to 2-0 in league play as it makes the long trek to Hawai'i, while Long Beach State opens its league schedule with a road date against UC Riverside on Thursday. One of the league's top rivalries will also take center stage as UC Santa Barbara visits Cal Poly in the first Green/Gold game of the 2019 campaign.


Big West Celebrates 50/35
The 2018-19 season marks the 50th anniversary for men’s sports in the Big West Conference, and the 35th for women’s.  All season long, the Big West Conference will celebrate the history of all conference sports.  Join us as we pay homage to the student-athletes, coaches, staffs, communities and fans who have helped pave the way.

• Before the race to 2,000 points started for two players this year, the list of 2,000-point scorers in the Big West numbered at seven. The last player to reach the mark was UC Riverside’s Brittany Crain, a sharpshooter who scored 2,326 points from 2012-16. Not only is Crain the fourth-leading scorer in league history, she also owns the eighth highest per-game scoring average (19.5) in conference lore.

• UC Irvine has never won the Big West regular season title, but the Anteaters did go on one of the most memorable Big West Tournament runs of all-time. The 1994-95 team, led by head coach Colleen Matsuhara, beat Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton and Pacific to earn the lone NCAA Tournament appearance in school history.

2000 (And 1) Reasons To Celebrate
UC Davis forward Morgan Bertsch added another highlight to her distinguished career last weekend, reaching the 2,000-point plateau. Needing 30 points to reach the mark, Bertsch put up 31 points against UC Riverside to help the Aggies to a win in both teams’ Big West opener. The senior’s 2,001 career points is the eight-most all-time in Big West lore, while her 23.3 scoring average this season is the fifth-best figure in the country.

A Grand Achievement
Cal State Fullerton senior Daeja Smith also found plenty to celebrate in the Titans’ Big West opening win over Hawai’i. The senior scored 13 points in the victory, pushing her past 1,000 points for her career. The center is the 24th player in CSF history to reach the mark and the 145th player to do so in Big West history.

Instant Offense
Going into the Big West opener against Cal State Fullerton, Hawai’i sophomore forward Amy Atwell had played just 62 minutes and attempted 17 shots. Atwell exploded for the ‘Bows against the Titans, putting up a career-high 25 points in only 16 minutes. Atwell hit 9-of-11 from the floor, 4-of-5 from three-point land and 3-of-3 from the foul line in her big night. Atwell had only scored 15 points in her nine previous games this season and had not put up a double-digit scoring effort before her outburst.

Iron Women
Five players in the league aren’t too used to time on the sidelines as they average a minimum of 34.8 minutes per game. Cal State Fullerton’s Raina Perez leads that group at 35.9 minutes per contest, with Long Beach State’s Justina King (35.1), Cal Poly’s Dye Stahley (34.9) and the UC Riverside duo of Tianna Eaton (34.9) and Marina Ewodo (34.8) right behind her. In all 12 players average 30 minutes or more in the league, three more than last season.

Here’s a look where UC Davis’ Morgan Bertsch and CSUN’s Channon Fluker stand on the league’s all-time scoring list, and who they will pass, on their way to 2,000 points.

Player, Team    Years    Games    PPG    Points
1. Anita Maxwell, New Mexico State    1992-96    119    21.9    2,601
2. Judy Mosley, Hawai’i    1987-90    114    21.8    2,479
3. Genia Miller, Cal State Fullerton    1987-91    118    20.5    2,415
4. Brittany Crain, UC Riverside    2012-16    119    19.5    2,326
5. Penny Toler, Long Beach State    1987-89    101    21.7    2,193
6. Alli Nieman, Idaho    1996-00    113    18.9    2,140
7. Kemie Nkele, UC Riverside    2004-09    122    16.9    2,062
8. Morgan Bertsch, UC Davis    2015-pres.    114    17.6    2,001
9. Kristina Santiago, Cal Poly    2007-10, 2012    121    15.9    1,953
10. Julie Szukalski, Pacific    1986-90    108    17.8    1,927
11. Channon Fluker, CSUN    2015-pres.    109    17.0    1,851


1 - CSUN's Channon Fluker leads the NCAA in blocks (57) and blocks per game (3.8).

17 - UC Irvine is ranked 17th in the CollegeInsider.Com Mid-Major Poll.

19 - Long Beach State's game against UC Riverside Thursday will mark the end of a 19-day layoff.

22 - UC Riverside's Jannon Otto scored 22 points against UC Davis, one off her career high set December 28 against New Mexico State.

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