Teams: UC Davis vs. No. 18 Arizona State
Records: Aggies, 3-1; Sun Devils, 3-2
Where: The Pavilion
When: Today at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: If the Aggies are to have a chance at beating the Sun Devils, they’ll need the Paige Mintun that was present in their win over Santa Clara on Monday.
The sophomore from Valley Center, Calif. scored 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting, beating up the Broncos inside the paint and outside. Mintun collected nine rebounds and sunk all five of her free throws in the victory.
Did you know? Since UC Davis began its transition to Division I, the women’s basketball program has gone 0-2 in games against opponents from the Pacific-10 Conference.
Arizona State is just one of the ranked Pac-10 teams that UC Davis will face this season. On Dec. 28, the Aggies will travel to Palo Alto to take on No. 4 Stanford.
Preview: The Aggies have opened up the season with wins in each of their first two games at their home court.
Most recently, UC Davis defeated Santa Clara 62-54 in a game that saw the Aggies score only seven points through the first 11-plus minutes of the game – all by senior Haylee Donaghe, who started after sitting out the team’s previous game due to a shoulder injury.
“We were having a tough time early on,” head coach Sandy Simpson said. “We didn’t have the zone offense for the type of zone [Santa Clara] was playing in until yesterday.“
The Aggies rectified that quickly, however, picking up the pace and going on a 24-11 run to take an eight-point lead at the break.
The young Aggie squad played like veterans, putting away the Broncos in the second half, never surrendering their lead which reached as high as 19 points.
Donaghe’s return was much anticipated by a team that is composed of mainly freshmen.
“Haylee gives the coaching staff a certain comfort level when she is out there,” said Simpson. “She is a dynamic player offensively, but it is defensively where she makes things happen. It is great having her out there.“
Now, UC Davis will face their biggest challenge of the year to date when it welcomes nationally ranked Arizona State into the Pavilion.
The Sun Devils, which will play their first of three straight games against Big West opponents, are recently off of a close 65-60 loss at Florida on Saturday.
The team is paced offensively by senior Briann January, who is averaging 13.8 points a game with 17 steals on the season.
While the Aggies look to be outmatched on paper, Simpson assures that his team will be ready if Arizona State shows any signs of weakness.
“We have to come out and bring as much pressure [as we can],” said Simpson. “We are going to show them a lot of different looks and see if they can make the right decisions. If they can, then they are going to have some success. If they make some mistakes, we are going to pounce on them.“