Teams: UC Davis at Seattle; Washington State
Records: Aggies, 0-0; Redhawks 0-0; Cougars 0-0
Where: Connelly Center – Seattle Wash.; Beasley Performing Arts Center – Pullman, Wash.
When: Friday at 7 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.
Who to watch: Preseason All-Conference guard Haylee Donaghe is entering her sixth season as an Aggie after receiving clock extension by NCAA, granting her eligibility for the 2009-10 season.
The senior out of Atascadero, Calif. was sidelined with a season-ending knee injury after a Dec. 17 matchup against South Dakota State
In what is most likely her final season, Donaghe will look to lead the Aggies back to the top of the Big West Conference.
Did you know? Coach Sandy Simpson piloted UC Davis to its first ever berth in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) in 2008. He also holds school records in career wins (206) and single-season victories (29).
Preview: Two years ago, the Aggies finished second in the Big West and advanced all the way to the conference finals.
This season, UC Davis will look to return to that prominence as the team was chosen to finish second in the Big West media poll. In addition, Donaghe and junior Paige Mintun received preseason all-Conference recognitions.
The Aggies will also have the benefit of a much-seasoned squad as only one starter graduated last season.
“We have so much experience,” Simpson said. “We had so many injuries last year that our freshman played a lot. [This year] our sophomores play like juniors because they had so much playing time last season, especially against a team like Seattle.”
For Seattle, the 2009-10 campaign will be a season of firsts.
The Redhawks have brought in new head coach Joan Bonvicini and will compete in their first full season of Division I play. Due to the change in the leadership of Seattle, UC Davis isn’t sure what to expect on Friday.
“We’re going to be flying blind,” Simpson said. “Seattle has a solid program but they just brought in a new coach. After playing them last year we know their personnel but we don’t know their system. The good thing is that we have enough experience to adjust throughout the game.”
After playing in Seattle on Friday, the Aggies will make the short trip from Seattle to Pullman, Wash. to take on the Cougars of Washington State.
– MARK LING