Teams: UC Davis vs. Creighton
Records: Aggies, 2-2; Bluejays, 3-1
Where: The Pavilion
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: The Aggies have a new secret weapon.
Her name is Heidi Heintz and she is proving to be an asset in her first year with the Aggies.
The senior from Spokane, Wash. transferred to UC Davis from San Francisco after the 2007-2008 season. She was required by NCAA guidelines to sit out a year before being allowed to play.
It hasn’t taken her long to knock the rust off as she has started every game so far this season. She is the Aggies’ second-leading scorer with nine points per contest.
Did you know? During the Aggies’ home-opening 69-47 win last week against San Francisco, all 12 active players on the UC Davis roster played double-digit minutes.
Preview: Coach Sandy Simpson jokes that the biggest problem for the Aggies this season might be their depth, and that everybody might not get the minutes they deserve.
“All 12 of these girls can help us win,” Simpson said. “Everybody brings something different to the table. One night somebody may play four minutes. The next night she’ll play 20. There have only been three or four times in my career when I’ve had a team this deep.”
Having this advantage will allow the Aggies to remain fresh throughout the season, something they were not able to do last year when only eight players dressed down the stretch run of the season.
With the Aggies’ depth this year, Simpson said it’s important to find the group of five who work well enough together to be successful on the court.
“It’s harder to figure out the rotation when you’re this deep,” Simpson said. “Some players are good against the press, some are great at scoring and some bring a unique toughness. I originally thought it would take four or five games to figure out a good rotation, but it might take more.”
UC Davis put its depth on display most recently against No. 2 Stanford on Sunday. The nationally-ranked Cardinal proved to be too much for the Aggies, winning by a 76-51 margin.
“I couldn’t ask any more from our players,” Simpson said. “I thought they played hard and were not intimidated. I thought we just competed.”
The Aggies will look to rebound as they welcome a familiar foe in Creighton into the Pavilion on Friday.
Last season, UC Davis traveled to Omaha, Neb. to face the Bluejays, but ultimately fell 61-58.
Junior Paige Mintun dominated the Bluejays as she scored 24 points, collected seven boards and tallied three steals.
It won’t be easy for the Aggies this time around, either. Creighton is the favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference.
“[Creighton] is pretty balanced and they shoot the three pretty well,” Simpson said. “They are athletic on the perimeter and are strong defensively. They don’t have one kid who blows your mind, but they all play really well together.
– Mark Ling and Max Rosenblum