Teams: UC Davis at Santa Clara; vs. Denver
Records: Aggies, 3-3; Broncos, 1-5; Pioneers, 1-3
Where: Leavey Center – Santa Clara, Calif.; The Pavilion
When: Today at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 3 p.m.
Who to watch: The smallest Aggie on the roster may just be one of the biggest weapons.
Hana Asano, a 5-foot-6 Torrance, Calif. native, leads UC Davis in minutes per game (28.2), assists (21) and is second in steals (13).
As soon as she regains her shooting touch – she is shooting .296 this season compared to .396 last year – she will add yet another facet to her already impressive game.
Did you know? After Saturday’s contest, the Aggies will get a week off for finals.
The break ends when rival Sacramento State visits The Pavilion on Dec. 13 with 10 points, and the Causeway Cup, on the line.
Preview: The Aggies have much more to worry about than just basketball.
With finals looming, coach Sandy Simpson must help his team balance athletics and academics.
“They know that they have to eliminate all non-academic and non-athletic activities,” Simpson said. “They really have to take care of their bodies because getting sleep is hard enough around finals. The fact that we have three games this week [means] we’ll be taking it easy in practice”
The first of those three games came on Tuesday when UC Davis visited Saint Mary’s and came away with a 71-59 victory.
Simpson believes the contest signals that his team is starting to come together.
“We made some pretty good decisions with our rotation,” Simpson said. “We were able to substitute based on game situation and fatigue rather than foul trouble. As a result our subs played really well together.”
In order to beat the Broncos today, the Aggies know that they need to do much of the same.
“It’s not going to be an easy game but we match up well with them,” Simpson said. “If we continue to make progress and stay focused we’ll be okay. If we play like we did in the second half [against Saint Mary’s], we can beat a lot of people. So far, that’s our best half of the year.”
When Santa Clara traveled to UC Davis last season, the Aggies were victorious by a score of 62-54.
In that game, Broncos’ star forward Lena Gipson was held in check as she scored only nine points. Her season average was 13.6 per contest. The UC Davis post players will once again need to wrangle in the Broncos’ beast to secure today’s victory.
After UC Davis travels to Santa Clara, they will return home to face Denver at The Pavilion before their eight-day break.
– Mark Ling