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Davis, California

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Women’s Basketball Preview

Event: Big West Conference Tournament

Teams: UC Davis vs. TBA

Records: Aggies, 20-9 (12-4)

Where: Anaheim Convention Center Arena – Anaheim, Calif.

When: Tomorrow at noon

Who to watch: Forward Paige Mintun is one of the best players in the Big West Conference.

She was named the league’s final Player of the Week and was chosen as a member of the All-Big West First Team.

The junior from Valley Center, Calif. leads her team in points (12.2) and rebounds per game (4.8) as well as total blocks (27).

Did you know? The Aggies are in a win-win scenario.

With their regular season title came both a double bye to begin the conference tournament and an automatic bid for the Women’s National Invitation Tournament should they fall short of the post-season conference crown.

On the other hand, if they win the conference tournament, they earn a spot in the big dance – the NCAA Tournament.

Preview: Years of blood, sweat and tears have come down to this.

For the first time in the program’s history, UC Davis is the No. 1 seed in the Big West Conference Tournament.

“Because of recruiting, this is a culmination of years of work,” said coach Sandy Simpson. “We established the kind of legacy that made us attractive to recruits. We convinced them that we could be a legitimate contender.”

Those recruits have shown both the athletic ability and mental fortitude to succeed in almost any environment. As a result, they are looking forward to the opportunity they possess.

“I’m excited to play in Anaheim,” said senior Haylee Donaghe. “We’ve been a pretty good road team but in this case, everybody is going to be on a neutral court. We have two more games that we want to win to reach the goals we set for ourselves this year.”

The Aggies have had ups and downs this season. Regardless, they are thankful for every bump in the road as they have helped put UC Davis in the best position possible.

“Up to this point, we’ve put ourselves exactly where we want to be,” Donaghe said. “We’ve done everything we can. We are outright Big West champs, we have the No. 1 seed and we have byes into the semi-finals. We’ve had some tough losses along the way but everything has paid off.”

Since the Aggies are used to playing as the favorite, they will not be intimidated by the level of competition in this weekend’s tournament. The bottom line is they crave wins.

“We’ve had a target on our back this entire time,” Mintun said, “so we will not struggle. We want to go all the way – we want to go dancing.”

– Mark Ling


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