Key games: UC Davis at Kansas State; at Sacramento State; vs. Cal State Fullerton; vs. Cal State Northridge
Records: Aggies, 5-1; Wildcats 8-0; Hornets 1-6; Titans 3-4; Matadors 0-6
Where: Bramlage Coliseum – Manhattan, Kan.; The Hornets Nest – Sacramento; The Pavilion
When: Dec. 12 at 5 p.m.; Dec. 19 at 2 p.m.; Dec. 31 at 2 p.m.; Jan. 2 at 2 p.m.
Who to watch: Senior Heidi Heintz has been a versatile part of the UC Davis team.
The Spokane, Wash. native ranks in the top three on the squad in points, rebounds and assists.
“She does some of everything,” said coach Sandy Simpson. “She’s the glue that holds the team together. She’s a Jane of all trades.”
Did you know? Although UC Davis trails the all-time series against Sacramento State 22-27, the Aggies have found success against the Hornets in recent years, going 5-2 under Simpson.
Preview: UC Davis will begin winter break with their most difficult matchup of the month.
The Aggies will have a chance to get their first-ever win against a Big 12 opponent when they face Kansas State on Dec. 11.
The Wildcats defeated the Aggies 73-59 in the matchup last year, and Simpson knows that UC Davis will face a tough test in this year’s contest.
“Kansas State is a power program,” he said. “They’ve got a nice team. That would be a great win for us.”
Later in December, the Aggies will have a showdown with rival Sacramento State.
Despite the Hornets’ early-season issues, Simpson knows the Aggies have had trouble when making the trip across the Causeway in recent years.
“We’ve struggled in Sacramento,” he said. “We haven’t played our best in the Hornets’ Nest, and we need to change that.”
A key for the Aggies in this matchup will be the strength of their bench.
“[The Hornets] like to run up and down the court,” Simpson said. “Our depth should help us stay fresh and keep up with the pace.”
UC Davis will finish the month with their first Big West Conference game of the season against Cal State Fullerton.
The Titans handed the Aggies a loss in their first Big West contest last year in Fullerton, and Simpson believes his team will face another tough matchup this time around.
“They’re a good team,” he said. “They’ll be in the top three or four in the conference this season, and if they’re clicking offensively, they could challenge for a Big West title.”
Regardless of their opponent, UC Davis knows that Big West games are rarely decided with tactics.
“These teams know each other so well that there are no surprises,” Simpson said. “These games aren’t about scheme, they’re about execution.”
– Trevor Cramer