Teams: UC Davis at UC Riverside; at UC Irvine
Records: Aggies 14-4 (4-2); Highlanders 10-8 (3-2); Anteaters 11-7 (3-3)
Where: UCR Student Recreation Center – Riverside, Calif.; Bren Events Center – Irvine, Calif.
When: Thursday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 4 p.m.
Who to watch: Senior Heidi Heintz found success against both UC Riverside and UC Irvine last season.
The Spokane, Wash. native led the Aggies with 21 and 22 points respectively in UC Davis’ most recent matchups with the Anteaters and Highlanders.
Did you know? 70 has been a magic number for the Aggies.
UC Davis has won 23 straight games when it has scored 70 or more points. The last time the Aggies lost after reaching the mark was March 1, 2008 when they fell to Pacific by a score of 72-71.
Preview: Every game in a conference season is important, but this year’s matchup with UC Riverside has a little extra incentive for the Aggies.
Last season the Highlanders defeated UC Davis in the Big West Conference Championship game – costing the Aggies a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
This season UC Davis enters the teams’ first matchup with a chip on its shoulder.
“It’s certainly something that sits with our players,” said coach Sandy Simpson. “It gives them a little extra motivation.”
UC Riverside enters this year’s contest with a bit of a different look.
The Highlanders lost star guard Amber Cox to graduation, and have relied on a fairly balanced attack this season.
UC Riverside has three players averaging double figures in scoring, with no player averaging more than 13 points per game.
Regardless of the situation, the Aggies can expect their contest with the Highlanders to come down to the wire. The last five matchups between the two teams have been decided by four points or less.
Following their game with UC Riverside, the Aggies will face UC Irvine.
After starting their conference schedule 3-0, the Anteaters have lost three straight. Simpson believes facing a slumping UC Irvine could be a blessing or a curse.
“It can cut both ways,” he said. “[The Anteaters’] confidence could be down or they can be angry and aggressive. They’re still very dangerous.”
Regardless of the Anteaters’ mental attitude, the Aggies will need to slow down Mikah Maly-Karros if they want to find success in Irvine.
The 6-foot-1 forward scored 34 points the last time the teams matched up and leads the Big West averaging 19.2 points per game this season.
“She has a knack for scoring,” Simpson said. “She’s a tough player. We expect a close game and Maly-Karros is going to be important.”
– Trevor Cramer