Teams: UC Davis vs. Seattle
Records: Aggies 17-7; Redhawks 7-18
Where: The Pavilion
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: Idit Orion may not have the best stats on the team, but the freshman has progressed by leaps and bounds this season.
Orion, from Jerusalem, has begun to play some meaningful minutes over the past few weeks.
“She’s really stepped it up in practice over the last three weeks,” said coach Sandy Simpson. “As with all first-year students, consistency is a challenge. But she’s putting herself in a position to expand her role. If she keeps working hard her athleticism could help us down the stretch.”
Did you know: Seattle coach Joan Bonvicini is one of only 18 coaches in Division I Women’s Basketball to reach the 600 victory mark.
Bonvicini coached at Arizona and Long Beach State before joining the Redhawks and led the 49ers to two final-four appearances in the 1980s.
“For those who have been in the game she’s a legend,” Simpson said. “She’s got [Seattle] playing a nice system.”
Preview: The Aggies will try to use a non-conference game to get back on track.
UC Davis has been slumping in Big West Conference play as of late, going 0-2 against two of the bottom three teams in the league.
A break from conference play could be just what the Aggies’ need as it gives them a chance to look at themselves.
“We really won’t focus a lot on our opponent this week,” Simpson said. “We want to focus on what we do. We’ve got a month left and we have to get back to committing to play hard at every turn. We need to look at fixing what we do.”
If the Aggies plan to return to their early season form, they had better be prepared to work hard on the practice floor.
Though UC Davis will be spending less time training in coming weeks, coach Simpson expects his team to give 100 percent.
“Our focus is going to be on shorter practices but higher intensity practices,” he said. “We want to spend less time on the floor, but we need to use that time effectively, and that requires both mental and physical toughness.”
While the Aggies would certainly prefer a victory in their game this week, Simpson believes their success will ultimately be judged by the effectiveness of their play rather than the final result.
“The most important thing is that we play well,” he said. “Winning or losing this game will have no impact on this season. It’s important for us to have a strong game to get our confidence back. Win or lose, we want to play hard and play well.”
– Trevor Cramer