Teams: UC Davis at Cal State Northridge; at Cal State Fullerton
Records: Aggies 19-8 (8-6); Matadors 4-24 (4-10); Titans 9-19 (5-10)
Where: The Matadome – Northridge, Calif.; Titan Gym – Fullerton, Calif.
When: Thursday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 3 p.m.
Who to watch: Junior Hana Asano could be called the quarterback of the UC Davis offense.
The Torrance, Calif. native leads the team with 4.4 assists pro-rated over 40 minutes of play. The point guard had an excellent game distributing the ball in last week’s win over UC Irvine, with five assists over 17 minutes of game time.
Did you know? Despite its success, UC Davis has not had a player named Big West Conference Player of the Week during the season.
Coach Sandy Simpson says this is not at all unusual for a UC Davis team.
“We haven’t had many [players of the week] if you look back over the years,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to us, though. It’s about how our team does, not individual awards.”
Preview: Though the Aggies have locked down home court advantage in the first round of the Big West Tournament, their journey through the regular season is not over.
UC Davis can still move from fourth to third in the league, with two wins and some help from UC Riverside.
Simpson, however, is not focusing entirely on the two regular season contests this week.
“Really, we just want to set ourselves up for the conference tournament,” Simpson said. “We’re looking at [our potential tournament opponents] Long Beach State and UC Irvine. Not to say that we don’t want to win this weekend, but we’re also looking ahead at things we might want to prepare.”
Still, the Aggies want to get two wins this weekend to keep their energy rolling as they head into the conference tournament.
“Momentum can be fleeting,” Simpson said, “but these games can be important for confidence. We want to enter the tournament confident, not feeling like we’re on a see-saw.”
If UC Davis wants to get those wins, it will have to make some changes from the previous match-up against the Titans.
Cal State Fullerton upset UC Davis at the Pavilion in its first Big West game of the season. This loss snapped the Aggies’ 13-game home winning streak.
Simpson believes a key change could be the inclusion of junior Kasey Riecks, who missed the earlier contest due to injury.
“We’re fortunate that Riecks will be available this time,” Simpson said. “It’s not just a matter of what she brings to the floor, it’s how it affects the rest of the rotation and the substitutions.”
– Trevor Cramer