Teams: UC Davis vs. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; vs. UC Santa Barbara
Records: Aggies, 11-14 (6-6); Mustangs, 15-11 (9-4); Gauchos, 8-17 (3-9)
Where: Mott Athletics Center — San Luis Obispo, Calif.; The Thunderdome — Santa Barbara, Calif.
When: Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 1 at 2 p.m.
Did you know?
Sophomore forward Alyson Doherty and Cal Poly’s Molly Schlemer lead the Big West in field goal percentage, 56.2 and 55.3 respectively.
Junior forward Sydnee Fipps is second in the Big West in points per game. After scoring 22 points against Hawai’i, she is now averaging 18.0 points per game.
Who to watch:
Sydnee Fipps has been on a scoring frenzy. She leads UC Davis in points and rebounds per game, with 18 points and six rebounds, and has scored 20-plus points in four of the last five games. Fipps has been dominant in February, and looks to lead the Aggies to victory this week.
Junior guard Kelsey Harris has been shooting 47.3 percent behind the arc in the month of February. After struggling against Hawai’i, Harris hopes to finish the season on a high note. After sitting out last season due to the NCAA transfer rules, Harris has been the third scoring option for the Aggies this season.
Currently sixth in the Big West Conference, UC Davis looks to improve their conference standing when they face No. 1 Cal Poly on Feb. 27 and No. 8 UC Santa Barbara on March 1, as they head into the home-stretch of the season.
The Aggies face a tough opponent against Cal Poly. The Mustangs currently average 76.8 points per game, while the Aggies only average 66.9. The Aggies’ frontcourt must limit Cal Poly’s leading scorer, Molly Schlemer, offensively, and not allow her to get to the basket. The 6’5” center is averaging a double-double with 17.8 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game. The Aggies should force themselves into the paint, and get Schlemer into foul trouble. The matchup against Schlemer will be imperative, and confining her will lead the Aggies to victory.
UC Davis must protect the ball. The Aggies have the highest turnovers per game in the Big West with 19. Limiting their turnovers will allow the Aggies to create more opportunities offensively. UC Davis must rely on its top scorers, sophomore forward Alyson Doherty, junior guard Kelsey Harris and junior forward Sydnee Fipps to keep them in the game.
Against UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis must take advantage of the lowly Gauchos. UC Santa Barbara has been struggling all season long and UC Davis defeated UC Santa Barbara earlier this month, 82-70.
Limiting UC Santa Barbara’s guards is key, especially Melissa Zornig, a streaky shooter who is able to score from anywhere behind the arc. Zornig is shooting 39.3 percent from behind the arc. UC Santa Barbara is the best three-point shooting team in the Big West with a 35.2 three-point shooting percentage.
The Aggies must capitalize on the advantage of their bigger and stronger forwards. The UC Davis frontcourt must dominate the Gauchos in rebounds and work their way in the paint. If the Aggies control the points in the paint, they will win.
This will be a great chance for the Aggies to gain some ground in the Big West standings. Expect Fipps and Doherty to have huge games.
— Oscar Dueñas