The UC Davis women’s basketball team might reconsider their decision to join the Big West after they visit the Thunderdome on Sunday to face off against defending Big West Champion UCSB.
The Aggies (6-8 overall) – who are playing a full Big West schedule but will not be considered part of the conference until 2007-2008 – will take on the Gauchos (7-7 overall, 3-1 in the Big West) at their home court where they have only lost one game this season.
“I’m glad we’re back home; we need some practice time,” Santa Barbara Head Coach Mark French said. “We’re a young team and we’re going to get better and better and better.”
Santa Barbara currently sits at third place in the conference standings behind Long Beach (9-5 overall, 2-0 Big West) and Cal Poly (8-5 overall, 3-1 Big West). With a ten-year conference championship streak on the line, the Gauchos are not satisfied being anywhere that is not first.
“We don’t like being in second place,” French said. “We don’t like losing to Long Beach.”
The Gauchos have had exceptional play from their post players this season. Sophomore forward/center Jenna Green leads the team in scoring with 15.4 points per game and sophomore center Kat Suderman recently exploded against Irvine for two career highs of 17 points and 13 rebounds. With consistent production from their interior players, the Gauchos have been working on perfecting the perimeter game and getting the two to work together.
“We need a mixture of inside and outside play,” French said. “That’s something that’s still coalescing for us.”
Santa Barbara has been hitting the gym and practicing hard since returning from a road trip last weekend. French has put a major emphasis on conditioning, along with running the regular drills. The Gauchos are focusing on all of the usual things, but what they aren’t thinking about is Davis.
“It’s all about what we need to do to get better as a team,” French said. “Our primary focus is doing what we do really well, and not worrying about Davis too much.”
Junior small forward Jessica Campbell, who averages 12.1 points per game, leads Davis. French will likely spend some time in Saturday’s practice discussing defending her, but he won’t be fretting about this soon-to-be conference opponent.
“We expect to win all of our Big West games,” French said. “Home, away, it shouldn’t matter.
French and the Gauchos will keep that optimism with them in their nonconference contest against Davis this Sunday at 2 p.m.