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This Week in WAC Women's Basketball - Nov. 19

This Week in WAC Women's Basketball - Nov. 19

Complete Release (PDF)

GCU'S HOLLAND NAMED WAC WOMEN"S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Grand Canyon's Jada Holland has been named Western Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Nov. 11 through Nov. 17.
 
Holland, a freshman guard from Pleasanton, Calif., scored 14 points and dished out eight assists in a four-point win over Southern Utah on Thursday. Converting 5-of-6 on free throws, he played a season-high 37 minutes as the Lopes held off the Thunderbirds. Through three games, she is averaging 12.7 ppg and a league-high 6.0 assists per game.
 
Other nominees included: California Baptist's Taylor Wu scored 37 points in a blowout win over Ottawa (Ariz.), setting a new program record for three-pointers in a game with 10 … Kansas City's Ericka Mattingly averaged 17.0 ppg in a pair of WNIT consolation games, scoring 13 in a win over Portland State and 21 in a loss to Davidson … Seattle U's Kamira Sanders had her second 30-point game of the season in an 88-80 loss to Northern Arizona on Saturday … UT Rio Grande Valley's Halie Jones scored a career-high 20 points in a lopsided win over Texas Lutheran, adding three rebounds, two assists and two steals … Utah Valley's Jordan Holland scored 13 points and brought down five rebounds in a narrow home loss to Nevada on Saturday.
 
ON TAP
California Baptist will look to stay perfect on the young season this week when they play host to Northern Arizona on Thursday and UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. Among the other games on the schedule, UT Rio Grande Valley will visit Texas on Wednesday afternoon before taking on rival Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday while Seattle U heads across town to take on Washington on Saturday. 
 
BY THE NUMBERS
Two weeks into the regular season, California Baptist is the leader in scoring offense (76.5), field goal defense (.317), rebounding offense (50.2), blocked shots (5.5), assists (21.8), assist/turnover ratio (1.3), defensive rebounds (37.0) and three-pointers made (9.3). UT Rio Grande Valley is tops in scoring defense (57.7), scoring margin (+14.7), three-point defense (.233), rebounding margin (+4.7), turnover margin (+3.00) and offensive rebounds (14.7). Kansas City is the WAC's leader in free throw percentage (.800) and rebounding defense (36.0) and Grand Canyon is the leader in field goal percentage (.474), three-point field goal percentage (.500) and is tied with UTRGV for the lead in steals (11.0).
 
Individually, SU's Kamira Sanders is the leading scorer at 24.0 ppg and is tied with NMSU's Aaliyah Prince for the lead in steals (2.5). CBU's Caitlyn Harper is the top rebounder at 10.0 per game and is tied with NMSU's Gia Pack for the top free throw percentage (.938). KC freshman Tajah Foster-Walker is the top shooter (.645 FG percentage) while CBU's Tiena Afu is the top three-point shooter (.625). GCU's Jada Holland is the assist leader (6.0) while UTRGV's Jordan Agustus has the lead in blocked shots (3.0). KC's Emily Ivory has the most three-pointers per game at 4.0. CBU's Sydney Palma has the best assist/turnover ratio (3.6).
 
STAT LEADERS BACK
Kansas City's Ericka Mattingly returns for her senior season after leading the WAC in scoring (19.8), assists (6.0), free throw percentage (.817), steals (3.2) and minutes played (35.5). California Baptist's Britney Thomas is also back after leading the league in field goal percentage (.577). Kansas City sharpshooter Emily Ivory will look for a strong sophomore campaign after averaging a WAC-best 2.7 three-pointers per game and Chicago State senior Ines Mata Boix will look to lead the league in blocked shots again after averaging 1.9 per game last season.
 
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
NM State is the favorite to win the 2018-19 Western Athletic Conference women's basketball title and the Aggies' Gia Pack was selected WAC Preseason Player of the Year in a vote of the league's nine head coaches, who could not vote for their own team or players.
 
The Aggies, who won their fifth-straight WAC regular season title last season, received 62 points and six first-place votes in the preseason poll. California Baptist picked up two first-place votes for a total of 57 points and Kansas City earned the remaining first-place vote and 44 points. UT Rio Grande Valley was picked fourth with 40 points while CSU Bakersfield earned fifth with 35 points. Utah Valley was selected sixth with 29 points, followed by Grand Canyon, Seattle U and Chicago State.
 
Pack leads the list of Preseason All-WAC honorees. Joining her on the first team are Utah Valley's Jordan Holland, Kansas City's Ericka Mattingly and California Baptist duo Ane Olaeta and Britney Thomas.
 
Second team selections include CSU Bakersfield's Vanessa Austin, Grand Canyon's Da'jah Daniel, UT Rio Grande Valley pair Amara Graham and Megan Johnson and Seattle U's Kamira Sanders.
 
PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
The Western Athletic Conference women's basketball media have selected NM State as the preseason favorite to repeat as conference champions in 2019-20 and Kansas City's Ericka Mattingly as the WAC Preseason Player of the Year.
 
The Aggies earned eight first place votes from the media to collect 110 points to top the poll. California Baptist is second with three first place votes and 96 points overall. Kansas City was right behind the 'Runners with the Roos earning two first place votes and 92 points. UT Rio Grande Valley came in fourth with 66 points, followed by Utah Valley in fifth with 64 points. CSU Bakersfield is sixth with 57 points, followed by Seattle U in seventh, Grand Canyon in eighth and Chicago State in ninth.
 
Mattingly leads the list of Preseason All-WAC honorees. Joining her on the first team are Utah Valley's Jordan Holland, NM State's Gia Pack, Seattle U's Kamira Sanders and California Baptist's Britney Thomas.
 
Second team selections include Seattle U's Joana Alves, CSU Bakersfield's Jayden Eggleston, UT Rio Grande Valley's Megan Johnson, Chicago State's Ines Mata Boix and California Baptist's Ane Olaeta.
 
RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS
Three of the five First Team All-WAC players from last season return for the 2017-18 season as WAC Preseason Players of the Year Ericka Mattingly of Kansas City and Gia Pack of NM State return, along with California Baptist's Britney Thomas. Four of the five second team honorees also returns as Seattle U's Joana Alves, Grand Canyon's Da'jah Daniel, Utah Valley's Jordan Holland and California Baptist's Ane Olaeta hit the hardwood.
 
NEW LEADER IN OREM
After three new coaches in each of the last two seasons, Utah Valley's Dan Nielson is the lone rookie head coach in the WAC this season. A former UVU assistant, he most recently was on the bench at nearby Brigham Young, helping lead the Cougars to the WCC Tournament title last season.
 
WAC ATTITUDE ON ALTITUDE
The WAC Digital Network is producing a 30-minute WAC Basketball Preview Show in advance of the upcoming season. 
 
WDN on-air talent Rachel Vigil is the host of the 2019-20 WAC Basketball Preview Show, which has features on California Baptist guard Milan Acquaah, NM State's Gia Pack and the inspirational story of Seattle U team dancer Teresa Buchholz. Altitude Sports Network will air the show 25 times during the month of November. The WAC starts its 58th season of men's basketball and its 30th of women's basketball next month.
 
LETTERWINNER/STARTER CAPSULE
There will be a bit of new blood in the WAC this season but the game won't be without some familiar faces. Five of nine schools return a majority of starters, including Utah Valley returning all five starters from last season. California Baptist and Seattle U each bring back four starters and Grand Canyon boasts three starters returning.
 
 
KEY NON-CONFERENCE MATCHUPS
This season, WAC teams will face some tough competition in the non-conference portion of the schedule, with 15 games against NCAA Tournament participants and 14 against Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) participants. The complete list is below.
 
Games vs. NCAA Teams
Nov. 10 - CSU Bakersfield at Gonzaga
Nov. 19 - CSU Bakersfield at Wright State
Nov. 20 - UT Rio Grande Valley at Texas
Nov. 26 - Utah Valley at Boise State
Nov. 28 - California Baptist vs. Stanford (Victoria Invitational)
Dec. 1 - Kansas City at Missouri State
Dec. 6 - Grand Canyon at Portland State
Dec. 8 - Missouri at Kansas City
Dec. 14 - Utah Valley at Brigham Young
Dec. 14 - Kansas State at Kansas City
Dec. 18 - Arizona State at NM State
Dec. 28 - NM State at Abilene Christian
Dec. 28 - UT Rio Grande Valley at Kansas State
Dec. 29 - Grand Canyon at California
Dec. 29 - CSU Bakersfield at Oregon State
 
Games vs. WNIT Teams
Nov. 5 - Denver at Kansas City
Nov. 8 - Kansas City at Pacific
Nov. 9 - Chicago State at UTA
Nov. 9 - NM State at Denver
Nov. 11 - Seattle U at Idaho State
Nov. 12 - Arizona at Chicago State
Nov. 17 - New Mexico at NM State
Nov. 20 - Pepperdine at NM State
Nov. 20 - Idaho at Seattle U
Nov. 23 - Chicago State at Green Bay
Dec. 3 - Idaho State at Utah Valley
Dec. 7 - Pacific at CSU Bakersfield
Dec. 16 - California Baptist at Idaho State
Dec. 16 - NM State at New Mexico
 
ORLEANS ARENA IN LAS VEGAS TO HOST 2020 WAC TOURNAMENT
The 2020 WAC Basketball Tournament returns to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for the 10th year in a row. This year's tournament includes all eight eligible teams and will be held Wednesday-Saturday, March 11-14.