Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

This Week in WAC Women's Basketball - March 19

This Week in WAC Women's Basketball - March 19
By virtue of two automatic bids and one at-large invitation, three WAC women's basketball teams will be extending their season at least one more game. NM State will represent the league and Land of Enchantment in the NCAA Tournament, as the Aggies head to Ames, Iowa as a 14-seed to take on third-seed and host Iowa State on Saturday. California Baptist earned the WAC's automatic selection to the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) and will be the first WAC team since 2011 to host a WNIT game when the Lancers welcome Pepperdine on Wednesday. Tournament finalist UT Rio Grande Valley will also participate in the postseason, traveling to North Texas for the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI).
After winning the 2019 WAC Tournament for the fourth time in five years, the NM State women's basketball team earned a 14-seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament and will travel to Ames, Iowa to take on host Iowa State on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
The Aggies (26-6) enter the tournament on a 17-game win streak, having survived Kansas City in overtime and UT Rio Grande Valley in double-overtime to win the WAC Tournament. NM State is led by 19.1 points per game and 11.1 rebounds per game from senior guard Brooke Salas, who was named both WAC Player of the Year and WAC Defensive Player of the Year and earned all-tournament honors. Gia Pack, the 2019 WAC Tournament MVP, averages 17.0 points per game with 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
Iowa State (25-8) earned a spot in the big dance after making it to the Big 12 Championship game before falling to Baylor, 67-49. The Cyclones are led by 21.4 points per game from 6-1 senior guard Bridget Carleton. Kristin Scott averages 13.0 points per game and Ashley Joens adds 11.7 points per game. Six-seed DePaul (26-7) will take the court against 11-seed Missouri State (23-9) before the Aggies meet up with the Cyclones with the two winners advancing to play on Monday.
California Baptist University has been tabbed a host for the first round of the Postseason Women's National Invitational Tournament. The Lancers are just the second team to ever qualify for and host the event in its first year as an NCAA Division I program.
Pepperdine will be CBU's first-round matchup Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the CBU Events Center. The Lancer men will then host Loyola Marymount in the first round of the 2019 College Basketball Invitational at an altered time of 7:30 p.m.
CBU is just one of eight Division I teams to host a postseason tournament game it is playing in both men's and women's and basketball this year. Coastal Carolina, Davidson, Georgetown, NC State, Providence, South Florida, TCU and West Virginia are the other seven teams.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced on Monday that the women's basketball team has accepted an invitation to take part in the 10thannual Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI), marking the fourth postseason appearance in program history, starting with a road game against the University of North Texas on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The winner will face the winner of Utah State and UC Riverside with the date, time, and place to be determined.
UTRGV competed in the WBI in 2017 while competing in the Women's National Invitational Tournament in 2016 with the program's first-ever postseason coming in 2015 in the WBI.
The WBI is a four-round, 16-team, single-elimination bracketed tournament. All games are held at campus sites. The quarterfinals will be held on either March 24 or 25. The semifinals will be held either March 29 or 30 with the WBI Championship being held on either April 2 or 3.
After outlasting Kansas City in overtime during the semifinals, the NM State Aggies doubled-down in the championship game, earning a 76-73 double-overtime victory over UT Rio Grande Valley to win their fourth WAC Tournament in five seasons and punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Junior Gia Pack earned tournament MVP honors after setting new tournament records for points (86), field goals made (30) and tying the record for steals (14). Senior Brooke Salas was also named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 17.3 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game in the successful run. 
All-Tournament Team
Alexxus Gilbert, CSU Bakersfield
Ericka Mattingly, Kansas City
Madison Northcutt, UT Rio Grande Valley
Brooke Salas, NM State
MVP: Gia Pack, NM State
A number of WAC tournament records were set or tied during another exciting week of #WACvegas action. NM State set new game marks for steals in a game with 23 in its quarterfinal game against Chicago State and then set a new record for top free throw percentage in the title game, going 20-of-21 from the line for a .952 clip. Individually, tournament MVP Gia Pack etched her name in the record books, setting new  tournament marks for points (86) and field goals made (30) and typing the mark for steals in a tournament (14). She also tied the record for steals in a game with seven against Chicago State.
California Baptist leads the league in scoring offense (79.4), scoring margin (+12.1), field goal percentage (.432), field goal defense (.371), rebounding offense (44.5), assists (19.7), assist/turnover ratio (1.3), defensive rebounds (31.9) and three-pointers made (9.6). UT Rio Grande Valley is the leader in scoring defense (61.3) and Utah Valley holds the top spot in free throw percentage (.724), three-point field goal percentage (.346) and rebounding defense (36.0). NM State is the leader in three-point defense .274) and blocked shots (4.6). CSU Bakersfield holds the top spot in steals (11.2) and turnover margin (+5.19) while Kansas City is the top offensive rebounding team (14.7) and also leads the league in rebounding margin (+3.7).
Individually, UMKC's Ericka Mattingly, a first-team All-WAC honoree, is the leading scorer at 19.8 points per game and is also tops in assists (6.0), free throw percentage (.817) and steals (3.2). CBU's Brittany Thomas, the WAC Newcomer of the Year, is the leader in rebounding (11.1) and field goal percentge (.571). CBU's Emma Meriggioli holds the top three-point field goal percentage (.421) and assist/turnover ratio (2.4). UMKC freshman Emily Ivory is the leader in three-pointers made (2.7) and CSU's Ines Mata Boix is the top shot blocker (1.9). WAC Freshman of the Year Leilah Vigil from UMKC is the top offensive rebounder (4.1) while NM State's Brooke Salas, the WAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, is the leader in defensive rebounds (8.1).
In WAC-only play, California Baptist led the league in scoring offense (79.1), scoring margin (+12.4), field goal percentage (.450), field goal defense (.362), rebounding offense (44.2), assists (19.9), assist/turnover ratio (1.2), defensive rebounds (32.6) and three-pointers made (9.1). UT Rio Grande Valley held the top scoring defense (59.2) and rebounding defense (34.5). Chicago State is the leader in free throw percentage (.739) and Utah Valley is the leader in three-point field goal percentage (.374).  Regular season champion NM State is tops in three-point defense (.263), blocked shots (4.4) and steals (11.6) and Kansas City is the leader in rebounding margin (+6.2) and offensive rebounds (14.8). CSU Bakersfield holds the top turnover margin (+5.19).
Individually, NM State's Salas was the leader in scoring (19.5), rebounding (12.3), blocked shots (1.6) and defensive rebounds (9.4). CBU's Thomas had the best field goal percentage (.609) while teammates Meriggioli and Lexy Ram are the leaders in assist/turnover ratio (2.4) and three-point percentage (.473) respectivcely. CBU's Ane Olaeta was the assists leader (5.8) and UMKC's Mattingly held the top spot in free throw percentage (.807), steals (3.4) and minutes played (35.0). UMKC's Ivory was the leader in three-pointers made (3.1) while teammate Vigil was the leader in offensive rebounds (4.4).
With a win at UT Rio Grande Valley on Feb. 23, NM State clinched at least a share of the WAC regular season title and the top seed in the upcoming WAC Tournament for the fifth consecutive season. The Aggies then clinched sole possesion of the regular season title on Feb. 28 with a come-from-behind win over Kansas City.
Already one of the top three-point shooters in the WAC, California Baptist senior Emma Meriggioli is also among the top students as well as the Lancer was named Google Cloud Academic All-District® by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Mariggioli, an elementary education major, holds a 3.92 cumulative grade-point average in her time at CBU. She was named Second Team Academic All-District and was the WAC's lone honoree. 
NM State senior Brooke Salas has already moved into the top ten in several career categories in the WAC record book. The guard is currently tied for fifth all-time in total points (1,1912), third in field goals made (736), fifth in rebounds (941) and tied for eighth in blocks (156). In WAC-only play, Salas finished eighth in total points (899), fifth in field goals made (343) and seventh in rebounds (476).
California Baptist head coach Jarrod Olson earned his 300th career win on Feb. 9 in a double-overtime win over Kansas City. Over half of his wins have come at CBU after beginning his collegiate head coaching career at Florida Southern.
Grand Canyon's triple-overtime win over Seattle U on Jan. 5 was the eighth three-overtime game featuring a WAC school in conference history and the fifth in WAC play. The record for longest women's basketball game in WAC history is a quadruple-overtime game on Jan. 25, 1997 that saw SMU earn a 127-125 win over TCU.
CSU Bakersfield senior Alexxus Gilbert became the latest WAC player to score 1,000 career points, reaching the milestone on Feb. 24 at California Baptist. She joins Kansas City senior Kristen Moore and NM State teammates Brooke Salas and Gia Pack as the only active 1,000-point scoreres in the WAC.
While California Baptist is only in its first year in the WAC, the Lancers have been making an impact on the record book this season. CBU's 133-43 win over Westcliff on Jan. 17 set new conference marks  for most points in a game, scoring margin, field goals made and three-pointers made. On Jan. 31, the Lancers set a new conference record for three-point attempts with 44 in an 83-54 win over Utah Valley. Just two days later, junior Britney Thomas tied the conference mark for field goals in a game with 17 en route to 39 points in a win over Seattle U.
Kansas City guard Ericka Mattingly recorded the seventh triple-double in WAC history on Nov. 29, scoring 15 points to go with 10 rebounds and 12 assists in a win over Peru State. NM State guard Brooke Salas got in on the fun on Dec. 21, earning her first career triple-double in a win over Alcorn State, scoring 32 points to go along with 22 rebounds and 11 blocks. Mattingly did it again on Feb. 9 in a double-overtime loss to California Baptist, scoring 28 points to go with 14 rebounds and 10 assists to give her two for the season.
Down 59-52 with 5:03 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Kansas City Roos put together a 17-0 run on the road to earn a 69-59 win at North Dakota State on Dec. 2.
NM State is the favorite to win the 2018-19 Western Athletic Conference women's basketball title and the Aggies' Brooke Salas 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 fourth-straight WAC regular season title last season, received 62 points and seven first-place votes in the preseason poll. CSU Bakersfield picked up the remaining first two votes for a total of 56 points. Defending tournament champion Seattle U was picked third with 49 points and Grand Canyon took fourth with 45 points. Kansas City and UT Rio Grande Valley tied for fifth with 33 points each. California Baptist was selected seventh in its inaugural WAC season, followed by Utah Valley and Chicago State.
Salas leads the list of Preseason All-WAC honorees. Joining her on the first team are teammate Gia Pack, CSU Bakersfield's Alexxus Gilbert, Kansas City's Kristen Moore and Seattle U's Kamira Sanders.
Second team selections include CSU Bakersfield's Vanessa Austin and Jazmine Johnson, Grand Canyon's AJ Cephas and Laura Piera and UT Rio Grande Valley's Quynne Huggins.
The Western Athletic Conference women's basketball media have selected NM State as the preseason favorite to repeat as conference champions in 2018-19 and the Aggies' Brooke Salas as the WAC Preseason Player of the Year.
The Aggies earned nine first-place votes in the media poll to collect 81 points to top the poll. CSU Bakersfield is second with 69 points, followed by Seattle U in third with 63 points. Grand Canyon is fourth with 46 points. Kansas City and Utah Valley are tied for fifth with 36 points, followed by UT Rio Grande Valley in seventh, California Baptist in eighth and Chicago State in ninth.
Salas leads the list of Preseason All-WAC honorees. Joining her on the first team are teammate Gia Pack, CSU Bakersfield's Jazmine Johnson, Kansas City's Kristen Moore and Seattle U's Kamira Sanders.
Second team selections include CSU Bakersfield's Vanessa Austin and Alexxus Gilbert, UT Rio Grande Valley's Quynne Huggins, Chicago State's Ines Mata Boix and California Baptist's Lexy Ram.
Just two of five First Team All-WAC players from last season return for the 2017-18 season as WAC Preseason Player of the Year Brooke Salas and her NM State teammate Gia Pack return for this season. No second team honoreers return but Salas and CSU Bakersfield's Jazmine Johnson return from the All-Defensive Team.
Three head coaches will experience the WAC for the first time this season. California Baptist's Jarrod Olson leads the Lancers into Division I after posting a 93-13 record in five years at the Division II level. UT Rio Grande Valley's Lane Lord also makes the transition from Division II to Division I, coming to the valley from Pittsburg State, where he held a 231-102 record in 11 seasons. Chicago State hired Misty Opat after a successful run at Rock Valley College, where she won four NJCAA national championships.
This season, WAC teams will face some tough competition in the non-conference portion of the schedule, with six games against NCAA Tournament participants and 10 against Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) participants. The complete list is below.
Games vs. NCAA Teams
Nov. 28 - California Baptist at CSUN
Dec. 6 - Kansas City at Missouri
Dec. 20 - Texas at UT Rio Grande Valley
Dec. 29 - UT Rio Grande Valley at Texas A&M
Dec. 29 - CSU Bakersfield at Oregon State
Dec. 31 - UT Rio Grande Valley at Baylor
Games vs. WNIT Teams
Nov. 6 - Wright State at CSU Bakersfield
Nov. 18 - Kansas City at Kansas State
Nov. 20 - UAB at Chicago State
Nov. 23 - George Mason at Kansas City
Nov. 26 - Seattle U at Utah
Dec. 1 - NM State at New Mexico
Dec. 1 - Utah Valley at Utah
Dec. 9 - Seattle U at UC Davis
Dec. 15 - New Mexico at NM State
Dec. 21 - Louisiana Tech at Kansas City
California Baptist joins the Western Athletic Conference as a full-time member in 2018-19. The Lancers won the NCAA Division II Learfield Cup in 2017-18. They will begin their four year transition process to Division 1. This will make them ineligible to compete in post season tournaments (WAC and NCAA) until 2022-2023 season. 
The 2019 WAC Basketball Tournament returns to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for the eighth year in a row. This year's tournament includes all eight teams and will be held Wednesday-Saturday, March 13-16.
The 2018-19 All-WAC teams have been named, following a vote of the WAC's nine head coaches. NM State's Brooke Salas repeated as WAC Player of the Year and was also named WAC Defensive Player of the Year. Kansas City's Leilah Vigil was named WAC Freshman of the Year while California Baptist's Britney Thomas was named WAC Newcomer of the Year and CBU's Jarrod Olson won WAC Coach of the Year honors.
A 5-11 senior guard from Placentia, Calif., Salas was the leading scorer and rebounder in conference play as the Aggies won their fifth-consecutive WAC regular season title. In addition to averaging 19.5 points per game, she also averaged 12.3 rebounds per game and a WAC-high 1.6 blocks per game. She was second in the WAC in steals (2.9) and eighth in field goal percentage (.500).
Vigil, a 5-11 forward from Denver, earned WAC Freshman of the Year honors after ranking third in the WAC in rebounding at 10.5 boards per game and fourth in field goal percentage at .540. She also averaged 12.3 points per game and 1.8 steals per game.
Thomas earned WAC Newcomer of the Year honors after averaging 16.5 points per game and 10.9 rebounds per game while leading the WAC in field goal percentage in league play at .609. She also ranked second in blocked shots at 1.6 per game, helping lead the Lancers to a second-place finish in their first year as a Division I program.
Olson earns WAC Coach of the Year honors in his eighth season at CBU and first as a Division I member of the WAC. He led the Lancers to a second-place finish, going 11-5 against league opponents. A graduate of Doane College in Crete, Neb., he was an NAIA All-American as a player before beginning his coaching career as an assistant at Emporia State. After serving as an assistant at Creighton for four years, he was named head coach at Florida Southern in 2006 before moving to CBU in 2012.
Four schools are represented on the first team. Joining Salas is NMSU teammate Gia Pack, CSU Bakersfield's Alexxus Gilbert, Kansas City's Ericka Mattingly and CBU's Thomas. 
The All-WAC second team includes, Seattle U's Joana Alves, Grand Canyon's Da'jah Daniel, Utah Valley's Jordan Holland, UT Rio Grande Valley's Madison Northcutt and California Baptist's Ane Olaeta.
The All-Defensive team had representatives from five different schools as CSU Bakersfield's Jazmine Johnson was joined by Kansas City's Mattingly, UT Rio Grande Valley's Northcutt, NM State's Salas and CBU's Thomas.
The All-Newcomer Team is made up of California Baptist's Delacy Brown and Thomas, Kansas City's Mattingly, NM State's Stabresa McDaniel and UT Rio Grande Valley's Northcutt.
fensive Team Selection