YOLO COUNTY NEWS

Aggies

Aggie women set for another test

By December 6, 2010

Enterprise staff writer

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UC Davis coach Sandy Simpson isn\’t exactly Dorothy of the “Wizard of Oz,” but he wouldn\’t mind if on Sunday his Aggie house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East — in this case Kansas State.

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Cruising along at 6-1, the UC Davis women travel to Big 12 country for a matchup with the 6-1 Wildcats. It will be another of those tests against solid programs on the road; tests in which the locals seem to be getting passing grades.

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But with a mix-and-match roster that allows the Aggies to provide a lot of different looks, this season feels different to everyone in the program.

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Thank a very deep bench for that confidence.

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“Watch our bench,” Simpson says. “Watch the kids setting there … they really get into it. Even the starters, when they\’re out. They\’re just as happy for their teammates success as they are for their own.”

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Players like Vicky Deely, Lauren Juric, Blair Shinoda and Hannah Stephens can be called on and, as has often been the case this season, there\’s no appreciable different in tempo, enthusiasm or efficiency.

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Last week in a handy win over visiting St. Mary\’s, UCD went on a game-changing 12-0 run — the charge led by reserve Deely\’s eight points and two steals. Two other members of that deep bench were on the court as the Aggies pulled away last Wednesday.

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“At the start, we have four or five minutes to adjust to what the starters have done,” Deely says, reporting that studying matchups and listening to coaches are key early.

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Adds Shinoda: “We\’re really deep. When we sub, we don\’t drop. We don\’t see that drop other schools do.”

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Shinoda and her Relief Corps, as good as they are, have been supplying support for a pretty good starting five.

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Paige Mintun — a Big West preseason all-conference pick — hasn\’t disappointed. Averaging a hiccup over 13 points a night, Mintun\’s 11 offensive rebounds are a team high. Kasey Riecks, the Placerville Bomber, has been heating up and Hana Asano\’s defense has created numerous fastbreak opportunities for the locals.

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Heidi Heintz and Asano are tied for top Aggies honors with 24 assists each and versatile Samantha Meggison is averaging six points a game.

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Five UCD players are in double digits in steals.

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Up and down the stat sheet, there\’s balance and a warm feeling if you\’re an Aggie fan. Then only head-scratcher so far is rebounding. UCD has been outboarded 277-230. Simpson says they\’re working on it.

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“After the first rebound, there is no second rebound, it\’s just a free-for-all,” Simpson believes. “We\’re doing a great job on first shots. It\’s second or third shots (that we\’re working on).”

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Whether it\’s the starters or the bench, together, the Aggies hope they gel for solid efforts on the road at Kansas State and two days later at Wichita State (4-3).

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Brittany Chambers, a 5-foot-8 guard, leads Kansas State with a 17.7 per game average. She\’s joined by Jalana Childs (12 ppg) and Taelor Karr (10.3) as the main offensive threats.

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Chambers and Karr each scored 12 points against UCD in a 73-59 victory last year at The Pavilion, when the \’Cats hit a season-high 13 treys.

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Simpson believes the challenge against K-State will be in transition:

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“They\’re great 3-point shooters, too, and we have to get back and know where they\’re trailers are, make sure they don\’t (hit a three). Actually, I think we match up well inside with Kansas State.”

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Notes: Both the Kansas State (Noon) and Wichita (5 p.m.) games will be broadcast on KDVS (90.3 FM). … UCD has wins over Pac-10 (Washington State), West Coast Conference (Pepperdine) and SEC (South Carolina) squads already this season. A Big 12 trophy on Sunday would look good in the RPI. “I think this is the first year that Davis has really taken that first big step, beating teams like South Carolina,” Deely said recently.”

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