Thursday Big West openers: Fipps-led UCD women home

By From page B1 | January 09, 2014


UCD's Sydnee Fipps (14), who has scored more than 20 points in each of her past five games, leads the Aggies against Northridge on Thursday night at The Pavilion. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

Junior Sydnee Fipps needs just 129 points to blow past the 1,000 mark and overtake Kendall Greene for No. 15 on the all-time UC Davis women’s basketball scoring list.

As Cal State Northridge comes to town Thursday night to open Big West Conference play, the forward from Mariposa is on a torrid streak that has seen her hit for 20 or more points in five consecutive games.

“She’s been terrific all year,” Aggie coach Jennifer Gross says of Fipps. “Sydnee plays hurt, always gives it her best effort … the team looks to her for leadership.”

UCD (5-8) also got a boost recently with the return of post Alyson Doherty from an extended illness.

Iowa State transfer Kelsey Harris has scored 36 points in her last two games and guard Molly Greubel has emerged as a floor force.

“I’m excited about where we are,” Gross adds. “Getting each one of our kids doing what they do and playing confidently, we’re a tough team to beat.”

Another pleasant addition to the lineup has been forward Heidi Johnson.

Filling in for Doherty and Celia Marfone (leg), the 6-foot-2 Buchanan High grad (Clovis) has been solid inside, earning increased playing time, especially if Marfone is redshirted.

“We need Heidi,” Gross says. “Fifteen and 10 each night. That’s what Heidi can bring to the floor.”

Despite the Matadors’ 4-10 record, the Aggies will have their hands full with preseason All-Big West selection Ashlee Guay and the red-hot Cinnamon Lister.

Guay needs just two steals to establish a new CSUN record (216).

When Guay gets an additional 110 points, the junior guard will be the 10th player in her school’s history to hit 1,000.

If she collects 33 more assists, she owns that school benchmark, too.

Lister is a junior transfer from Boise State and is scoring 15.9 points per game.

But the Matadors collectively are hitting only 37 percent from the field.

The big Aggie weekend continues Saturday with Long Beach State (8-6) at 2 p.m. in The Pavilion.

Meanwhile, the UCD men are on the road Thursday, hoping to make it four straight wins over Northridge (8-7). The probable Aggie starters — Corey Hawkins, Ryan Sypkens, Iggy Nujic, Georgi Funtarov and Darius Graham — will need to play much-improved defense if UCD wants to make a serious run in the Big West.

Struggling at 5-10, the locals are likely to again be without guard Brynton Lemar (knee) and are without forward Josh Ritchart (leg).

If Ritchart plays one more game this season, he is no longer eligible for a medical redshirt — and coach Jim Les says a definitive move is “expected very soon.”

The 7 p.m. men’s game will be streamed on ESPN3 (www.espn.go.com).

Notes: First-year Cal State Northridge coach Reggie Theus is a former NBA player whose playing days in 1988-91 overlapped Les’. Both once played for the Sacramento Kings, but were never teammates. Theus was an All-American prep star at Inglewood High before attending UNLV. Theus eventually returned for a year and 24 games as the Kings’ head coach (2006-08). … Among active Aggies, Hawkins leads all scorers with 17.1 ppg. Sypkens is up to 11.5 ppg. For the Matadors, juniors Stephen Hicks (17.6 points per outing) and Stephen Maxwell (16.5) are players to watch and senior guard Josh Greene is a four-year varsity guy with a 14.8 scoring average.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.

Bruce Gallaudet

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