Cal Poly to host UC Irvine to start Big West Conference play

Posted at 5:44 PM, Jan 03, 2019

Cal Poly opens Big West Conference play this weekend, as the Mustang women’s basketball team will host UC Irvine at 2 p.m. Saturday in Mott Athletics Center.

Sophomore forward Jordan Sanders averages 21.5 points and 7.1 rebounds to lead the Anteaters, who finished non-conference action with the Big West’s top overall record, 10-2.

Andee Ritter, a senior guard, adds 12.8 points per game for UCI, and junior guard Lauren Saiki ranks 10th in the country with 6.5 assists per game while also averaging 11.8 points.

A Youth Basketball Day in Mott, Jan. 5 will feature free admission for kids 13-and-under. Mustang Kids Club members can also participate in a free youth basketball clinic with the team from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Cal Poly, looking to bounce back from an 81-35 loss at UCLA Dec. 28, finished non-conference play 3-8, going 2-3 at home, 1-4 on the road and 0-1 on a neutral court.

STANBACK NO. 7 IN THE BIG WEST IN SCORING: Mustang senior center Devin Stanback comes into this week seventh in the Big West in scoring, averaging 13.3 points. Additionally, her field-goal percentage of .527 (second throughout the conference) ranks 58th nationally.

Stanback, also grabbing 4.7 rebounds per game, posted career highs of 30 points and 11 rebounds at Sacramento State on Nov. 11.

STAHLEY TOP-5 IN CONFERENCE IN BOTH STEALS, ASSISTS: Cal Poly senior point guard Dye Stahley begins the weekend ranked No. 4 in the conference in steals per game (2.1) and No. 5 in assists (4.6).

In addition, Stahley — whose 34.5 minutes played per game so far in 2018-19 are the sixth-most in the conference — also ranks No. 9 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8). Stahley won the Big West Best Hustle Award as a junior.

VESELA SCORES 17 IN MUSTANG DEBUT, LEADS CAL POLY TO WIN AT SEATTLE U: Making her Cal Poly debut, junior forward Hana Vesela scored a team-high 17 points against Seattle U on Dec. 17, leading the Mustangs to a 60-50 win.

Vesela, who played for the Czech Republic U-20 program at the 2016 FIBA European Championship, joined the Mustangs in a practice capacity this past February as a mid-year transfer from Michigan State.

The 6-foot-4 native of Pribor, Czech Republic is averaging 12.0 points and 5.5 boards through two appearances as a Mustang.

NUNNELLEY, HOLT, ROUFOSSE ALSO AMONG CONFERENCE LEADERS: Averaging 6.1 rebounds, Cal Poly senior forward Katie Nunnelley opens the week 10th in the conference. She notched her second double-double in seven days against USF on Nov. 18, leading Cal Poly with a career-best 21 points to go with 10 boards.

Nunnelley corralled 17 rebounds at Sacramento State. The most rebounds by a Mustang since Hannah Gilbert secured 18 at UC Irvine on Jan. 9, 2016, Nunnelley’s effort was seven boards back of the single-game school record (24 by Sherrie Atteberry in 1987). Additionally, at .846 via 22-for-26, Nunnelley is third throughout the Big West in free-throw percentage.

Sophomore guard Malia Holt and junior forward Alicia Roufosse, meanwhile, also rank among the Big West leaders in several categories. Holt is 10th in assists per game (3.2) plus eighth in steals (1.8), while Roufosse is 14th throughout the conference in rebounding (at 5.7 per game), as well as eighth in field-goal percentage (.475).

BIG WEST TOURNAMENT SLATED FOR IRVINE, ANAHEIM: The first round (featuring seeds 5-8) and quarterfinals (adding the No. 3 and 4 seeds) of the 36th annual Big West Tournament will be held from March 12-13 at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, before the semifinals and championship game move to the Honda Center in Anaheim for March 15-16.

Cal Poly was picked fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Big West Conference Preseason Women’s Basketball media and coaches polls on Oct. 24. The Mustangs received 101 points in the media balloting for fifth (seven points back of a tie for third between UC Irvine and Long Beach State), next to 35 points in the coaches voting to rank sixth (10 back of Hawai’i, chosen fifth).

Defending Big West Tournament champion CSUN was projected by the coaches for first place, receiving 77 points alongside six first-place votes, outdoing 2018 regular-season champion UC Davis’ 75 points coupled with three first-place ballots. The media poll was switched at the top, however, with 12 first-place votes boosting the Aggies to No. 1, edging out CSUN (eight first places), 171-166.

Additionally, both also voted on Preseason All-Conference Teams, each of which came out identical: CSUN senior center Channon Fluker along with Matador teammate Serafina Maulupe, a senior guard, UCD senior forward Morgan Bertsch, CSF senior center Daeja Smith, UCI sophomore forward Jordan Sanders, and LBSU sophomore guard Shanajiah Davison.

The Mustangs returned seven letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished second in the Big West standings at 11-5 en route to a semifinals appearance at the conference tournament, going 17-12 overall.

Provided by Cal Poly