Aggies Clinches Big West Tourney Home Game

Paige Mintun scored 20 points for the Aggies during Saturday's win. <br> (Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)
Paige Mintun scored 20 points for the Aggies during Saturday's win.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)

Feb. 26, 2011

Final Stats| Coach Simpson Tribute Video

DAVIS, Calif. - Senior Paige Mintun, playing her final regular-season game at The Pavilion, scored 20 points along with teammate Kasey Riecks, as UC Davis clinched a home game in next month's Big West Tournament with an 83-67 win over UC Irvine in a women's basketball game on Saturday afternoon.

UC Davis is 19-8 overall - one win shy of its second straight 20-win season - and 8-6 in the Big West.

The Aggies' win, coupled with league-leader Cal Poly's victory over Long Beach State (6-9 in the Big West) on Saturday, guarantees UC Davis a top-four finish in the Big West standings. The Aggies swept UC Irvine (7-8 in the Big West) this season, providing them a tiebreaker advantage if they finish with the same record.

The first round of the Big West Tournament this season will be played on home sites on Mar. 8 with winners advancing to the semifinals at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Mar. 11.

UC Irvine, which fell to 15-12 overall and 7-8 in the Big West, was led by Jacquelyn Marshall who scored 19 points and Jade Smith-Williams who finished with 14.

Over a nearly 13-minute span covering the two halves, UC Davis outscored UC Irvine 44-13.

Three Aggie seniors took part in their final regular-season games on Hamilton Court. Mintun and fellow seniors Heidi Heintz and Anna Harp were honored during pregame ceremonies along with head coach Sandy Simpson who will retire at the end of this season.

Their UC Davis teammates rewarded them with a strong effort, making 11 three-pointers, outrebounding the Anteaters 35-33, and picking up 23 assists on 27 baskets. The Aggies also made 18 of 20 from the line.



"What I was most pleased about today was I thought we played hard the entire game," Simpson said. "To me it looked like it was going to be a fairly close game all the way through. But we shot the ball extremely well the first half and were able to build a little bit of a lead by halftime.

"And in the second half we just got some momentum going," he added.

The teams were locked in a close battle for most of the first half but UC Davis outscored UC Irvine 25-11 over the final 7:45 of the first half to take a two-point lead to 46-30 at halftime.

Riecks knocked down a pair of treys in the first half while UC Davis had a half-dozen overall. She scored 10 points before the break while Mintun had 12, nine of hers coming during the run that pushed the Aggies' lead into double-digits. UC Davis shot 53.8 percent from the field over the first 20 minutes.

A 19-2 run over the first almost five minutes of the second half, which included back-to-back three-pointers from Riecks and Samantha Meggison, pushed the lead to its largest margin, 65-33.

The Aggies led by at least 25 points until UC Irvine was able to climb a little closer over the final seven minutes.

Riecks finished with four treys while Meggison had a pair. Guard Hana Asano had five assists while Mintun had four steals and a team-high eight rebounds. UC Davis finished with 13 steals overall.

The Anteaters picked up 11 points from Jazmyne White and 10 from Tayler Champion with White adding a game-best nine rebounds.

Mintun will end her career ranked on several all-time top-10 lists at UC Davis, including points, rebounds and steals. She is the all-time blocked shots leaders as well. She is a two-time All-Big West honoree while Heintz, who scored her 1,000th career point earlier this season, earned All-Big West recognition last year.

Harp received All-Division I Independent accolades as a freshman and played a key role during the Aggies' first run toward a Big West Tournament final appearance in 2008 before being sidelined with injuries.

Simpson will retire as the program's all-time winningest coach, picking up victory No. 246 with Saturday's victory. He's enjoyed a 24-year tenure with the program, including 14 as head coach.

The Aggies will finish the regular season with games at Cal State Northridge on Thursday and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.