Lid Lifts on 2013-14 Season as Aggies Host USC

Junior Sydnee Fipps leads the Aggies against USC in their season opener this Friday at The Pavilion.
 
Junior Sydnee Fipps leads the Aggies against USC in their season opener this Friday at The Pavilion.
 

Nov. 6, 2013

DAVIS, Calif. -

THIS WEEK...
USC at UC Davis
Friday, Nov. 8, 2013
7 p.m.
The Pavilion (5,670)
Davis, Calif.
Game Coverage:
Gametracker | Audio | Video

TIP-OFF: The 2013-14 UC Davis women's basketball season gets underway this week as the Aggies (12-18 overall, 7-11 in the Big West Conference last season) welcome Pacific-12 Conference power USC to The Pavilion on Friday (Nov. 8) at 7 p.m.

IN THE POLLS: Neither UC Davis, nor USC, are listed among the Associated Press or USA Today Coaches Poll to start the 2013-14 campaign. However, two of the Aggies' non-conference opponents are: Connecticut (Dec. 5) enters the season as the No. 1 team in the land after clinching its eighth NCAA National Championship in 2013, while Bay Area rival Stanford is ranked No. 3 in the nation after reaching the third round last season before falling to Georgia by two points. Pacific, which will host UC Davis on Nov. 11, is also receiving one vote on the USA Today list.

SO... HOW `BOUT THOSE AGGIES?: Under the direction of third-year Head Coach Jennifer Gross (UC Davis `97), the Aggies return three starters and seven letter winners overall off of last season's squad that finished 12-18 overall and 7-11 in Big West Conference play (seventh place). UC Davis is led on the court by junior forward Sydnee Fipps, who ranked second in the conference in scoring at 17.1 ppg while starting all 30 contests for the Aggies, while Alyson Doherty (5.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and Celia Marfone (5.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg) also return to lead the charge.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE WOMEN OF TROY: USC returns almost its entire team from last season, bringing back four starters and 11 letter winners overall off the squad that finished 11-20 overall and 7-11 in Pac-12 Conference play for seventh place... the Women of Troy defeated Westmont, 73-38, in their only exhibition of the season on Nov. 1 at home... former USC great and basketball hall of famer Cynthia Cooper returns to her alma mater for her first season as head coach at USC after helping lead the Women of Troy to back-to-back NCAA Championships as a student-athlete, then going on to claim an Olympic gold medal and four titles as a player in the WNBA... The 2013-14 campaign is her ninth overall as a head coach with an overall record of 150-106 (.586) following stops at Texas Southern (2013 WNIT participant), UNC Wilmington (two WNIT appearances), and Prairie View A&M (two NCAA appearances and two WNIT berths)... the Women of Troy have been picked sixth in the Pac-12 preseason poll... senior forward Cassie Harberts is the leading returning scorer for USC after averaging 18.0 ppg and 8.2 rpg and shooting .438 from the floor a season ago while starting all 31 contests... junior guard Ariya Crook also averaged double figures at 13.4 ppg while dishing out 2.9 assists per game.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in UC Davis Athletics by "liking" us on Facebook (facebook.com/UCDavisAggies) and following us on Twitter (@UCDavisAggies). Game Day in-game updates are also available on Twitter by following us @UCDavisInGame.

"CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?": Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, live Internet audio will be available for Friday's clash with USC as well as broadcast locally on KDVS 90.3 FM with Greg Wong and Sammy Meckler on the call. Please visit the women's basketball schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com to access the links.

"YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE...": Bringing together live and on-demand video from each of the Big West Conference's nine member institutions, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews, and features, including every home and conference contest. Now in its 10th season, BigWest.TV will again air all of the Aggies home and conference clashes FOR FREE during the 2013-14 campaign. Log on to www.bigwest.org/thisweek for weekly event schedules or visit the women's basketball schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com.

I NEED STATS, STAT!: Live stats will be available for all of UC Davis' home games, as well as selected road contests, throughout the year. Follow along by accessing the links on the women's basketball schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com.

THE WEEK THAT WAS: Sophomore forward Alyson Doherty led all scorers with 20 points while Idit Oryon (14) and Heidi Johnson (12) each finished in double figures to lead UC Davis to an, 80-59, exhibition win over Humboldt State on Nov. 1 at The Pavilion. A 13-0 first-half run broke a 13-all tie and the Aggies led by 19 at the break after closing the period with a 13-5 burst. The Lumberjacks opened the second half scoring 14 of the first 18 points and eventually closed to within nine midway through the period, but a 10-2 run capped by a three-pointer by Celia Marfone put UC Davis back up by 17 and the Aggies never looked back, shooting just under 41 percent from the floor for the game and forcing Humboldt State into 22 turnovers.

LID LIFTERS: Friday's contest with USC will mark the second-consecutive year that the Aggies will open up the season in front of the hometown faithful, looking to rebound following an, 83-68, loss to Pepperdine in 2012-13, snapping a five-game winning streak in season openers dating back to 2007-08... UC Davis is 23-16 all-time in season openers dating back to the 1974-75 campaign, including a 10-5 mark at home in that span (with the locations of three games unknown)... the Aggies' last win in a season opener at home came on Nov. 11, 2007, defeating Sacramento State, 68-39, at The Pavilion... UC Davis is 8-2 in its last 10 home openers dating back to 2003-04.

DECADE OF DOMINANCE AT THE PAVILION: The Aggies have defended the home court well over the last 10 seasons, winning nearly two-third of their contests at The Pavilion to the tune of a combined 87-47 (.649) record dating back to 2003-04. In that span, UC Davis has suffered a losing home record only twice in 2008-09 (5-8) and 2012-13 (5-9) while posting double-digit win totals four times, including a high of 12 victories against only three defeats in the 2010-11 campaign.

CONFERENCE CALL: UC Davis is a combined 18-18 against the current alignment of the Pac-12 Conference following a 2012-13 campaign that saw the Aggies post a, 78-69, win over USC while falling to Stanford (87-38) and Washington (81-56)... USC will be the first of two Pac-12 opponents for UC Davis this season, including the Aggies' Nov. 17 match up at Stanford... UC Davis has faced all but four of the Pac-12's current roster of schools, having not faced Arizona, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado... the Aggies are 0-2 against Arizona State, 6-3 against California, 8-7 against Stanford, 1-0 against USC, 0-2 against UCLA, 0-2 against Oregon State, 2-1 against Washington, and 1-1 against Washington State.

DOHERTY DOES WORK: The tallest player on the court last Friday against Humboldt State played up to her size against the Lumberjacks as sophomore forward Alyson Doherty dominated inside to the tune of 20 points and six rebounds in the Aggies' 21-point exhibition win. Doherty scored 14 of her game-high total in the first half, finishing 6-of-9 from the field and adding 8-of-9 from the line in 26 minutes. If the stats had counted toward her season totals, the 20 points would have been a career high for the Lake Forest, Calif., native, topping her previous best of 16 set at Cal State Fullerton last season.

WINDEX WOMEN: Using their superior size to dominate the paint against Humboldt State, the Aggies outrebounded the Lumberjacks, 46-35, in their exhibition win as five different UC Davis players finished with at least six rebounds in the contest. Junior Sydnee Fipps and sophomore Celia Marfone led the way with a game-high seven rebounds apiece while Alyson Doherty, junior Brianna Salvatore, and sophomore Heidi Johnson, grabbed six boards each. 

AGGIES PICKED SIXTH IN BIG WEST PRESEASON MEDIA POLL: UC Davis was picked to finish sixth in the race for the 2013-14 Big West Conference crown according to a vote of the league's media members released by the conference office on Oct. 23. The Aggies garnered 72 points to finish ahead of Cal State Fullerton (59), UC Irvine (54), and UC Riverside (38). Defending conference champion Cal Poly was the popular pick to defending its title, receiving 17 first-place votes and 177 points overall to edge out second-place Hawaii (three first-place votes, 159 points). Cal State Northridge (121 points), Long Beach State (120), and UC Santa Barbara (100), round out the top five.

FIPPS HONORED: UC Davis junior Sydnee Fipps was one of six players named to the Big West Preseason All-Conference Team by the members of the media, one season after being named to the All-Big West First Team. Fipps started all 30 games for the Aggies in 2012-13, leading the team (and ranking second in the league) in scoring while pacing the team at 5.1 rebounds per game. She shot .443 from the floor, .319 from three-point range, and .817 from the line, while amassing the most points (512) by a sophomore in the history of the program. Fipps, who scored a career-high 29 points against Long Beach State on Jan. 31 of last season, led the Aggies in scoring in 21 of the team's 30 contests.

TOURNEY TESTED SCHEDULE: The Aggies will embark on yet another challenging campaign in 2013-14, facing two of the sport's legendary programs in preseason No. 3 Stanford and top-ranked defending NCAA champion Connecticut, as well as nine schools overall that saw action in either the NCAA Tournament or WNIT postseason event last season. The Huskies completed their run to their eighth national championship with a finals win over Louisville while the Cardinal advanced to the third round of the tournament before falling to Georgia. Big West Conference Tournament champion Cal Poly is the third NCAA Tournament opponent on the slate for 2013-14 while six other opponents (Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, Hawaii, Akron, Pacific, and Saint Mary's) were WNIT qualifiers. 

HOWARD DEAN WOULD BE PROUD: Not only are the Aggies going to Stockton, they're going to Palo Alto and San Luis Obispo and Hartford and Hempstead (New York) and Moraga and Santa Clara, in search of victories... YEAH! UC Davis will be playing eight of its first 10 contests away from the friendly confines of The Pavilion to tip-off the 2013-14 campaign with only regular season contests against USC (Nov. 8) and San Jose State (Nov. 26) contested in front of the hometown faithful in that stretch. The Aggies won't return home for an extended stretch until Dec. 21, beginning a season-long five-game homestand against non-conference foes Houston Baptist (Dec. 21), Sacramento State (Dec. 28), and Simpson University (Jan. 2), before opening Big West Conference competition against Cal State Northridge (Jan. 9) and Long Beach State (Jan. 11). In all, UC Davis will host just 13 of its 29 regular season contests at The Pavilion this season.

ALL OVER THE MAP: Aside from its requisite slate of Big West Conference contests, the Aggies will face-off against opponents from eight different conferences, including four from the West Coast Conference (Pacific, San Francisco, Saint Mary's, Santa Clara), two from the Pac-12 (USC and Stanford), and one each from the Mountain West (San Jose State), Mid-American (Akron), American Athletic (UConn), Colonial Athletic (Hofstra), Southland (Houston Baptist), and Big Sky (Sacramento State).

BY THE NUMBERS: With seven letterwinners coming back for the 2013-14 season, the Aggies return 65 percent (1,177) of their points, 75 percent (753) of their rebounds, half of their assists (182), just over half of their steals (173), and two-thirds of their blocked shots (67) from a season ago. What does that all mean? We don't know, but numbers are fun.

THEY'RE BAAAAAAAAACK!: Head Coach Jennifer Gross will regain the services of a pair of players who missed out on last year's campaign due to injury as Brianna Salvatore and Lauren Beyer bounce back to compete once again in 2013-14. Salvatore appeared in only six games last season before going down, scoring six points and grabbing 20 rebounds a season after averaging a career-best 3.5 ppg and 2.7 rpg as a sophomore. Beyer, a 2011 McDonald's High School All-America nominee as a senior after helping Bradshaw Christian School to four CIF Sac-Joaquin Section titles, has missed the better part of the last two years since suffering a season-ending injury just two games into her freshman season sitting out all of 2012-13 to recover.