- At UC Davis on Friday evening. The game will be live-streamed by Big West TV and broadcast by KZSU. If you plan to go to the game, allow plenty of driving time. Google Maps says two hours on a Monday evening, but Hwy 80 from the Bay Area to Davis is often heavily congested on a Friday afternoon.
- At Gonzaga on Sunday afternoon. The game will televised by SWX (a local sports & weather channel in the Spokane area), live-streamed by Zag Sports ($9.95 charge) and broadcast by KZSU.
UC Davis's head coach Jennifer Gross is one of the top offensive coaches on the west coast, and her teams have given Stanford some challenging competition in recent years. The Aggies have advanced to the WNIT four times in their five years as a Division I program.
They may not be quite so challenging early in this season. They lost the nucleus of the team – four strong starters – to graduation and have six newcomers – five freshmen and a transfer from Iowa State who is not eligible to play this season.
They've been picked to finish seventh (of ten) in the Big West and are 2-2 for the season
The Aggies who will probably see the most action on Friday are:
- #14, 5'10" sophomore forward Sydnee Fipps starts for the Aggies and is their leading scorer with 21.8 points per game. She's taken about 40% of her shots from beyond the arc and made 40% of them. She also averages 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game.
- #13, 5'11" senior guard Cortney French came off the bench last season, but is a starter this season and the Aggie's second-best scorer with 19.5 points per game. She's taken almost 3/4 of her shots from beyond the arc and made 47% of them. She grabs 4.0 rebounds per game.
- #10, 5'10" senior guard Blair Shinoda plays the point and is the Aggies' only returning starter. The Aggies average about eleven assists per game, and Shinoda dishes out 3.5 of them. She also averages 2.75 steals and 4.8 points per game.
- #24, 5'10" junior forward Brianna Salvatore comes off the bench for about 20 minutes per game. She is the Aggies' best rebounder with a modest average of 4.5 per game.
- #23, 5'9" freshman guard Molly Greubel also comes off the bench for about 20 minutes per game. She averages 7.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.
The Bulldogs no longer have Courtney Vandersloot, Kayla Standish or Kate Redmon, who led their team deep into the NCAA tournament in the past three years.
They have a lot of youth this season – 10 underclassmen, including six freshmen. But they still have head coach Kelly Graves, one of the best coaches in the mid-majors, who's been building Bulldog teams that compete with the best for 12 years. He says the team is one of the most talented he's had at Gonzaga.
The apparent drop in talent at Gonzaga prompted coaches to pick the Bulldogs to finish second (to BYU) in the West Coast Conference this season. It's a first for the Zags in five years to be picked anywhere but first, but it hasn't slowed them down. They've won five of their first six games, losing only to #6 Louisville in a tournament in Puerto Vallarta.
The Bulldogs are especially competitive at home in their 6000-seat "Kennel", which is sold out for Sunday's game.
These are the most productive Bulldogs:
- #3, 5'8" junior guard Haiden Palmer leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 12.0 points per game and also averages 2.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals. She transferred to Gonzaga two years ago after her freshman year at Oregon State.
- #24, 5'10" sophomore guard Keani Albanez comes off the bench to score the Bulldogs' second-most points (10.1 per game). She's taken exactly half her shots from beyond the arc and made exactly half of them.
- #34, 5'9" junior guard Jazmine Redmon runs the Bulldogs' up-tempo offense. She dishes out 3.7 assists per game and has an excellent assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.89. She also scores 7.3 points per game.
- #12, 5'8" senior guard Taelor Karr transferred to Gonzaga last season after two years at Kansas State and was immmediately eligible to play. She shares point guard duty with Redmon. She scores a bit more (7.7 points per game) and distributes the ball less (2.6 assists and 2.6 turnovers per game).
- #44, 6'5" redshirt freshman center Shelby Cheslek contributes much-needed height and strength to the guard-oriented Bulldogs. She's their top rebounder (4.9 per game) and has blocked almost two shots per game.
Michelle Smith (espnW) has much more to say about the Zags here: Gonzaga has a new look this season