Big West gets best week from Valentine

Mekia Valentine

Mekia Valentine’s dominant performance in the paint this week earned her the Big West Conference player of the week honor, the conference announced on Monday.

The 6-foot-4 senior center from Greensboro, N.C. compiled 24 points and 33 rebounds in a pair of victories as the UCSB women’s basketball team improved to 15-10 overall and climbed into second place with a 9-4 record in conference play.

In Thursday’s victory at Cal State Fullerton, Valentine scored 11 points and pulled down 16 rebounds with five blocks in a 73-70 victory over the Titans. The Gauchos were the only road team, out of four, to win that Thursday night in conference play.

On Sunday afternoon, Valentine achieved her 11th double-double this year, clearing 17 more rebounds, along with 13 points and seven blocked shots, in the Gauchos’ 67-57 victory over Seattle University in a non-conference game. The win was the Gauchos fourth straight and seventh in nine games.

Valentine is now averaging 10.8 points and 10.7 rebounds per game this season. If she continues at this pace, she’ll become the first Gaucho to average a double-double since Erika Kienast in 1991-92.

This is the second time this year that Valentine has won Big West Conference Player of the Week honors.

The Gauchos host Long Beach State on Thursday night and Cal State Northridge on Saturday afternoon at the Thunderdome as conference play continues.