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Riecks ready to rock

CAMPUS CANVASS: Now familiar with system at UC Davis, Placer grad can focus on playing at a higher level for the Aggies
By: Ray Hacke, Journal Sports Writer
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Kasey Riecks has found her comfort zone at UC Davis. No longer is the Placer High graduate’s focus on familiarizing herself with the intricacies of the Aggie women’s basketball team’s offensive and defensive schemes. After logging a team-high 31.4 minutes a game as a freshman last season, Riecks can now fulfill her roles on both ends of the floor with much more confidence than she could a year ago. “I know the program a lot better this year,” the sophomore guard/forward said. “The offense and defense we run are pretty complicated, and getting so much experience last year has been really helpful this year.” Aggies coach Sandy Simpson concurred. “Last year she did a lot of learning as far as what was required to be successful at the college level,” he said. “This year she’s able to play basketball a little more and not have to think her way through every situation.” Riecks saw as much action as she did last season because UC Davis lacked depth due to injuries. She’s getting a bit more rest this season, playing six fewer minutes a game, but her production is just as high. A Big West Conference All-Freshman Team selection who was also an all-conference honorable mention last winter, Riecks has either held or shared the title of UC Davis’ high scorer in four games this season. She hit five 3-pointers en route to scoring 21 points — the highest single-game total by a UC Davis player this season — against Seattle University on Nov. 13. Riecks also ranks among the Aggies’ team leaders in several categories, including scoring (third, 9.5 points per game), free-throw shooting (second, 83.3 percent), 3-point shooting (fourth, 38.1 percent) and assists (tied for fourth, 13). “Kasey kind of gives us a steady production to work around,” Simpson said. Simpson calls Riecks “a Jane-of-all-trades” who “does a little bit of everything for us.” While Riecks doesn’t necessarily dominate any particular facet of the game, according to Simpson, she is good at several. “I don’t know if she’s great at any one thing,” Simpson said. “She’s a solid 3-point shooter. She’s a good passer. I’d rather have a player who’s good in every area than a player who’s great at one or two things and not so good at everything else.” Simpson also lauds Riecks for her versatility. Her ability to play anywhere from shooting guard to power forward “presents match-up problems for any opponent,” the coach said. “At the guard spot, she’s more of a shooting threat,” he said. “At the forward spot, she can attack the rim a little more. It depends on who we’re matched up against – (at guard) she’s going to make the open shot more often than not, and at the forward spot she’s going to be a lot quicker than someone who can’t keep up with her on the perimeter.” UC Davis (7-4) reached the title game of the Big West Tournament the season before Riecks arrived. The Aggies fell short of that last season, but as part of a large group of returning players, Riecks hopes to help her team challenge UC Santa Barbara for conference supremacy. “I just hope in every game to help contribute to a run through the conference tournament,” Riecks said. “We’ve gotten through the preseason with a good win/loss ratio. I just want to help our team achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves.” “She’s already better as a college player than she was as a high school player,” Simpson said. “She’s going to get better still. I don’t see her plateauing.”