A young UC Davis squad comprised of seven freshmen faced its first regular season test of the 2008-2009 campaign as it traveled to Southern Utah on Friday night.
The Aggies answered the call.
Using a 9-2 run at the start of the second half, the Aggies were able to rout the Thunderbirds and capture a 64-44 road victory in their first of two away contests to open the season.
“This was a good test for our team on the road in a hostile venue,” head coach Sandy Simpson said.
UC Davis didn’t seem fazed by the hostile environment as it held Southern Utah to 13 first half points and 28 percent shooting for the game.
“We played well defensively in the first half,” Simpson said.
The defense was sparked by junior wing Haylee Donaghe, who had a career-high nine steals. The Aggies had 18 as a team.
“It’s one of her strengths,” said Simpson. “She set the tone defensively.“
Offensively, three Aggies scored in double-figures, including freshman Lisa Peterson, who shot 5 for 8 from the field for a game-high 14 points in only 21 minutes of play.
“Lisa Peterson did a good job establishing her game in the low post,” said Simpson.
Sophomore Paige Mintun and senior Genevieve Costello were the other Aggies in double-figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Mintun also had a team-high seven rebounds. Peterson added six of her own.
Along with her nine steals, Donaghe pitched in with eight points, four rebounds and three assists.
The Aggies, however, were outplayed on the boards Friday night.
After outrebounding its opponents 95-50 in its two exhibition contests, UC Davis was outrebounded 46-39 by Southern Utah.
“Now that we are in the regular season, we need to pay more attention to detail,” said Simpson. “We were outhustled on the boards. Personnel-wise, we matched up well with Southern Utah. I don’t see any reason why we should have been outrebounded.“
Simpson assures that the Aggies will only improve throughout the season.
“We need to be more determined,” said Simpson. “We will work on that this week in preparation for next week. These are things that come along as the season progresses.“
UC Davis‘ next road test will come Friday when the team travels to Denver to play the Pioneers at 6 p.m.
MAX ROSENBLUM can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.