For the second straight week, the UC Davis women’s basketball team had to fly across a time zone to play a Friday night game.
This time, the outcome wasn’t as favorable.
A week after defeating Southern Utah, UC Davis fell victim to a 15-1 scoring run by Denver over the final three and a half minutes of play to give the Pioneers their first victory of the season, 64-50.
“The game was tied with three minutes left,” head coach Sandy Simpson said. “Then they took the lead by two points. We had a good look at a three-pointer, but it didn’t go and they scored again. After we hit a free throw they scored once more and hit their free throws down the stretch. I have to credit Denver on its play.“
The Aggies had gotten down multiple times in the game, but rallied back to stay in it. Denver’s 49 percent shooting clip, however, proved to be too much for UC Davis to overcome.
“Denver played steady,” Simpson said. “They played well together and spread the wealth in terms of scoring.“
The Aggies were also done in by shooting 28 percent while committing 14 turnovers in the game’s second half.
Still, the team walked away from the game with many positives to build on.
“I was pleased that we showed heart to come back like that,” Simpson said. “Kasey Riecks did a really nice job in only her second collegiate game. Her hustle was a spark for a late comeback. Genevieve Costello managed the game well. Lisa [Peterson] and Paige [Mintun] were solid down low.“
Peterson was the Aggies offensive leader, as her 10 points were good for her second straight game in double figures.
Junior Haylee Donaghe chipped in with nine points and four rebounds before leaving the game late with an injury.
Even though Simpson was pleased with the overall effort his team put in Friday night, he assures that there is still work to be done with his young team.
“We need to get better with the technical aspects of the game,” Simpson said. “That will come with time.“
Friday night’s game also marked the second time in Simpson’s 31 years of coaching that he was ejected from a game. He received his second technical foul with 3:36 remaining.
“Every once in a while you disagree with the way the game was officiated,” Simpson said. “There were situations where they were allowing quite a bit of physical play. I told them to look for that and the next time around they didn’t call it.“
Simpson and his team will be back in action Tuesday when UC Davis welcomes San Francisco to the Pavilion for its home opener. The game will begin at 7 p.m.
MAX ROSENBLUM can be reached at email@example.com.