By MAX ROSENBLUM
Aggie Staff Writer
The Aggies have been finding themselves in very similar situations at the end of games as of late.
For the fifth straight game on Saturday, UC Davis (7-14, 3-7) saw a second-half lead turn into a narrow defeat against UC Riverside (13-9, 9-1) after falling to Long Beach State (5-17, 2-8) on Thursday. The two losses came by a combined seven points.
Thursday – Long Beach State 68, UC Davis 64
The Aggies began Thursday night looking to end a mini three-game losing streak.
They started off the game as if they were going to do just that.
UC Davis took a 10-point lead at the halfway point of the first period of play.
The 49ers then fought back to tie the game at 35-35 with a little under two minutes to play only to see the Aggies take a 40-35 lead into halftime.
Long Beach State then kicked it into gear, going on a 20-6 run to begin the second half.
The Aggies tied things up at 64-64 with 1:21 to play, but their offense stalled from there. UC Davis missed its last two shots as the 49ers edged out the victory.
“We had the 20-point lead, got down nine and came back,” said coach Sandy Simpson. “There is something to be said for that when we weren’t hitting on all cylinders to fight back to tie the game.“
For the players, the loss came down to two things: energy and a lack of a winning instinct.
“It is our energy level,” said freshman Lauren Juric, whose 14 points were a team-high. “We try to come out with energy, but the past couple of games we have been low on that. …We always seem to have a way to let the other team get back into the game.“
“I think everyone needs to develop some instinct when the other team starts scoring to not put our heads down and fire ourselves up to get back in their face,” said senior Genevieve Costello.
Saturday – UC Riverside 47, UC Davis 44 (O.T.)
The Aggies were without the services of Paige Mintun and Costello, leaving only seven players to suit up against the Highlanders.
Just don’t tell the players who did suit up there were only seven of them.
UC Davis stuck with favored UC Riverside from start to finish, forcing overtime in a 47-44 defeat.
The Aggies forced the Highlanders to miss their first 13 shots from the field, jumping out to an early 11-0 lead in the game’s first nine minutes. UC Davis took a seven-point lead into the break, 23-16.
“We came out and really executed defensively,” Simpson said. “Without Paige or Genevieve, we were down to the basics as far as personnel. We rebounded well and I was pleased with that.“
UC Riverside kicked it into gear with six minutes remaining, turning an eight-point deficit into a one-point lead with 47 seconds to play.
A layup by Juric to give the Aggies the lead was countered by a UC Riverside free throw, sending the game to overtime, 38-38.
“We came out strong again in the second half,” Simpson said. “UC Riverside is a veteran team. You can’t stretch that lead out. They don’t let you.“
The extra session was close, as the Highlanders had only a three-point advantage with 1:18 remaining.
UC Riverside proceeded to miss its next six free throws, giving UC Davis three more opportunities to get down the court to score. But the inability to convert late hindered the Aggies.
“I like the fact that we had the opportunity to come down a couple of times for shots,” Simpson said. “We got a look at a three, but [didn’t convert].“
Juric scored 14 points, a team-high for the second consecutive game. She also added 12 rebounds to get the double-double.
“Lauren played well and competed at both ends of the floor,” Simpson said.
MAX ROSENBLUM can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.