UC Davis was hot after putting up dominating efforts on the road last weekend against UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton.
Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara extinguished that fire.
The Mustangs and Gauchos, who sit in third and first place in the Big West Conference, respectively, took care of the Aggies handily. The losses drop UC Davis to 9-16 overall and 5-9 in conference, good for fifth place.
Thursday – Cal Poly 62, UC Davis 47
The Aggies were out to avenge a four-point loss to the Mustangs earlier this season.
It looked as if UC Davis was on its way to doing so, as the game stayed close for the first 16 minutes of the contest. Tied 14-14 at that point, Cal Poly went on a 10-3 run to give them a 24-17 advantage at the half en route to a 62-47 win over UC Davis on Thursday night.
“The first 16 minutes of the game we played terrific,” said coach Sandy Simpson. “They hit a three eight seconds into the game and then they only scored 11 points the next 15 and a half minutes.“
The Mustangs then came out strong in the second period of play, as they went on a 21-4 run midway through the half to put the Aggies away.
“I thought Cal Poly was really aggressive in the second half and moved the ball extremely well,” Simpson said. “They got it out to double figures early in the second half and we didn’t respond.“
UC Davis had a tough time with Cal Poly senior forward Megan Harrison, who had a game-high 28 points on 11-for-23 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds.
The Aggies were led offensively by freshman Kasey Riecks, who scored 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting.
Saturday – UC Santa Barbara 69, UC Davis 50
There was the No. 1 team in conference in UCSB. There was a season-high 1,815 in attendance. It was the first game of a double-header, as the UC Davis men were set to take on Fresno State in an ESPNU BracketBusters contest following the completion of the women’s game.
UC Davis lived up to the hype of the night for the first 24 minutes of play, but UCSB was too much for the Aggies to handle down the stretch. The Gauchos took a 26-25 lead into the break before outscoring the Aggies 43-25 in the second half to pick up the win.
“The second half showed you tonight why Santa Barbara is a championship contender,” Simpson said. “I thought we came out and played with a lot of energy early on. I was pleased, especially with the defense in the first half. We challenged most of what they did.“
With 16:31 remaining in the game, freshman Hana Asano’s baseline fall-away jumper tied things up at 34-34. UCSB then began to pull away with an 11-0 run.
“[The run] was a combination of us missing shots and them making shots,” Simpson said. “Sometimes the game is crystallized down to a pretty simple formula. If you don’t make shots and the other team makes shots, you are going to lose. Period.“
UC Davis struggled on the boards, as UCSB outrebounded the Aggies 37-19 – 12-4 on the offensive glass.
“When we got position, we allowed them to move us under,” Simpson said. “There were other times where we had one player spectating on the boards and that is where we got hurt.
“The stats will show 12 offensive boards, but I thought the damage was worse than that. Their offensive rebounding set the tone. It is hard to play defense for between 20 and 25 seconds, force a tough shot and then have to go and play defense again.“
UCSB senior Sha’Rae Gibbons paced the Gauchos from beyond the arc, as she hit all five of her shots from long range for a game-high 17 points.
Senior Lauren Pedersen also turned in a solid game for UCSB, recording a double-double of 11 points and 10 assists.
The Aggies were led offensively by freshman Lauren Juric who went 4-for-9 from the field for 12 points.
Despite the pair of losses this weekend, UC Davis has much to be positive about with three regular-season contests remaining before the conference tournament.
“We are doing enough good things,” Simpson said. “I’m actually still really encouraged.“
MAX ROSENBLUM can be reached at email@example.com.