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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Season ends with WNIT appearance

After 32 games, the women’s basketball season has come to a close.

Over finals week, the team traveled to Berkeley, Calif. to take on California in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

This was no small task as UC Davis faced a talented Pac-10 Conference four days after losing to UC Riverside in the Big West Conference Tournament title game.

Despite the challenges, the Aggies gave the Bears a run for their money.

“Two years ago when we went and played Gonzaga in the WNIT we had nothing left in the tank,” said coach Sandy Simpson. “We even had to delay our departure today because of exams. For them to come out and be as focused as they were tonight – I was really pleased.”

After trailing by as much as seven in the first half, the Aggies closed the gap, tying the game with a Haylee Donaghe jumper heading into the break.

UC Davis came out of halftime playing with urgency as it took an eight-point advantage with six minutes left in regulation. Cal whittled down the lead and eventually tied the game at 60 with 39 seconds remaining.

The Aggies missed a potentially game-winning jumper with 19 seconds left, then made the defensive play of the game to send the contest into overtime.

With just two seconds left, Lauren Greif launched a potential go-ahead three-point basket. Unfortunately for the Bears, Paige Mintun came out of nowhere and deflected the shot in midair, leaving the game tied as the buzzer sounded.

The teams would battle back and forth in the extra period but the Bears would eventually pull away and win by a final score of 74-69.

Despite the loss, the Aggies were pleased with the final chapter of the 2009-10 season.

“I’m really proud of our team, not for just playing well but I thought they were really disciplined tonight,” Simpson said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to carry what happened tonight into future postseason experiences.”

The contest would be the last in an Aggie uniform for seniors Donaghe and Ashley Curry.

In the end, Donaghe was satisfied with her illustrious career at UC Davis.

“After the game ended and we got back to the locker room, I just looked around and told everyone that I can go out on this,” Donaghe said. “I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of such a quality program over the last six years. It was a good way to go out.”

MARK LING can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.


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