After the Aggies dropped their first Big West Conference game of the season on Friday, there were questions about how they would respond.
On Sunday, UC Davis responded emphatically.
The Aggies (11-3, 1-1) controlled all facets of the game as they posted a 22-point victory over conference foe Cal State Northridge. The performance began with aggressive defense right from the tip.
“We wanted to start the game off strong with a lot of pressure,” said senior Heidi Heintz. “I think our guards did a great job of setting the tone for us defensively.”
That intensity allowed the Aggies to jump out to an eight-point halftime advantage.
UC Davis didn’t let up in the second period. The Aggies extended the lead to 21 within the first seven minutes of the final half, and never looked back, cruising to a 78-56 victory.
One key to the UC Davis’ success was creating more opportunities than their opponents.
The Aggies had 20 more field goal attempts than the Matadors, largely due to UC Davis’ plus 16 turnover margin.
“The turnover differential was huge in this game,” said coach Sandy Simpson. “Any time you have a turnover differential of 10 or more it’s a tremendous advantage.”
Those extra shots at the basket were good news for the Aggies, and so was the play of sophomore Vicky Deely.
Starting in just her second game of the season, Deely posted a career-high 22 points to lead UC Davis.
To the Sonoma, Calif. native, the key was getting in rhythm early by sinking two shots from long distance.
“I needed those two early threes,” said Deely. “I felt like I needed my flow and my confidence back … I went into this game with a different kind of attitude and I think that really made a difference.”
It looked like Deely’s afternoon might have been over during the first half as she took a hard fall going for a rebound, but the sophomore used her grit to get back into the game.
“When she took that fall,” said Simpson, “I thought she was probably done for the game, but she’s very tough both physically and mentally and she was able to get back into the game.”
Deely was one of five Aggies to finish in double figures for the game.
Regardless of the individual accomplishments, the most important part of the victory was getting back to winning ways.
“This was a really good bounce back game for us,” said Deely. “We shot with confidence and we played our game. If we go into future games with this same confidence then no one can stop us.”
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org