It’s safe to say the Aggies’ Big West Conference play this season hasn’t gone according to plan.
Therefore, they were looking at Saturday’s non-conference game against Seattle to get back on their winning ways.
That’s exactly what happened.
UC Davis seemed to be back on track after beating the Redhawks, 80-75.
The contest got off to a strange start as Seattle took the lead before the opening tip, as they were awarded free-throws due to a technical foul called on the Aggies for malfunctioning arena lights.
The Aggies made sure the lights were on from there on out.
UC Davis took the lead with 17:01 remaining in the first half, and never surrendered it for the remainder of the contest.
The Aggies – who were already without the services of post Lauren Juric – became even more short-handed as Paige Mintun and Samantha Meggison each picked up three early fouls.
Despite the foul trouble, UC Davis was able to extend the lead to 11 before taking a three-point advantage into the break.
The Redhawks kept the game within reach throughout the second half, but the Aggies were able to hold on for the victory.
Mintun led the game with 18 points and nine rebounds in just 18 minutes on the floor.
“She finished really well around the hoop and she was great on the boards,” said coach Sandy Simpson. “She had a few tough attempts that she knocked down. We needed her points inside.”
Sophomore Hannah Stephens saw extended minutes in the contest and was able to capitalize, shooting an efficient 3-of-4 on her way to 12 points.
“She was terrific,” Simpson said. “She stepped up and hit a couple big ones. She gave us a lift in the game.”
Sophomore Vicky Deely added 16 points and seven rebounds as she got back into rhythm offensively following two tough shooting games. Junior Kasey Riecks rounded out the Aggies in double figures, scoring 11.
UC Davis out-rebounded the Redhawks by 11 in the contest, including 20 offensive boards.
“[Crashing the glass] was a goal of ours coming into this game,” Deely said. “We were aggressive and that had a big effect on the game.”
One of the few negatives for the Aggies was their 19-turnover performance, placing them over their season average for the third straight game.
Another cause for concern was the Aggies’ inability to close the game out with late free throws.
UC Davis shot just 50 percent from the line in the final 2:04, allowing the Redhawks to cut the lead from 13 to five.
“The last three games we’ve been cold from the line,” Simpson said. “We’ve been working on it in practice, but in a close game down the stretch it could cost us if we don’t start shooting them better.”
Regardless of the few negatives, UC Davis was encouraged by their performance, and they believe they’ll be able to carry their momentum forward into next week’s matches.
“I think this was a really good game to get back into our winning mentality,” Stephens said. “We’re going to come out with a vengeance next week.”
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.