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Davis, California

Friday, February 23, 2024

Aggies hand Matadors first conference loss

The UC Davis women’s basketball program had a couple of eventful wins this week, improving their overall record to 11-6 and reaching some milestones along the way.

After playing six of their last seven games away from the Pavilion, the Aggies returned home and did not disappoint the home fans.

UC Davis had started off the conference at 1-2, but the two wins this week brought their league record up to 3-2 –– good for fourth place in the Big West Conference.

In Saturday’s game, senior Kasey Riecks broke the 1,000 career points barrier, becoming just the 15th player in UC Davis history to reach this milestone.

Thursday  UC Davis 55, Cal State Northridge 53

The game against Cal State Northridge was not the Aggies’ best performance, but they ended up scraping by with the victory in the end.

At halftime, the score was 21-19 in favor of the Aggies, with UC Davis shooting 8-32 and the Matadors with a similar 8-31 mark. The Aggies struggled on offense, but their defense stayed strong to hold the CSU Northridge offense at bay.

“Our defense was playing really well in the first half,” said head coach Jennifer Gross. “We focused on the offensive side of the ball [at halftime]. We just talked about a couple different ways to start the attack.”

The Aggies came out of the break hot, building up a 16-point lead with only 12 minutes remaining. But CSU Northridge, who came into the game with a 3-0 conference record, came roaring back with a 14-0 run over the next seven minutes. With just a minute and a half remaining, the UC Davis lead had all but vanished, and the Aggies were on top by the slimmest of margins at 54-53.

Yet, the UC Davis defense once again returned to form and the Aggies held on for a 55-53 nail-biting victory.

Junior Blair Shinoda led the Aggies with 10 points.

Saturday — UC Davis 78, Long Beach State 62

“It’s all about the win. It’s about the whole team and everyone else that leads to the win.”

These are the words senior Kasey Riecks had to say in regards to being only the 15th women’s basketball player in UC Davis history to score over 1,000 career points.

“It’s also something that shows the kind of person and player she is,” Gross said. “Scoring 1,000 points is no small feat; it shows her consistency from year to year, and how much time she’s put into her game and into improving.”

Riecks needed just nine points this game to reach 1,000, but when she drained a three with 7:49 remaining in the first half, it became a matter of when rather than if.

Yet, it wasn’t until one and a half minutes into the second half when Riecks would score again, knocking down another three-pointer to propel her over the 1,000-point mark. At this point, UC Davis stood at 43-35 and Riecks had 10 points on the game.

Riecks finished with a team-high 15 points, to bring her career points total to 1,006. The rest of the UC Davis roster also shot better than it has this season, shooting almost 50 percent in the game.

Junior Hannah Stephens and senior Samantha Meggison followed Riecks with 10 points apiece.

The Aggies held the lead the entire match, but in no way was the game a walkover. The 49ers kept the score to 36-32 in favor of the Aggies at halftime.

Yet, UC Davis came back and outscored Long Beach State 42-30 in the second half and pulled away with an encouraging 78-62 victory.

“We have a team of great shooters … this is one of the best shooting teams we’ve had at Davis,” Gross said. “They’re putting in tons of extra reps right now and I’m hoping that this will be a jumping-off point for us and we’ll continue to shoot the ball well for the rest of the year.”

MATTHEW YUEN can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.


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