There’s a first time for everything, and unfortunately for the UC Davis women’s basketball program, this weekend was the first time this season it lost both games on its road trip.
UC Davis had beaten both Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge at home earlier this season, but traveling to its opponents’ home courts brought different results.
“It’s different when you go on the road,” Head Coach Jennifer Gross said. “Teams bring a different energy and they’re a lot tougher when they’re on their home court.”
The Aggies fell to 15-10 overall and 7-6 in the Big West Conference, with three games remaining in regular season play.
Thursday — Long Beach State 67, UC Davis 55
In a game that was very uncharacteristic of the Aggies, Long Beach State capitalized on the struggling UC Davis offense to avenge the match-up earlier this season.
It was easily one of the worse shooting games of the season for UC Davis, as it shot 24 percent from the field — 28 and 20.7 percent in the first and second halves, respectively.
“I wasn’t too concerned; we were rebounding okay and we relied on our defense,” Gross said. “Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get the ball to drop for us — we dug a hole that was a little too big.”
The Aggies held just one lead in the game when junior Hannah Stephens hit a three 20 seconds into the game to make the score 3-2.
UC Davis found itself down 37-26 at halftime, but clawed back into the game with 10 minutes remaining, bringing the score to 46-43. But that was the closest they got, as the 49ers would only build on their lead.
Yet, the game had its bright spots for the Aggies, as they kept themselves in the game with some disciplined free-throw shooting, getting 23 points from the charity stripe.
Another redeeming quality of the game was UC Davis’s rebounding, as it grabbed 41 boards. These included 18 offensive rebounds, both close to their season-high performances.
“We played well enough defense but couldn’t get the ball to drop,” Gross said. “To [the 49er’s] credit, they came out and made some big shots.”
Senior Samantha Meggison had a career-high 20 points and was one of only three players to have more than one basket from the floor.
Saturday — Cal State Northridge 63, UC Davis 60
The Aggies found themselves pitted against the first-place team in the Big West, but were not intimidated in the least.
“We’re confident against any team, but it just comes down to the ability to play consistently all 40 minutes of the game,” Gross said.
UC Davis built a 29-23 lead at halftime, but when the Matadors caught fire with about 10 minutes left in the game, the Aggies couldn’t hold on.
They relinquished the lead that had become 15 points midway through the second half, and when CSU Northridge gained a 55-53 advantage with 1:42 remaining in the game, UC Davis couldn’t muster any solutions to stop the bleeding.
“We put ourselves in a good position to win and we were playing some of the best basketball of the season,” Gross said. “Our pressure and intensity on defense dropped a little in the last eight minutes and they [CSU Northridge] took advantage of that.”
Senior Lauren Juric, who had sat out the last couple games due to an ankle sprain, came back and contributed 11 points and two blocks, while Meggison continued to perform well adding 19 points, going 11-12 from the free-throw line.
The two losses drops UC Davis down to fifth in the conference with three games remaining.
MATTHEW YUEN can be reached at email@example.com.