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Friday, September 17, 2021

Aggies split tough series away from home

The UC Davis women’s basketball team has had up-and-down results on the road this season, and in the final road series of the year, the Aggies once again came home with one win and one loss.

The Aggies fought valiantly throughout the road trip. However, cold second-half shooting prevented the Aggies from walking away with two wins. The Aggies end this road trip 12-16 overall, and 7-10 in conference play.

Thursday — UC Davis 47, UC Irvine 43

The Aggies left Irvine with a closely contested win. The victory was a result of efficient second-half scoring, consistent rebounding and stellar defense.

After shooting just 26.1 percent from the floor in the first half, the Aggies found their groove and shot 39.1 percent from the field in the second half. This included a blistering 7-14 from beyond the arc.

They were led by the duo of sophomore Sydnee Fipps and senior Cortney French, who had 19 and nine points, respectively. Fipps made a career high five three-pointers. French added three three-pointers, including one that gave the Aggies the lead with only 3:21 left in the game.

The Aggies have struggled this season rebounding the basketball, with opponents averaging 8.3 rebounds a game more than UC Davis. This was not the case on Thursday, as the Aggies made a conscious effort to attack the glass.

Fipps and French led the way with seven rebounds apiece, but this was a true team rebounding effort. Six of the nine Aggies who played on Thursday grabbed three rebounds or more.

Another key factor to the Aggies’ success was their defense. They held the Anteaters to 28.6 percent from the field in the game. Irvine could not get any rhythm in their offense, allowing the Aggies an opportunity for the comeback win.

“We met on Monday as a team, talked about the things we can improve this year and our defensive urgency was a real key for us,” said head coach Jennifer Gross.

This game was a shining example of the level of defensive intensity needed to win games.

Saturday — UC Davis 54, Long Beach State 66

The Aggies’ second-half shooting slump really hurt them against Long Beach State. The Aggies shot a respectable 39.3 percent from the field in the first half, including an impressive 44.4 percent from beyond the three-point line. This hot start allowed them to carry a 37-34 lead into halftime.

However, as the second half rolled around, the Aggies just could not buy a basket, shooting 19.2 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from beyond the arc. This tough shooting display allowed the 49ers to take the lead early in the second half.

From this point, the Aggies would not lead again. LBSU was solid down the stretch, hitting big shots and crucial free throws to slow down any attempt by UC Davis to create a comeback.

The 49ers had a very balanced attack with four players scoring 10 points or more. The Aggies were led by Sydnee Fipps who had 17 points, a product of shooting 5-12.

The Aggies’ final game of the regular season is against Pacific, this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at the Pavilion.

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

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