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Davis, California

Friday, March 1, 2024

Aggies continue strong play in the Big West

By winning two road contests, the UC Davis women’s basketball team has improved its record to 8-9 overall and 3-1 in Big West Conference play.

UC Davis started its first road trip of the season in Southern California, and its first matchup was against the UC Riverside Highlanders on Jan. 16. Shooting 50 percent from the field for the game, the Aggies defeated the Highlanders, 77-67.

Led by the play of two sophomore forwards, Celia Marfone and Alyson Doherty, the Aggies shot 65 percent from the field in the first half, including four of eight from the arc. Marfone and Doherty combined for 21 of the Aggies’ 42 first-half points. Both of them shot 3 for 3 from the field, and were aggressive getting to the free-throw line nine times.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders shot 48.1 percent from the field and three of their players scored double figure in the first half.

An 8-0 run gave UC Davis its first lead of the game, and nine straight points by Marfone helped the Aggies to their largest lead of the night, 26-15, with 11:39 to play in the first half.

However, the Aggies did not keep this advantage to end the first half. A 9-3 run with under two minutes left in the half, including a near half-court buzzer beater by Simone DeCoud, allowed the Highlanders to tie the Aggies at 42.

Both teams struggled from the field to start the second half, but the Highlanders made back-to-back baskets that helped them take their first lead of the game, 46-42. However, UC Riverside could not pull away further due to the Aggies’ consistent shooting, including an explosive 13-0 run midway through the second half to take back the lead.

The fouls and turnovers by the Highlanders cost them the game as UC Davis finally prevailed, 77-67.

Four Aggies scored double figures in this game. Sophomore forward Sydnee Fipps scored 15 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to lead the team to the victory. Marfone collected a career-high 19 points to go with three rebounds and three assists. Doherty and junior Kelsey Harris also finished in double figures.

The Aggies continued their road trip as they visited the Titan Gym to face a strong opponent, the Cal State Fullerton Titans, who had a 5-9 overall record as well as being one of the two unbeaten teams in Big West play before their matchup against the Aggies.

In the first half, the Titans scored the first five points of the contest in two minutes. But soon, UC Davis answered back with an 8-0 run to take a 12-9 lead with 10:53 to play in the half.

The Aggies and the Titans traded buckets for the remainder of the first half, and the teams ended the half tied at 24. Harris led the Aggies with seven points on three of four shooting from the field. Both teams were evenly matched in the first half as the Aggies shot 37 percent from the field while the Titans shot 36 percent.

UC Davis came out strong in the second half on a 6-0 run, putting the Aggies up 30-24. UC Davis held Cal State Fullerton to an almost seven-minute-long scoring drought. However, three back-to-back three-pointers by Alex Thomas and Samantha Logan gave the Titans their lead back, 33-32, with under 12 minutes to play.

Two minutes later, the Aggies answered with a 12-4 burst, with eight points from Doherty, to regain the lead, 44-37. But the Titans continued to make shots, and with 3:23 remaining the game was tied at 50.

Following two free throws by Fipps, UC Davis led by three. But Thomas took off on a 7-0 run by herself, shooting a jumper, draining a three-pointer and sinking a pair of free throws, after UC Davis was called for a foul with 0.5 left on the clock, for a 59-57 lead.

The Aggies had the ball out of bounds with a possibility of the last shot, when sophomore Molly Greubel stepped in front of Natalie Williams and drew a foul. Sending Greubel to the free-throw line where she sank both sent the teams to overtime.

In overtime, UC Davis built a five-point lead with 1:32 to play in the extra period, but Fullerton rallied back. With a pair of free throws and a three-pointer, the Titans tied the game once again at 67-67 with 1:15 to go.

The Aggies got the ball to Fipps, who scored 13 points up to that point, and she nailed a go-ahead basket with 25 seconds to play in the contest. Cal State Fullerton’s Thomas had a shot that was off the mark and Greubel rebounded the miss as time expired to beat the Titans, 69-67.

“You always hear about these amazing endings to basketball games and we always tell our teams to just keep fighting, keep clawing, find a way to win, and this was a perfect example,” said head coach Jennifer Gross.

Fipps finished with 15 points and reached double figures in points for the ninth consecutive game. Greubel collected eight points, six rebounds and four assists with a team-high 41 minutes. Doherty scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half, while both Harris and Marfone also finished in double figures.

The Aggies are traveling to Honolulu, Hawaii and facing the Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine on Thursday, Jan. 23, marking the end of their first road trip of the season.


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