Fans were certainly kept on the edge of their seats watching UC Davis play Saint Mary’s on Saturday in The Pavilion. The two teams exchanged the lead 17 times throughout the game and had 10 ties, the last of which was broken in the final 28 seconds.
Senior guard Kelsey Harris started the Aggies off strong, scoring a three-pointer early contributing to the Aggies’ initial 8-point lead. Of UC Davis’ first 5 makes, 4 were three-pointers, showing the team’s strength on long range shots.
Harris scored a season high of 15 points on five three-pointers, while junior forward Alyson Doherty also reached double digits, adding 14 points, three rebounds, and three blocks in 27 minutes. After the game, Harris noted that having Doherty, who was previously laid-up from an injury, back on the court has been very helpful, especially since Doherty has “really improved on her passing and she can still score”.
Consecutive baskets between Doherty and Harris put the Aggies ahead slightly, 27-26, going into half-time. As the second half kicked-off, the nail-biting performance continued as the team’s exchanged the lead six times in just eight minutes. Junior forward Lauren Beyer’s three-pointer brought the Aggies their largest lead for the second half.
In the words of head coach Jennifer Gross, Beyer’s overall performance, in which she finished with 9 points on 4-of-6 from the floor in 11 minutes, made her “a huge spark off the bench for [the Aggies] today.”
Gross also noted that playing Beyer and Doherty together could be highly beneficial to the team.
“They are both very, very productive…they give us more size inside, they give us two people that can shoot more in the paint.” said Gross.
With just 7:23 left in the game, senior forward Sydney Fipps made a three-pointer, regaining the lead for the Aggies. Two ties and three lead changes over the next five minutes led to a heated finish in which a Saint Mary’s guard scored a two-pointer from just outside the key in the final moments. This 57-55 victory for Saint Mary’s improved their season record to 1-1, while UC Davis’ record dropped to 1-2 overall for the season.
Looking forward, both Gross and Harris acknowledged that the team’s weakness came from their defensive rebounding. Gross stated that her goal for the team is “to be rebounding at a 70 percent clip defensively,” a goal which will take more practice and prioritizing from the players in order to reach.
With their next game coming up on Nov. 26 against Utah Valley, Harris commented that the team will need to “have a short term memory and realize the stuff [they] can take from this game,” not allowing this tough loss to impact their performance this week. The Aggies also play former conference rival University of Pacific, Nov. 29.