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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Women’s basketball now 3-0 in Big West Conference

BRIAN LANDRY / AGGIE
BRIAN LANDRY / AGGIE

UC Davis pieces together solid 74-61 victory against UC Irvine.

The Aggies’ claimed their fourth straight win and their first ever 3-0 start to Big West Conference play, defeating the UC Irvine Anteaters comfortably on Thursday evening in a 74-61 wire-to-wire win. The UC Davis women’s basketball team displayed its depth of offensive versatility with four double digit scorers. In total, eight different Ags put points on the board.

After being shut out behind the three point line during the first half of the Jan. 9 matchup against Hawai’i, UC Davis came out firing from deep against UC Irvine, claiming their first 15 points from beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Pele Gianotti led the charge, sinking three first quarter treys and pulling down three rebounds. The Ags went on a 16-0 run, their second largest of the season, finishing the quarter with a commanding 23-6 lead.

The Anteaters seemed to be overmatched after falling behind by 17 points after the first quarter but flipped the script in the second quarter, outscoring UC Davis 24-9.

BRIAN LANDRY / AGGIE
BRIAN LANDRY / AGGIE

After capitalizing on the UC Irvine zone defense in the first half with an aerial attack of three pointers, UC Davis returned to its traditional

strategy of pounding the ball inside to its season scoring leaders, senior forward Alyson Doherty and redshirt freshman forward Morgan Bertsch.

With their narrowest lead of the game at 32-30, Doherty took over in the third quarter. She scored seven of the Ags’ first nine points in the quarter and nine of the first 13 to re-establish the lead at 45-37. Bertsch made sure the Ags never looked back from there, scoring 10 points in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to finish the day with her fifth career 20 point game, in addition to seven rebounds.

“To come out in the third quarter with the resolve that we did, I was really proud of the way that we played,” said Head Coach Jennifer Gross. “We strung together some stops, turned them into points and gave ourselves a little bit of breathing room”.

The win came at the hands of nearly every Aggie on the court. Senior forward Celia Marfone followed her strong performance against Hawai’i with a near double double, scoring 11 points and collecting eight rebounds. Gianotti did one better, barely missing out on a double double of her own with 14 total points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Dani Nafekh also claimed eight points and contributed seven assists.

“Our focus coming into the season was to make sure [we play] every game like it’s the championship,” Bertsch said.  “And every game so far we’ve come out with that kind of energy and I think we just need to keep that rolling [as we] move forward.”

The Ags don’t return to action until Jan. 21, where they will travel to Santa Barbara. In the meantime, the frontrunners of the Big West have a lot to be excited about.

Written by George McConnell – sports@theaggie.org

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