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Davis, California

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

The offensive powerhouse of women’s basketball face first loss of season


Previously undefeated Aggies break winning streak as Hofstra sneaks by with a win

Amidst an afternoon of impressive achievements, including sophomore forward Morgan Bertsch’s first double-double of the season and junior guard Dani Nafekh’s fifth double-digit scoring stint, the previously unscathed Aggies tallied a tough 64-60 loss against the visiting Hofstra Pride during their Nov. 27 matinee.

The game was compelling right from the tip-off when the two opposing styles of gameplay riled up the crowd who watched Aggies sink shot after shot. The first quarter set the stage for an early lead for the home team, and continued energetic play at the post gave the Aggies layups and short jumpers to help them maintain a confident offensive attitude that lofted them to a 20-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

The energy from the early command of the game carried over when Bertsch put up a quick layup in the first minute of the second period to bolster the Aggies to a 22-11 lead. After a few point exchanges, a smooth jump shot by junior Marly Anderson added on to the comfortable margin at 28-19. In spite of the Aggies’ apparent offensive control of the game, the opposing Pride managed to make gains of their own as a late five point streak tied them up at 30-30. Junior guard Rachel Nagel returned the favor with an effortless three pointer that secured the lead for UC Davis at the end of the first half.

The start of the second half lent a bit of tension to the Pavilion atmosphere as the Aggies’ slim advantage slipped away after a pair of drained free throws gave Hofstra its first lead of the game at 34-33. Although the home team battled to maintain an offensively aggressive status on the court with successful drives to the basket, UC Davis’ lack of defensive effort offered wide open shots for Hofstra which, with newfound momentum, kept the lead at the end of the quarter at 47-49.

“I think our defensive rebounding, our physicality and aggressiveness needs to amp up,” Nagel said.

Hofstra’s 47 rebounds directly impacted the trajectory of the game, while the Aggies came up short, marking a mere 32 rebounds. The Aggies returned for the final quarter with a resolve to utilize their strengths and turn up the offensive heat. An early three by junior forward Pele Gianotti tied up the game and set the trend for an additional pair of three pointers by Nafekh which put the team at 58-54 midway through the quarter. As the clock wound down, UC Davis’ efforts proved futile as Hofstra’s boards and continued tenacity inched the Pride forward to a 64-60 victory.


“Obviously we are a really good offensive team, […] and we can really improve our defense at times,” said Bertsch, who was 8-17 for the game. “But I think that is something we are really good at this year, we are all looking to put each other in the right spots [offensively].”

The Aggies shot 42 percent from the floor, which further proved a necessity for a dynamic defensive presence and the use of rebounds as a means to capture close games.

“I think that’s the lesson we have to take from this,” said head coach Jennifer Gross. “We have to do a better job of helping each other to win and finding a way to come out on top. When you lose a game you just want to get back out there as quickly as possible. We’re just looking forward to putting in some work.”

The UC Davis women’s basketball team returns to the Pavilion on Friday, Dec. 2 to host a match against San Diego State.

Written by: Alex Arechiga — sports@theaggie.org


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