Aggie basketball enters conference with a bang

NICHOLAS CHAN / AGGIE FILE (left), DIANA LI / AGGIE FILE (right)

UC Davis men’s (10-5) and women’s (12-3) basketball teams begin season strong in Big West Conference play

It has been a strong start to the season for both the UC Davis men’s and women’s basketball teams, continuing to improve and flourish due to the hardworking coaching staffs and players on the court.

The men’s basketball team is performing well out of the gate this season, currently holding a 10-5 overall record and a 1-0 conference record after defeating UC Irvine at the Pavillion on Jan. 4 for its first game of Big West Conference play. Currently, the men’s team holds a 16-game winning streak at home, five of those home wins coming from its current 2017-18 season.

However, before the season even began, there was one player in particular on most people’s radar: senior forward Chima Moneke. Collegeinsider.com added Moneke to its Lou Henson preseason watch list, the second Aggie ever to earn this recognition. Moneke has not disappointed the Aggies this season, earning his league-high nine double-doubles on the year. He has also been named the Big West Player of the Week for the weeks of Nov. 20 and Dec. 4, 2017, while also being named the Lou Henson Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 4.

The UC Davis men’s team defeated the Washington State University Cougars on Dec. 2, the first time in 12 years that the Aggies have defeated a Pac-12 team. During this season, the team posted a program-high RPI by the NCAA when ranked number 20 on Dec. 3. The Rating Percentage Index is used to rank teams based on their wins, losses and strength of schedule. Currently, the Aggies are ranked 63 in RPI rankings. Also announced for the week of Dec. 5, the Aggies earned their way to be the 25th-ranked team in the nation by College Insider on its Mid-Major Top 25 Poll.

It is no secret that the men’s basketball team is here to compete this season and will continue to look to improve and capture another Big West Championship. The Aggies continue their conference play tonight at 7 p.m., as they play an away game against UC Riverside. The game can be viewed on ESPN 3 live.

The UC Davis men’s team isn’t the only Aggie basketball team that has shown up to compete this season, as the UC Davis women’s basketball team came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, winning its first 10 games of the 2017-18 season, the second season in a row the team has had a 10-game winning streak. This was the best start to the season that the Aggies have had since moving to Division I. They currently hold an overall record of 12-3 and a conference record of 2-0 after defeating UC Irvine away and Hawai’i at home on Jan. 4 and Jan. 6, respectively.

As far as impressive player performances for the women’s team this season, senior forward Pele Gianotti was the first Aggie this season to record a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds on Nov. 20 against Pacific University. Junior forward Morgan Bertsch and senior guard Rachel Nagel earned Big West Conference Player of the Week honors for the weeks of Nov. 13 and Nov. 27, respectively, due to their outstanding performances on the season. This was Bertsch’s second career Player of the Week honors and Nagel’s first. Bertsch currently has nine different games this season where she has scored at least 20 points.

On Nov. 10, the women’s team played Washington State and sunk 17 three-pointers, tying the school record in a single season game. They are currently ranked as the number 12 women’s team in the nation on the College Insider Women’s Mid-Major 25 Poll and ranked number 51 on the NCAA RPI women’s rankings, earning a ranking as high as number five on the week of Dec. 12.

The UC Davis women’s team continues its Big West Conference play tonight as well at home in the Pavillion against UC Riverside at 7 p.m. The Aggies will surely look to continue to dominate the season and earn a Big West Conference Championship.

 

Written by: Ryan Bugsch — sports@theaggie.org