Players, coaches earn conference accolades
Ranking No. 1 in their respective brackets, the UC Davis women’s and men’s basketball teams are competing at the Big West Tournament in Anaheim this week. This is the first time that both the men’s and women’s regular season champions come from the same school since UC Santa Barbara dominated the Big West in 2008. The basketball season for both teams has been outstanding thus far, with record-breaking performances by multiple players.
On the men’s team, junior guard TJ Shorts II was named the Big West’s first-ever Newcomer and Player of the Year. He set a new Division I program record this season with over 59 steals and made game-winning shots at Long Beach State and UC Riverside. Scoring 21 points in Saturday’s double overtime victory over UC Irvine, Shorts was a key contributor to earning his team the Big West regular season title.
On the women’s side, junior forward Morgan Bertsch earned her second Big West Conference Player of the Week honor this season and was named to the All-Big West First Team for the second consecutive season. She’s had a flourishing basketball career so far, averaging 20 points per game this season alone, and has proven to be a strong leader and driving force behind the team’s success.
Still, behind every worthy player is a great coach. Known for his successful defensive strategy, Jim Les, the men’s basketball head coach, has won Coach of the Year for the second time in the last four seasons. In contrast, the offensive schemes employed by Jennifer Gross, the women’s basketball team head coach, have led to 216 victories and counting. Gross has coached 11 players to a total of 19 All-Big West honors and is the first head coach to win Coach of the Year two consecutive years since 2001.
Staggered by the impressive performances, the Editorial Board would like to congratulate both the players and the coaches on their hard work this season. The good publicity brought in by the teams’ statistics is undeniably important and a prime source of Aggie Pride for the school. It is not only a reflection of the strength of the athletics department and the sports teams, but also a reflection of all alumni who write “UC Davis” on their resumes. In short, when sports teams win, the whole school wins. We therefore encourage students to support all UC Davis sports and attend home games, which students are granted free access with student ID.
The Editorial Board wishes both teams luck as they head deeper into the Big West conference. Fingers crossed that UC Davis brings home two Big West Championships and advances to the NCAA tournament. Go Ags!
Written by: The Editorial Board