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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Evanne Turner’s 26 points fuel UC Davis victory

UC Davis beats Boise State, rolls to 2-1 on the season after Turner’s career night

 

By MARLON ROLON — sports@theaggie.org

 

The Aggies beat Boise State 69-62 at the University Credit Union Center last Thursday night. With the win, UC Davis Women’s Basketball improved their record to 2-1 in the early portion of the season.  UC Davis Head Coach Jennifer Gross said that third-year guard Evanne Turner’s offensive performance was integral to the win.

“She’s [Turner] just been unbelievable; she’s really expanded her game,” Gross said. “She’s obviously a tremendous shooter, but she’s doing a really nice job of attacking the basket as well and becoming a multidimensional player.”

Gross’ high praise of Turner comes after a 26-point performance, including five three-pointers, as well as six rebounds and two steals in 39 minutes of play. Turner has taken a big step this year in taking over the leadership role that was left vacant by Cierra Hall — arguably one of the best players to ever don the UC Davis jersey. In just three games, Turner is averaging 21 points per game and shooting 44.1% from the three-point line. 

“I’m really proud of [Turner] and the work she’s put in the offseason, and it’s really showing up,” Gross said. 

UC Davis came into tonight’s contest with a 1-1 record for the season thus far. Their lone loss was to the University of Washington, which is a Pac-12 team. With new faces on the team, UC Davis was predicted to finish sixth in the Big West this season, but in two of the three games played so far, the team’s offense looked extremely strong. 

In the first quarter, Turner scored an impressive 16 points, going 4 for 4 from the three-point line. 

“The first quarter, I was just super locked in,” Turner said. “I told one of my teammates, Lena Svanholm, ‘I’m going to go in there and get things done and be locked in from step one.’” 

Even though Boise State couldn’t contain Turner, they kept the game close, as both teams traded baskets inside the paint. Boise State’s third-year forward Elodie Lalotte gave the Aggies trouble with her length inside the paint, scoring eight points in the quarter alone. By the end of the first quarter, UC Davis held a three-point lead, 25-22. 

In the second quarter, the Broncos’ game plan was to contain Turner, which they did by not allowing her to score any points. Turner went 0-2 from the field and 0-1 from beyond the arc. However, second-year guard Sydney Burns took over the scoring duties for the Aggies, with six points, going 2-2 from the field and converting two free-throw attempts. The Aggies still had trouble containing Lalotte inside the paint, and she scored another six points in the quarter. 

Going into halftime, the Aggies led 37-32. Their lead was due to better stats on the three-point and free-throw lines. UC Davis shot 5-10 from the three (50%), compared to Boise State’s 2-7 (29%). The Aggies were perfect from the free-throw line going 6-6 (100%), while the Broncos went 6-7 (86%). 

UC Davis’ redshirt first-year center Megan Norris opened the third quarter with a layup. The Broncos answered back quickly with a jumper from Lalotte inside the paint.

The game turned into a defensive battle, with both teams blocking shots and causing turnovers. The next points would come almost two minutes later when third-year guard Tova Sabel hit a much-needed three-pointer that gave UC Davis the momentum and increased the Aggies’ lead to 10 points.

Boise State couldn’t get much offense going, scoring 10 of their 14 points in the third quarter from the free-throw line. 

Turner came back strong in the third quarter, putting up seven points and playing strong defense. UC Davis spread the ball around on offense, allowing Norris, who is averaging 9.3 points per game along with 5.3 rebounds per contest, to have a productive quarter. She managed to score five points and an important three-pointer in the closing seconds of the third quarter, which gave the Aggies an eight-point lead heading into the final quarter. 

“The game plan is to go to the hot hand and to keep moving the ball,” Turner said.

“We’re a team that likes to hit people that are hot, so I was hot the first quarter; the second [quarter] and the third [quarter] was time to start looking for other people that are hitting threes and getting to the rim,” Turner said. 

UC Davis opened the fourth quarter very similar to the third quarter with a layup — this time from Sabel, who is one of the Aggies’ new recruits. 

Sussman forced Boise State to turn the ball over and scored the easy two points off of a fastbreak steal to put the Aggies up by 10, 58-48. In the following play, UC Davis played outstanding defense, and on the turnover, Sussman once again scored off of the fastbreak. By this point, the Aggies were rolling. 

The University Credit Union Center was buzzing, and Boise State could not score a bucket. Redshirt third-year guard Campbell Gray buried a three-pointer and gave UC Davis the largest lead of the night so far, 15 points, to make the score 63-48. 

Just when it seemed that the game was over, UC Davis got into foul trouble late in the quarter, and Boise State managed to chip the deficit to six points, bringing the score to 66-60. The 10-0 run by the Broncos included six points from the free-throw line. However, all hope was diminished when a pair of free throws were awarded to the Aggies that put away the Broncos — the Aggies held on to the win 69-62.

“It was a good win; Boise State is a really good team. I thought we had some really good stretches where we were able to string together some stops and some scores,” Gross said postgame. “In games like these, it’s about momentum, and we were able to get the momentum on our side for enough stretches to win the game.”

Not only is UC Davis off to a good start for the season, but their new players are thriving under Gross’s leadership. Newcomers Sussman, Sabel and redshirt first-year guard Victoria Baker had a combined 24 points in the game, with Sussman and Sabel having 10 points apiece.

“[Sussman] is a good passer; she’s a good defender, so she’s plugged in a lot of gaps for us, and Tova [Sabel] is a really nice scorer —  she’s a match-up problem because she can score inside and out,” Gross said. “I think they’re both still getting comfortable, which is exciting because I still think there is a tremendous amount of room for growth, but we’re building chemistry with new players and older players, and we’re kind of figuring out as we go, but I like our improvement so far.”

Many thought the new-look Aggies would struggle in the early portion of the season, but it’s been quite the opposite. They look like a team that has been playing together for years. With Turner running the offense and getting everyone involved, this UC Davis team looks ready to make a run for the Big West Championship. 

UC Davis looks to continue their upward trend against Sacramento State on Nov. 22 at the Golden 1 Center. 

 

Written by: Marlon Rolon — sports@theaggie.org