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Davis, California

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

UC Davis women’s basketball team cruises past CSU Northridge for second straight conference win

The Aggies’ three-point shooting and bench were integral to the team’s success

 

By MARLON ROLON — sports@theaggie.org

 

The Aggies continue winning streak

Graduate student forward Tess Sussman and third-year guard Evanne Turner proved to be too much for Northridge to handle on Wednesday night, as the duo combined for 28 points en route to an 83-73 victory at the University Credit Union Center. 

The Aggies, who have now won two straight conference games, started the season 0-2 in conference play, losing to the top two ranked teams in the Big West — Hawaii and UC Irvine. With the win against the Matadors, UC Davis moves into sixth place in the conference. 

“We’re just trying to focus on getting back to the things that we can control, which is the effort and the mindset of having fun and staying confident,” UC Davis Head Coach Jennifer Gross said. “That’s how we want to be all the time and it’s not always gonna go our way — we know that — but if we can stay together, stay bought into our improvement and keep having fun we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”

Sussman was on fire, with a career high of 19 points along with 10 rebounds — her second ‘double-double’ of the season. Sussman was also nearly perfect from the three-point line, going 4-for-4, until late in the third quarter, and finishing the game 5-for-7 from beyond the arc. 

“Her leadership has been so consistent,” Gross said of Sussman. “It’s been great the last two games just to see her having fun and taking the pressure off. We have a team where everybody believes in each other.’”

Turner matched Sussman’s scoring total, tagging 19 points along with five three-pointers. The Aggies made a season-high 14 of 26 three-pointers in the game, which proved to be one of the contributing factors to the win.

“We’re really a pretty good three-point shooting team,” Gross said. “It’s been really frustrating that we haven’t seen the ball go into the basket. We’ve been talking about this last week, about playing a little bit more freely, having fun and being confident. I was really happy to see our team step up and be ready to shoot the open shots. It was nice to see them go down.”

Another contributing factor was strong offensive performance from the bench. The team’s second unit scored 42 points, including 11 points with five assists from redshirt first-year center Megan Norris, who had 19 minutes of play. 

 

How it happened

CSU Northridge opened the game with a five-point run, surprising the home team. That lead wouldn’t last though, as Turner scored five straight points to tie the contest. Sussman and second-year point guard Sydney Burns each added three-pointers to that run, giving UC Davis the lead. The home team outscored the Matadors 17-13 in the first quarter. 

The Aggies extended that lead in the second quarter with an offensive barrage. Sussman continued to make her presence known, knocking down a three-point shot that put UC Davis up by five points. A few plays later, first-year guard Nya Epps added another three-pointer  to put the Aggies up by eight. Epps made the most out of her minutes on the floor, scoring five points in six minutes in the quarter. The home team went into cruise control late in the second quarter, leading by 18 points at the end of the half.

The Aggies shot 8-for-13 from the three-point line, compared to the Matadors’ 1-for-8. Davis also out-rebounded the visitors 21-14, and the bench proved to be pivotal, scoring 20 points compared to Northridge’s four. The Aggies’ one downfall was that they were sloppy with the ball, leading to seven turnovers. 

Sussman opened the third quarter scoring from beyond the three-point line; however, Northridge got hot and traded baskets with the Aggies. By this point, Sussman had 14 points, but cooled off and didn’t score for the rest of the quarter. In some instances, the Matadors doubled-teamed Sussman, which left Turner open. This was costly for the visitors, as Turner buried two three-pointers. Northridge outscored the Aggies 21-20 in the third quarter, but the visitors still trailed by 17. 

In the fourth quarter, Northridge rallied back with a 27-point outburst, which cut the deficit to 10 points. But UC Davis kept their opponent at bay with Sussman, Turner and Norris leading the way. In the end, the home team’s offense proved to be too strong to defeat.

“Credit Evanne Turner, because every time they were about to cut [the lead] to single digits, she seemed to hit a big shot,” Gross said. “And we really needed that.” 

 Gross’s bench was also integral to the win at home, adding 22 points in the second half.

UC Davis lost to Cal State Fullerton on the road last Saturday (1/14) and lost to UC San Diego at home on Monday (1/16). The Aggies will then be back on the road to take on UC Irvine on Thursday (1/19) and Cal Poly on Saturday (1/21).

“Anytime you go on the road, you have to bring that chip-on-your-shoulder mentality,” Gross said of the upcoming away games. 

 

Written by: Marlon Rolon — sports@theaggie.org