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Friday, April 19, 2024

UC Davis dominates CSU Bakersfield in third straight win

The Aggies sweep the season series 2-0 against the Roadrunners

 

By MARLON ROLON — sports@theaggie.org

 

The UC Davis women’s basketball team is starting to gel together at the midpoint mark of the season, winning three straight Big West Conference games. On Thursday night at the University Union Credit Center, the Aggies cruised past CSU Bakersfield 79-57. 

“We’ve had our ups and downs for sure,” said UC Davis Head Coach Jennifer Gross. “With so many new players, it’s really taking time to gain chemistry. The only way you can get it is by playing together and we just needed more time, and we are starting to see the chemistry take hold.”

Redshirt first-year guard Victoria Baker was a standout in the game, with 16 points off the bench in just 15 minutes of action. Another notable player was redshirt first-year Megan Norris, who has reached double figures in three straight games. She scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds.

Her efficiency inside the paint and her gritty defense in the post have been turning heads in the crowd recently. Gross praised Norris postgame. 

“I think she is really starting to gain confidence,” Gross said. “She’s getting comfortable playing with her teammates. The number one thing she’s doing when she’s getting the ball is she’s just being patient.”

The Aggies opened the first quarter with five straight three-pointers, jumping out to a 15-5 lead over the Roadrunners early on. Forward Tess Sussman had a hot hand, draining three of those five three-pointers; she had nine points in eight minutes in the opening quarter. 

“To see [Sussman] come out and hit shots right from the start was great,” Gross said. “She had a really, really solid day today.”

The Aggies ended the quarter with a three-pointer from second-year guard Sydney Burns, which put them up 20-7. Five Aggie players scored in the first quarter, and UC Davis had control of the game from start to finish. 

“We have a ton of threats from this team, inside and out,” Norris said. “So it really opens it up for anyone to get the shot up. We have a ton of good three-point shooters.” 

UC Davis continued to dominate offensively in the second quarter, with two threes from the second unit, including two 30-foot shots from first-year guard Nya Epps and redshirt fourth-year guard Makaila Sanders. Gross utilized the rotational players throughout the entire quarter, allowing Baker to shine with seven points.

Within the first two quarters of play, the UC Davis bench scored 27 points compared to Bakersfield’s 17. The Aggies shot eight for 20 from the three-point line. 

“Everybody contributed; the majority of our points in the first half were from our bench,” Gross said. “To have different people being able to come in and step in and take some of the scoring load is really nice. A lot of different people stepped up today.”

Although the home team scored 43 points in the first half, the leading scorer in the Big West, third-year guard Evanne Turner, was scoreless. However, Turner opened the third quarter with a layup to mark her first bucket on the score sheet. 

A few plays later, Norris went on a scoring spree, scoring six straight points, that put the Aggies up by 27. With three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Turner hit her first three-pointer of the night. The Aggies were rolling with a score of 61-36. 

In the fourth quarter, Gross gave the second unit valuable minutes and let most of her starters rest. With such a large lead, there was no need to risk injuries. The Aggies relaxed in the final quarter, only scoring 11 points, but they were significantly ahead on the scoreboard, winning by 22 points, 79-57.

“When we step on the floor every day and we believe in our team and believe in ourselves, we give ourselves a great chance to win,” Gross said of her team’s performance. 

UC Davis made 13 out of 30 three-pointers along and 14 out of 15 from the free-throw line. The bench scored 45 points and the offense dished out 18 assists. 

Two days later, on Saturday, Jan. 28, The Aggies’ three-game win streak was snapped by Long Beach State, 66-45 at the University Credit Union Center. Turner scored 20 points and made a team-high of six three-pointers, but no other Aggie player reached double figures. 

UC Davis (9-11 overall, 5-5 in conference play) will travel to the University of Hawai’i on Feb. 2 to take on the Rainbow Wāhine (8-11 overall, 6-4 in conference play).  

 

Written by: Marlon Rolon — sports@theaggie.org