DAVIS, Calif. -- Sophomore Morgan Bertsch scored 17 of her game-high 24 points in the first half and the UC Davis defense clamped down, holding visiting Hawai'i to just 29 percent from the field en route to a, 70-55, Big West Conference victory on Saturday afternoon at The Pavilion.
In a rematch of last year's Big West Tournament championship game, the Aggies improved to 11-4 overall and remained perfect at 2-0 in league play. Junior Rachel Nagel added 14 points on 6-of-8 from the field to help her team win their sixth in seven tries on their home floor. The 70 points were the most for UC Davis against the Rainbow Wahine since the Aggies scored 73 in a 21-point win back on Nov. 17, 2007, after being held to 60 points or fewer in each of the last eight meetings between the two programs.
Led by 13 points from Sarah Toeaina, Hawai'i fell to 4-10 overall and 0-2 in conference play, limited to under 30 percent from the field in three of the game's four quarters.
Bertsch finished 9-of-15 from the floor and 6-of-8 from the line to collect her 23rd consecutive double-digit scoring performance and her fifth 20-point game of the season. She also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and knocked down her team-high 29th block of the year, moving her into sole possession of ninth on the school's all-time list in that category.
A slow start had the home team trailing by five points in the early going, but UC Davis found its stride, finishing the first quarter on a 9-0 run over the final two-plus minutes, using a three-pointer by Kourtney Eaton and a pair of free throws from Bertsch to tie the game, and taking the lead for good on a Nagel jumper in transition with a minute to go in the period.
The run continued into the second quarter, as the Aggies scored 13 of 14 during that stretch before a three-pointer by Olivia Crawford -- who finished with 11 points and a trio of three's -- ended the burst. Hawai'i clawed back to within five, but UC Davis was able to keep the opposition at arm's length, getting baskets from Bertsch, Nina Bessolo, and Marly Anderson, to build its largest lead of the game at 31-20 with 3:08 to play.
The Rainbow Wahine remained pesky, scoring seven straight to bring it back to within single digits, but a pair of free throws by Pele Gianotti and a buzzer-beating turn-around jumper from Bertsch at the right block gave the Aggies an eight-point cushion at the break.
Both teams traded baskets to start the third, and Hawai'i brought the deficit back to within single digits on a jumper by Crawford with 6:51 to play, but a 9-0 run over five minutes midway through the quarter pushed the Aggies' lead out to 18 points and they never looked back. UC Davis led by as many as 19 points in the opening moments of the fourth period and cruised from there.
Paced by Bertsch's eight and six more from Nafekh, the Aggies out-rebounded the Rainbow Wahine, 43-40, with six players finishing with at least four rebounds. UC Davis outscored the visitors in the paint, 34-16, and turned 15 Hawai'i turnovers into 19 points for the good.
The Aggies stay home for their next two, hosting Long Beach State on Thursday (Jan. 12) at 7 p.m., in a match-up of the top two teams in the coaches preseason Big West poll. The 49ers received five first-place votes and 73 points overall to stand 12 points ahead of second-place UC Davis.
UC DAVIS 70, HAWAI'I 55
HAWAI'I (4-10, 0-2 BWC)
Toeaina, Sarah 3-13 7-10 13; Crawford, Olivia 4-10 0-0 11; Salanoa, Leah 3-9 1-1 9; Tago, Julissa 2-5 2-2 7; Salanoa, Lahni 3-5 0-0 6; Woodfolk, Makenna 2-4 2-2 6; Harris, Briana 1-12 0-0 2; Donohue, Taylor 0-1 1-2 1; Koloi,Keleah-Aiko 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-61 13-17 55.
UC DAVIS (11-4, 2-0 BWC)
Bertsch, Morgan 9-15 6-8 24; Nagel, Rachel 6-8 2-4 15; Anderson, Marly 4-9 1-2 9; Eaton, Kourtney 2-6 2-2 7; Gianotti, Pele 2-5 2-2 6; Nafekh, Dani 2-80-0 5; Bessolo, Nina 1-6 0-1 2; Beyer, Lauren 1-1 0-0 2; Song, Sophia 0-1 0-0 0; Eaton, Karley 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 27-61 13-19 70.
Hawaii........................ 11 18 10 16 - 55
UC Davis...................... 15 22 18 15 - 70
3-point goals--Hawaii 6-18 (Crawford, Olivia 3-7; Salanoa, Leah 2-6; Tago, Julissa 1-3; Harris, Briana 0-1; Toeaina, Sarah 0-1), UC Davis 3-16 (Nagel, Rachel 1-1; Nafekh, Dani 1-5; Eaton, Kourtney 1-4; Bessolo, Nina 0-2; Eaton, Karley 0-2; Gianotti, Pele 0-2). Fouled out--Hawaii-Woodfolk, Makenna, UC Davis-Anderson, Marly. Rebounds--Hawaii 40 (Toeaina, Sarah 7; Koloi, Keleah-Aiko 7), UC Davis 43 (Bertsch, Morgan 8). Assists--Hawaii 8 (Crawford, Olivia 3), UC Davis 16 (Eaton, Kourtney 4; Nafekh, Dani 4). Total fouls--Hawaii 21, UC Davis 20. Technical fouls--Hawaii-None, UC Davis-None.