UC Davis finishes strong to stay unbeaten in the Big West

Jan. 11, 2018

Final Stats

DAVIS, Calif. -- UC Davis used a barrage of three-pointers to key an 11-0 third-quarter run to break open a two-point game, and the Aggies finished with four players in double figures, lifting them to their 13th consecutive Big West Conference victory, a 74-63 triumph over UC Riverside on Thursday night at The Pavilion.

Led by 18 points apiece from managerial economics major Dani Nafekh and psychology major Rachel Nagel, UC Davis improved to 13-3 overall and 3-0 in league play, shooting 60 percent from the floor in the decisive third period, including 7-for-9 from beyond the arc -- including five straight from four different players.

Michelle Curry finished with a game-high 25 points before fouling out late in the fourth to lead the Highlanders, who fell to 4-13 overall and 1-2 in conference.

Nafekh set a season-high with her scoring output, finishing 6-of-10 from the field and 4-of-6 from deep, while Nagel was 6-of-12 from the floor and also drained four three-pointers, adding four assists and four steals.

Senior political science major Pele Gianotti finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, pulling to within four points of 1,000 for her career, while junior biomedical engineering major Morgan Bertsch reached double figures for the 16th time this season, adding 10 points on 4-of-6 from the floor in the win.

Meanwhile, freshman cell biology major Cierra Hall grabbed a game- and career-high 12 rebounds -- the most by an Aggie player this season (senior design major Marly Anderson had 11 at Pacific on Nov. 20) and the most since Gianotti grabbed 12 against both San Francisco and Portland last season.

UC Davis trailed by as many as 10 points midway through the first quarter before closing the period with six of the final seven to cut the deficit to five. That sparked an overall run that grew to 20-8 in the second quarter that gave the Aggies their first lead of the game, 22-20, on a driving lay-up by Nafekh.

The latter part of that burst saw the Aggies score nine straight, and 13 of the next 15, to build their largest lead, 27-22, with 3:39 to play in the period, eventually leading by three, 29-26, at the break.

Riverside closed to within a point with the first basket of the third, and was within three points on a basket by Lauren Holt with 8:20 to play, before UC Davis ripped off 11 consecutive points -- including back-to-back three's by Nagel to cap the burst -- putting the Aggies ahead by 14 and they never looked back.

UC Davis held the Highlanders to without a field goal for more than four minutes, and led by as many as 17 points with 3:46 to play in the quarter.

UC Riverside did not go away quietly, clawing its way back to within five points on two occasions midway through the fourth, but another lengthy run -- this one an 11-3 spurt over a three minute span -- rebuilt the Aggie lead to 13 points and secured the victory.

After shooting just 17 percent in the opening quarter, UC Davis finished shooting 42 percent from the floor for the game and hit 41 percent from distance, logging double figures in three-pointers (11) for the first time since making 12 from beyond the arc in its win at Pacific.

Led by Hall's 12, the Aggies also out-rebounded the Highlanders, 35-33, and had 18 assists on 24 makes for the night, turning the ball over just 12 times.

Thursday marked the only game of the weekend for UC Davis, which returns to the court with a pair on the road next week, heading down the coast to take on UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly on Jan. 18 and Jan. 20, respectively.


UC RIVERSIDE (4-13, 1-2)
Michelle Curry 9-17 7-10 25; Lauren Holt 6-13 0-0 13; Tianna Eaton 3-11 1-1 7; Keilanei Cooper 2-4 0-0 5; Malou de Kergret 1-3 2-2 5; Marina Ewodo 1-4 1-2 4; Jannon Otto 2-5 0-0 4; Jalyn Clay 0-0 0-0 0; Clemence Lefebvre 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-58 11-15 63.

UC DAVIS (13-3, 3-0)
Nagel, Rachel 6-12 2-2 18; Nafekh, Dani 6-10 2-2 18; Gianotti, Pele 5-10 5-5 17; Bertsch, Morgan 4-6 2-2 10; Hall, Cierra 1-8 2-6 4; Eaton, Karley 1-2 0-0 3; Bessolo, Nina 0-6 2-2 2; Anderson, Marly 1-3 0-0 2; Song, Sophia 0-0 0-0 0; Hsu, Kaitlyn 0-0 0-0 0; Gibb, Emma 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-57 15-19 74.

UC Riverside..................   13   13   22   15  -   63
UC Davis......................    8   21   28   17  -   74

3-point goals--UC Riverside 4-16 (Marina Ewodo 1-3; Malou de Kergret 1-2; Keilanei Cooper 1-2; Lauren Holt 1-3; Jannon Otto 0-1; Tianna Eaton 0-1; Michelle Curry 0-4), UC Davis 11-27 (Nagel, Rachel 4-8; Nafekh, Dani 4-6; Gianotti, Pele 2-5; Eaton, Karley 1-2; Bessolo, Nina 0-4; Hall, Cierra 0-2). Fouled out--UC Riverside-Marina Ewodo; Michelle Curry, UC Davis-None. Rebounds--UC Riverside 33 (Jannon Otto 7; Michelle Curry 7), UC Davis 35 (Hall, Cierra 12). Assists--UC Riverside 10 (Michelle Curry 3), UC Davis 18 (Nagel, Rachel 4). Total fouls--UC Riverside 16, UC Davis 13. Technical fouls--UC Riverside-None, UC Davis-None. A-422

Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.

Season and single-game tickets for UC Davis men's and women's basketball are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at UCDavisAggies.com.