DAVIS, Calif. -- Junior Pele Gianotti led the Aggies with a game-high 14 points, while sophomore Kourtney Eaton tied a season-high with 12 points of her own, but visiting Long Beach State clamped down on defense in the second half to post a, 64-51, victory over host UC Davis in a battle of preseason favorites on Thursday night at The Pavilion.
The Aggies suffered their first conference loss of the season, falling to 11-5 overall and 2-1 in Big West Conference play, losing for only the second time in their last seven games.
Led by 14 points from Jewelyn Sawyer and 11 rebounds by Madison Montgomery, the 49ers improved to 11-6 overall and 2-0 in league play, winning their third straight in the series with UC Davis.
Gianotti hit 4-of-7 from the floor, including a trio of three-pointers, en route to her total, reaching double figures for the first time since finishing with 15 points at UCF on Dec. 28. Kourtney Eaton added five rebounds and three assists to her 12 points, playing all but two minutes and matching her season high set against Portland in the season opener on Nov. 11.
The Aggies led after one period on a fast-break buzzer beater by Kourtney Eaton after teammate Nina Bessolo picked off a pass from Gigi Hascheff, and led by as many as five points in the second quarter on a three-pointer from Bessolo, who scored all nine of her points in the period, for a 20-15 advantage.
Hascheff answered with five straight points to key an 11-2 run by Long Beach State that turned the deficit into a four-point lead with just under four minutes to play in the half, but the Aggies responded by scoring seven of the next nine points to regain the lead. Anna Kim, who finished with 10 points, hit a jumper off a miss to put the 49ers back in front, and they took a one-point lead into the locker room after UC Davis missed a half-court heave at the buzzer.
Trailing at the break for only the fourth time this season, junior Dani Nafekh came out firing to start the second half, canning a three-pointer to put the Aggies back in front, and a basket inside by Nagel two minutes later had the home team up, 34-32, with 6:29 remaining in the period. However, that would be the last lead that UC Davis would hold as Raven Benton, who had 12 points off the bench, scored five straight as part of an 8-0 run that pushed the Long Beach State advantage out to six with just over four minutes to go.
A pair of free throws by Morgan Bertsch a minute later helped bring the Aggies back to within a point, 44-43, with 2:46 to play, but the 49ers scored the final four points of the period and Kim drained a three-pointer to open the fourth and the visitors never looked back. UC Davis clawed back to within five points on a Gianotti three with 5:39 to play, but a 10-2 run over the final 5:15 iced the game as the 49ers held the Aggies to just a pair of free throws in that span.
UC Davis was held to just 31 percent from the floor -- including just 2-of-16 from the field in the fourth quarter -- for the game, while Long Beach State shot just over 39 percent, hitting on 12-of-26 (.462) in the second half. The 49ers out-rebounded the Aggies, 42-35, and held the Big West's leading scorer, Morgan Bertsch, to just six points and six rebounds on 2-of-11 shooting, snapping a streak of 23 straight games in double digits dating back to last season
Bertsch did collect a pair of blocks on the night to increase her season total to 31 and break a tie with Lauren Juric (2008-12) for eighth on the UC Davis all-time list with 67. She now trails Ellen Porshneva (2003-06, 2007-08) by 13 for the No. 7 spot. Junior Marly Anderson also collected a pair of swats, while Rachel Nagel and Sophia Song added one apiece, giving the Aggies at least six blocks in a game for the sixth time this season.
UC Davis looks to rebound at home on Saturday (Jan. 14) at 2 p.m., welcoming CSUN to The Pavilion in the first meeting between the two teams this season. The Matadors are coming off a 77-52 loss against UC Irvine on Wednesday.
LONG BEACH STATE 64, UC DAVIS 51
LONG BEACH STATE (11-6, 2-0 BWC)
Sawyer, Jewelyn 7-9 0-0 14; Benton, Raven 4-10 2-2 12; Kim, Anna 3-7 2-2 10; Hascheff, Gigi 4-8 0-0 9; Montgomery, Madison 2-13 5-6 9; Gertz, Jessica 1-3 0-0 3; Henry, Alzena 1-2 1-2 3; Turner, Tyla 1-3 0-0 2; McCowan, Martina 1-4 0-0 2; Wilson, Cece 0-1 0-0 0; Jackson, Chanterria 0-1 0-0 0; Webster, Katie 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-61 10-12 64.
UC DAVIS (11-5, 2-1 BWC)
Gianotti, Pele 4-7 3-3 14; Eaton, Kourtney 4-12 3-5 12; Bessolo, Nina 3-6 2-2 9; Bertsch, Morgan 2-11 2-4 6; Nafekh, Dani 2-6 0-0 5; Song, Sophia 1-4 0-0 3; Nagel, Rachel 1-4 0-0 2; Anderson, Marly 0-4 0-0 0; Eaton, Karley 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-55 10-14 51.
Long Beach State.............. 13 17 18 16 - 64
UC Davis...................... 15 14 14 8 - 51
3-point goals--Long Beach State 6-19 (Benton, Raven 2-5; Kim, Anna 2-3; Hascheff, Gigi 1-5; Gertz, Jessica 1-3; McCowan, Martina 0-1; Montgomery, Madison 0-2), UC Davis 7-23 (Gianotti, Pele 3-5; Song, Sophia 1-3; Eaton, Kourtney 1-5; Nafekh, Dani 1-3; Bessolo, Nina 1-3; Eaton, Karley 0-1; Nagel, Rachel 0-3). Fouled out--Long Beach State-None, UC Davis-None. Rebounds--Long Beach State 42 (Montgomery, Madison 11), UC Davis 35 (Nagel, Rachel 7). Assists--Long Beach State 11 (Sawyer, Jewelyn 3), UC Davis 13 (Eaton, Kourtney 3). Total fouls--Long Beach State 14, UC Davis 16. Technical fouls--Long Beach State-None, UC Davis-None. A-473