SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Junior Morgan Bertsch finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while senior Pele Gianotti finished with 13 and became the 19th player in Aggie history to reach 1,000 career points, helping lift UC Davis to a, 68-61, victory over host UC Santa Barbara on Thursday night at The Thunderdome.
The Aggies improve to 14-3 overall and open Big West Conference play with a 4-0 record for the first time in the history of the program, clinching their 14th consecutive regular season win over a league opponent.
Led by 15 points from Drea Toler, the Gauchos fell to 6-11 overall and 3-2 in league play with the loss, as three UCSB players finished in double figures.
Bertsch's double-double was the second by a UC Davis player this season and the fourth of the biomedical engineering major's career, setting a season-high with 10 rebounds and the most since she set a career high with 11 against Florida A&M on Dec. 20, 2015.
Gianotti's 13 points marked her ninth double-digit scoring performance of the year, hitting the career milestone with 3.3 seconds remaining in the second quarter on a driving lay-up that also drew a foul. Along with Bertsch, the duo became the third in the program's Division I history to reach 1,000 points in the same season, joining Sarah Allen and Colleen Turnbull in 2002-03 and Kari Sivesind and Kendall Greene in 1995-96.
Trailing by three after one, UC Davis closed the second quarter on a 12-4 run, outscoring UC Santa Barbara, 20-9, in the period en route to an eight-point halftime lead. The Gauchos turned the tables in the third, however, using a 7-2 spurt midway through the period to tie the game at 43-all, and retake the lead on a three-point play by Danae Miller with 2:45 remaining.
The run continued, extending to a 12-2 burst before a pair of free throws by freshman Cierra Hall and a jumper to beat the buzzer by Bertsch made it a one-point game after three.
A Toler basket to start the fourth pushed the Gauchos' lead back to three points before the Aggies grabbed the lead for good. A 12-0 run -- including eight points from Karley Eaton on a pair of three-pointers and a lay-up to cap the sprint -- rebuilt the UC Davis advantage to nine at 59-50 with 4:33 to play and the Aggies never looked back.
The two teams traded buckets the rest of the way and UC Davis finished 4-of-5 from the line down the stretch en route to the win, hitting 12-of-14 from the stripe for the game and shooting 45 percent from the field. The Big West's top-ranked defense held UCSB to just 34 percent, including 7-of-28 from beyond the arc.
After a day off on Friday, the Aggies return to the court in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., heading north to take on Cal Poly to close out the roadtrip.
ABOUT UC DAVIS
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.
PACK THE PAVILION!
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.