DAVIS, Calif. -- UC Davis outscored UC Riverside, 26-4, in the third quarter, including a run of 18 consecutive points over a five-minute span, breaking open a three-point game at the half and lifting the host Aggies to a, 72-55, Big West Conference victory over the Highlanders on Thursday night at The Pavilion.
Led by a season-high 22 points from junior Pele Gianotti, UC Davis improved to 14-6 overall and 5-2 in conference play, leading by as many 29 points early in the fourth quarter. The four points allowed in the third quarter were the fewest the Aggies have allowed since the NCAA switched to quarters in 2015-16.
"I was really pleased with our focus and energy to start the third quarter," Head Coach Jennifer Gross said. "The first half was so back-and-forth, it was fun to see our defense working for us and creating opportunities."
Rejane Verin finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds to pace three players in double figures for Riverside, which fell to 10-9 overall and 4-2 in league.
Gianotti hit 8-of-11 from the floor, including a trio of three-pointers, adding five rebounds in 26 minutes. Sophomore Morgan Bertsch added 13 points and junior Rachel Nagel narrowly missed the double-double with 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds, hitting 5-of-9 from the field in 22 minutes.
Clinging to a three-point lead at the break after the Highlanders chopped into a 10-point deficit by scoring the final seven points of the second quarter, the Aggies opened the floodgates after halftime, shooting just under 63 percent from the floor in the period. Nagel scored the first four points and Dani Nafekh followed with a basket for a quick 6-0 run.
A lay-up by Simone DeCoud snapped the scoreless start to the quarter for Riverside, but that would be the last points for a while for the visiting team as back-to-back three-pointers by Nafekh and Kourtney Eaton sparked the decisive 18-0 run as UC Davis ran and hid for the rest of the game. Gianotti followed the three-point barrage with three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt in front of the Aggie bench, and added a three-pointer on her team's next possession, pushing the lead out to 19 points midway through the quarter.
Nagel, Gianotti, and Bertsch, combined for the final six points of the run as UC Davis went up by 25 points and held that lead at the end of three quarters after Karley Eaton beat the buzzer on the team's final possession of the period. Bertsch and Gianotti scored the first two baskets of the fourth to give the Aggies their largest lead at, 64-35, just 36 seconds in, and UC Davis never looked back.
A 14-3 run over the next five-plus minutes by the Highlanders brought them to under 20 points, and they finished the fourth quarter with a 20-8 advantage, but the game was already well in hand for the Aggies.
UC Davis finished the game shooting 50 percent from the field and 8-of-14 (.571) from beyond the arc en route to the win, while the defense held Riverside to just 30 percent shooting from the floor and limited the Big West's leading scorer in Verin to just 5-of-20 from the field.
The Aggies close out the weekend on Saturday (Jan. 28) afternoon at The Pavilion, hosting Cal State Fullerton at 2:30 p.m., in the first game of a doubleheader with the men's team.
UC DAVIS 72, UC RIVERSIDE 55
UC RIVERSIDE (10-9, 4-2 BWC)
Holt, Lauren 4-12 0-0 11; Verin, Rejane 5-20 0-0 10; DeCoud, Simone 4-9 0-0 10; Clay, Jalyn 1-1 4-4 6; Curry, Michelle 3-10 0-0 6; Lewis, Sklyer 2-6 2-3 6; de Kergret, Malou 1-5 0-0 2; Ewodo, Marina 0-2 2-2 2; Obi, Adaora 1-1 0-0 2; Lefebvre, Clemence 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 21-69 8-9 55.
UC DAVIS (14-6, 5-2 BWC)
Gianotti, Pele 8-11 3-3 22; Bertsch, Morgan 5-11 3-5 13; Nagel, Rachel 5-9 0-0 10; Anderson, Marly 3-6 0-0 7; Nafekh, Dani 3-7 0-0 7; Eaton, Kourtney 2-6 0-0 6; Eaton, Karley 2-3 0-0 4; Bessolo, Nina 1-3 0-0 3; Song, Sophia 0-1 0-0 0; Hsu, Kaitlyn 0-1 0-0 0; Beyer, Lauren 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-58 6-8 72.
UC Riverside.................. 20 11 4 20 - 55
UC Davis...................... 19 15 26 12 - 72
3-point goals--UC Riverside 5-21 (Holt, Lauren 3-8; DeCoud, Simone 2-3; Curry, Michelle 0-1; Lewis, Sklyer 0-1; de Kergret, Malou 0-4; Ewodo, Marina 0-2; Lefebvre, Clemence 0-2), UC Davis 8-14 (Gianotti, Pele 3-5; Eaton, Kourtney 2-3; Nafekh, Dani 1-2; Bessolo, Nina 1-2; Anderson, Marly 1-1; Song, Sophia 0-1). Fouled out--UC Riverside-None, UC Davis-None. Rebounds--UC Riverside 41 (Verin, Rejane 10), UC Davis 39 (Nagel, Rachel 8). Assists--UC Riverside 10 (DeCoud, Simone 3), UC Davis 18 (Nafekh, Dani 4; Eaton, Karley 4; Eaton, Kourtney 4). Total fouls--UC Riverside 10, UC Davis 9. Technical fouls--UC Riverside-None, UC Davis-None. A-467 Courtside Technician: Timothy Ornelas