DAVIS, Calif. -- UC Davis junior Pele Gianotti finished with a game-high 14 points and keyed a 14-2 run over a four-minute span late in the fourth quarter to break open a five-point game, lifting the host Aggies to a, 59-39, victory over Cal State Fullerton and a sweep of the regular season series on Saturday afternoon at The Pavilion.
Winners of six of its last eight, UC Davis finished off a perfect week, improving to 15-6 overall and 7-2 in the Big West Conference, winning its sixth straight in the series with the Titans. Fullerton, led by 10 points and nine rebounds from Daeja Smith, fell to 4-17 overall and 1-7 in the Big West.
"I was really proud of our team for staying positive, staying focused, and finding a way to win when we weren't playing at our best," Head Coach Jennifer Gross said.
The 39 points were the fewest allowed by the Aggies since they gave up only 36 to Cal State Monterey Bay on Dec. 6 of last season, and the fewest against a Division I program since a, 44-39, victory over UC Riverside in the Big West Tournament on March 11, 2011.
Gianotti finished 5-of-13 from the floor and added six rebounds and four steals in 32 minutes of action. She led a three-point barrage by the Aggies, hitting 4-of-10 from long distance, and contributing to 37 attempts as a team from beyond the arc -- just two off the school single-game record of 39 set against San Francisco on Nov. 29, 2013.
Junior Rachel Nagel finished with 11 points, five rebounds, and five assists, for UC Davis, while sophomore Kourtney Eaton added a game-high seven assists (against only one turnover) to go with seven points and three steals, becoming only the sixth player in the program's Division I history to surpass the 200 assist plateau for a career, now with 205.
The Aggies led by as many as 21 points in the game, but it was just a five-point advantage with seven minutes to play when they began to pull away. A pair of three's by Gianotti around a Nagel triple pushed the advantage out to double digits, and a driving lay up by Kourtney Eaton made it 11 straight points and a 50-34 advantage.
Dhanyel Johnson hit a short jumper to end the drought for the Titans, but Gianotti nailed another three-pointer for her final points of the night and the Aggies never looked back. UC Davis outscored Cal State Fullerton, 23-10, in the fourth quarter -- including a 20-5 advantage over the final 6:51 to close out the game.
Suffocating on defense, the Aggies forced the Titans into 24 turnovers on the night, turning those into 21 points for the good, while the offense finished with 19 assists on 23 makes, committing just 10 miscues for the game. The 59 points in Saturday's victory were the fewest in a win for UC Davis since the Aggies posted a, 57-50, victory over CSUN on Feb. 27, 2016.
On the road for its next two, UC Davis heads down the coast to take on Cal Poly on Thursday (Feb. 2) and UC Santa Barbara on Saturday (Feb. 4). Tip off is scheduled for 5 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively, as the front ends of road doubleheaders with the men's team on the Central Coast.
UC DAVIS 59, CAL STATE FULLERTON 39
CAL STATE FULLERTON (4-17, 1-7 BWC)
Smith, Daeja 4-7 1-2 10; Vega, Jade 3-10 2-6 8; Jackson, Jordan 3-6 0-0 7; Henderson, China 2-9 0-0 5; Johnson, Dhanyel 2-4 1-2 5; Nubla, Lauren 1-3 0-0 2; Gallo, Mia 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 16-40 4-10 39.
UC DAVIS (15-6, 7-2 BWC)
Gianotti, Pele 5-13 0-0 14; Nagel, Rachel 4-15 0-0 11; Bessolo, Nina 3-5 0-2 9; Nafekh, Dani 3-6 0-0 8; Anderson, Marly 4-8 0-0 8; Eaton, Kourtney 3-8 0-0 7; Bertsch, Morgan 1-5 0-0 2; Song, Sophia 0-6 0-0 0; Beyer, Lauren 0-0
0-0 0; Eaton, Karley 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-67 0-2 59.
Cal State Fullerton........... 5 12 12 10 - 39
UC Davis...................... 11 13 12 23 - 59
3-point goals--Cal State Fullerton 3-12 (Henderson, China 1-4; Jackson, Jordan 1-2; Smith, Daeja 1-1; Vega, Jade 0-5), UC Davis 13-37 (Gianotti, Pele 4-10; Nagel, Rachel 3-9; Bessolo, Nina 3-5; Nafekh, Dani 2-4; Eaton, Kourtney 1-4; Song, Sophia 0-4; Anderson, Marly 0-1). Fouled out--Cal State Fullerton-None, UC Davis-None. Rebounds--Cal State Fullerton 37 (Smith, Daeja 9), UC Davis 34 (Gianotti, Pele 6). Assists--Cal State Fullerton 9 (Vega, Jade 3; Smith, Daeja 3), UC Davis 19 (Eaton, Kourtney 7). Total fouls--Cal State Fullerton 8, UC Davis 12. Technical fouls--Cal State Fullerton-None, UC Davis-None.
Part of doubleheader. Attendance will appear later.