SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- UC Davis sophomore Morgan Bertsch tied a career high with 27 points on 11-of-14 from the field, while junior Marly Anderson added 14 more, helping lead the first-place Aggies to a, 62-48, win over host UC Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon at The Thunderdome.
UC Davis took home its fourth consecutive victory and a sweep of its Central Coast road trip, improving to 17-6 overall and 8-2 in Big West Conference play, holding the Gauchos to just 31 percent shooting from the floor. The four-game winning streak is tied for the longest of the season by the Aggies, matching the team's 4-0 start to the 2016-17 campaign.
The result also moved UC Davis to within two of its overall and conference win totals for all of last year, when the Aggies finished 19-13 overall and 10-6 in the Big West.
UC Santa Barbara, meanwhile, fell to 11-11 overall and 6-3 in league play with the loss, receiving a team-high 11 points from Coco Miller and 10 rebounds off the bench by Taylor Ferris.
Bertsch scored 16 points in the second half to hold off a charging UCSB squad, that cut a double-digit Aggies advantage down to just three points at 38-35 with 2:39 remaining in the third quarter. UC Davis then closed with a flourish, as Anderson scored six of the Aggies' final eight points in the period, pushing the advantage back out to nine points as time expired.
Back-to-back baskets by Farris and Miller to open the fourth powered one more charge by the Gauchos, but an "and one" opportunity by Bertsch sparked a personal 8-0 run for the Santa Rosa, Calif., native and began to inch UC Davis further away, leading 54-43 midway through the period.
UCSB came no closer than 10 points the rest of the way as Kourtney Eaton drained a short jumper before finding Rachel Nagel on a baseline cut for another basket and a 14-point lead, and the Aggies led by as many as 16 in the game on a pair of free throws by Nina Bessolo with 47 seconds remaining.
In tying her career high for points set earlier this year in a win at San Francisco on Dec. 21, Bertsch's 11 makes from the field also tied a career high last accomplished against UC Santa Barbara in the quarterfinals of last year's Big West Tournament. It gave the sophomore back-to-back 20-point games after scoring 20 points in Thursday night's win at Cal Poly, and was the seventh 20-point game of the season for Bertsch.
Junior Pele Gianotti finished with a team-high eight rebounds, adding five points and three assists to her totals, while Kourtney Eaton tied a career high with nine assists (against only one turnover), matching her career high set against UC Riverside in the semifinals of last season's conference tournament. Eaton has finished with seven-or-more assists in a game eight times in her career, and has dished out at least five in a game nine times this season.
Anderson finished in double figures for only the fourth time this season, hitting 7-of-10 from the field and grabbing four rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench. The total was just two off her career high of 16 set and tied against Pacific (Nov. 21) and Sacramento State (Dec. 18), respectively.
UC Davis opened the game on an 11-4 run over the first seven minutes for the early lead, holding UC Santa Barbara to just eight points in the opening period, and led by as many as 15 points in the game. The Aggies' defense held the Gauchos to just 26 percent from the field in the first half -- including a 23 percent clip in the second quarter -- and limited UCSB to just one field goal in the final four minutes, but the Gauchos scored the final four points of the period cutting UC Davis' lead to, 30-20, at the break.
The Aggies return to Bob Hamilton Court at The Pavilion next week for a single game, tipping off against UC Irvine on Saturday (Feb. 11) at 2:30 p.m., in the first game of a doubleheader with the men's team, which hosts UC Riverside.
UC DAVIS 62, UC SANTA BARBARA 48
UC DAVIS (17-6, 8-2 BWC)
Bertsch, Morgan 11-14 5-7 27; Anderson, Marly 7-10 0-0 14; Gianotti, Pele 1-5 2-4 5; Nagel, Rachel 2-10 0-0 4; Nafekh, Dani 2-6 0-0 4; Song, Sophia 1-2 0-2 3; Bessolo, Nina 0-3 3-4 3; Eaton, Kourtney 1-4 0-0 2; Beyer, Lauren 0-0 0-0 0; Eaton, Karley 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 25-56 10-17 62.
UC SANTA BARBARA (11-11, 6-3 BWC)
Miller, Coco 4-13 2-4 11; Jemerigbe, Onome 2-7 5-8 9; Toler, Drea 4-14 1-4 9; Edelman, Drew 4-4 0-0 8; Farris, Taylor 2-3 2-2 6; Hernandez, Aliceah 1-3 0-0 3; Durr, Chaya 1-2 0-0 2; Bruening, Natalia 0-1 0-0 0; Porter, Sarah 0-8 0-0 0; Roper, Makala 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 18-58 10-18 48.
UC Davis...................... 16 14 16 16 - 62
UC Santa Barbara.............. 8 12 17 11 - 48
3-point goals--UC Davis 2-16 (Song, Sophia 1-2; Gianotti, Pele 1-4; Nagel, Rachel 0-3; Nafekh, Dani 0-3; Bessolo, Nina 0-1; Eaton, Kourtney 0-2; Eaton, Karley 0-1), UC Santa Barbara 2-16 (Miller, Coco 1-5; Hernandez, Aliceah 1-3; Toler, Drea 0-1; Porter, Sarah 0-5; Roper, Makala 0-2). Fouled out--UC Davis-None, UC Santa Barbara-Farris, Taylor. Rebounds--UC Davis 40 (Gianotti, Pele 8), UC Santa Barbara 41 (Farris, Taylor 10). Assists--UC Davis 18 (Eaton, Kourtney 9), UC Santa Barbara 10 (Toler, Drea 3). Total fouls--UC Davis 16, UC Santa Barbara 18. Technical fouls--UC Davis-None, UC Santa Barbara-None. A-823