Feb. 11, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - Blair Shinoda scored 10 points and dished out a career-high 8 assists as UC Davis cruised past UC Riverside 67-46 in a Big West Conference matchup on Saturday at The Pavilion in Davis.
UC Davis improves to 15-8 overall and 7-4 in the Big West while UC Riverside moves to 5-19 and a 3-9 league record.
Shinoda also posted four steals, another career-high mark, as UC Davis shot 43 percent from the field and forced 26 UC Riverside turnovers. Samantha Meggison and Sydnee Fipps each added nine points.
The Highlanders were led by Tre'Shonti Nottingham's 15 points while Kiara Harewood added seven points and eight rebounds.
"It was make or break for the rest of our season," said Gross on regrouping after a loss on Thursday. "We've been putting in the work all year, building our team first. You're going to have ups and downs, but the championship teams are those that show their strength as a group and get through adversity together and move forward. I was really excited to get back out today because I felt like we were ready and focused."
After UC Davis took a 4-2 lead just three minutes into the game, neither team would score until the 14:44 mark when Kasey Riecks nailed a three. With that basket, the senior moved into 14th place on UC Davis' all-time career scoring list and now owns 1,029 points.
Sydnee Fipps added in a trey of her own at the 11:55 mark to put UC Davis up 12-4 and the Aggies would never look back. UC Davis closed out the first half on an 18-7 run, capped off by Brianna Salvatore's baseline three with just five seconds left in the half, and took a 33-17 lead into the locker room.
The Aggies also used a smothering defense in the first half to get out on top of the Highlanders, forcing 14 turnovers which the Aggies converted into 16 points.
"Our main focus was our defense today, and we know that in order for us to play as well as we can defensively, we have to bring great pressure to the floor," said Gross. "Our guards set the tone really well up top and forced some turnovers, our back line did a really nice job of communicating. I was really pleased with our effort defensively and our focus defensively."
Out of halftime, UC Davis went up by 16 after Meggison found Hannah Stephens cutting through the lane for a basket. The Highlanders continued to respond, with baskets from Harewood and Nottingham, but Fipps' second trey of the game put the Aggies back up by 16 at 44-28 with 15:09 to go.
Cortney French added a few points of her own after grabbing a defensive rebound, then hitting a nice turnaround baseline jumper. On the other end, she grabbed a steal, then took the ball in for a layup, putting the Aggies up 48-30 with 13:27 left.
The jumper and layup by French sparked a 9-0 run until Dynese Adams scored for UC Riverside with 10:16 to play. Later, Idit Oryon gave the Aggies their largest lead of the game after she hit a corner three, putting UC Davis up 65-39 with 6:16 to go.
The UC Davis defense closed things out for the Aggies, as they limited their opponent to the lowest output of the year in the 67-46 win.
The Aggies return to the road, taking on Long Beach State in a 7 p.m. contest on Feb. 16 before facing current Big West leader Cal State Northridge at 2 p.m. on Feb. 18.