DAVIS, Calif. -- Junior Dani Nafekh celebrated her 21st birthday in style on Saturday afternoon at The Pavilion, finishing with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-9 from the floor, helping lift host UC Davis to its fifth straight victory, a 62-42 Big West Conference triumph over UC Irvine.
The Aggies, who finished with three in double figures, improved to 18-6 overall and 9-2 in league play, extending their longest winning streak since they took home six straight victories from Nov. 19-Dec. 6 last season.
Held to just 22 percent shooting from the field for the game, the Anteaters fell to 3-21 overall and 1-9 in conference play, getting 16 points on a quartet of three-pointers from Andee Ritter, and 10 more from Brooke Bayman.
Nafekh recorded the third 20-point game of her career -- all coming this season -- thanks, in part, to four three-pointers, adding six rebounds in 38 minutes. Sophomore Morgan Bertsch added her third career double-double -- and her second this year -- finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three blocks in the victory.
UC Davis grabbed the game by the horns and never let go in recording its third straight wire-to-wire victory, having not trailed for the last 144:15 of game time dating back to the second quarter of the Aggies' win over Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 28. They opened the game on a 19-0 run -- the team's longest scoring run of the season -- and allowed just four points in the opening period, building a 25-point advantage after the first 10 minutes.
The four points allowed are tied for the fewest in a single quarter this season, matching the total allowed to UC Riverside in the third quarter of UC Davis' win on Jan. 26, while the 29 points fell just one shy of the most in a single quarter by the Aggies' offense, set against Pacific (Nov. 21) and matched against Sacramento State (Dec. 18). UC Davis shot 53 percent in the opening quarter, including 5-for-6 from beyond the arc.
Irvine was able to reel the Aggies back in, however, outscoring UC Davis, 31-17, in the second and third quarters combined, whittling what was a 27-point advantage at one point down to just nine at 44-35 with just under a minute to go in the third.
Bertsch, however, scored inside just before the end of the third period, and Gianotti drained a three-pointer of the gate to start the fourth quarter, keying a 13-0 run that rebuild the Aggies' lead back to 22 points and they never looked back.
UC Davis shot 40 percent from the field for the game, while posting a season low field goal percentage allowed on the defensive end, holding its fifth opponent to under 30 percent from the floor this year. The Aggies also held a, 48-36, advantage on the glass, getting eight more rebounds off the bench from Rachel Nagel and a career-high six more from sophomore Karley Eaton, who added a career-high six assists.
The friendly skies await UC Davis in its only game next week, as the Aggies look to extend their winning streak to six when they head to Honolulu to take on Hawai'i on Thursday (Feb. 16) at 7 p.m. (HT) at the Stan Sherrif Center.
UC DAVIS 62, UC IRVINE 42
UC IRVINE (3-21, 1-9 BWC)
Ritter, Andee 5-16 2-2 16; Bayman, Brooke 3-7 3-6 10; Chavez, Irene 2-11 2-2 8; Sutherland, Shereen 2-8 0-0 4; Piper, Mckenzie 1-10 0-0 2; Hicks, Teirra 1-2 0-0 2; Engelstad, Sabrina 0-3 0-2 0; Kellum, Chloe 0-0 0-0 0; Glassow, Brittany 0-6 0-0 0; Andrada, Mylah 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-63 7-12 42.
UC DAVIS (18-6, 9-2 BWC)
Nafekh, Dani 7-9 2-2 20; Gianotti, Pele 5-11 0-0 14; Bertsch, Morgan 4-10 4-6 12; Anderson, Marly 2-7 1-2 5; Nagel, Rachel 2-6 0-0 5; Eaton, Karley 2-5 0-0 4; Song, Sophia 0-3 2-2 2; Hsu, Kaitlyn 0-1 0-0 0; Beyer, Lauren 0-1 0-0 0; Bessolo, Nina 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-55 9-12 62.
UC Irvine..................... 4 19 12 7 - 42
UC Davis...................... 29 8 9 16 - 62
3-point goals--UC Irvine 7-24 (Ritter, Andee 4-9; Chavez, Irene 2-7; Bayman, Brooke 1-2; Glassow, Brittany 0-1; Piper, Mckenzie 0-5), UC Davis 9-23 (Gianotti, Pele 4-8; Nafekh, Dani 4-6; Nagel, Rachel 1-3; Eaton, Karley 0-2; Song, Sophia 0-2; Hsu, Kaitlyn 0-1; Bessolo, Nina 0-1). Fouled out- UC Irvine-None, UC Davis-None. Rebounds--UC Irvine 36 (Glassow, Brittany 7; Piper, Mckenzie 7), UC Davis 48 (Bertsch, Morgan 10). Assists--UC Irvine 8 (Bayman, Brooke 6), UC Davis 14 (Eaton, Karley 6). Total fouls--UC Irvine 13, UC Davis 11. Technical fouls--UC Irvine-None, UC Davis-None.