HONOLULU -- UC Davis sophomore Morgan Bertsch posted her third 20-point performance in her last four games, while teammate Pele Gianotti added a double-double, helping lift the visiting Aggies to their sixth consecutive victory, 69-50, over Hawai'i in Big West Conference action on Thursday night at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
UC Davis improved to 19-6 overall and 10-2 in conference play, matching its win totals in both categories from all of last season and posting its longest winning streak since Nov. 19-Dec. 6 of last season. The Aggies led wire-to-wire for the fourth consecutive game and have not trailed since the second quarter against Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 28.
Led by 13 points off the bench from Courtney Middap, and 12 more from Sarah Toeaina, the Rainbow Wahine fell to 8-16 overall and 4-8 in league play.
Bertsch tied a career high by hitting 11-of-19 from the floor en route to a game-high 24 points, adding a career high-tying four blocks at the other end of the court, moving her into a tie for seventh on the school's all-time list. She was joined in double figures by Gianotti, who collected her third 20-point game and third double-double of the season, finishing with 20 points on 9-of-14 from the floor and 10 rebounds.
Thursday marked the first time that the Aggies have had two players with 20-or-more points since Dec. 2, 2016, against San Diego State when Dani Nafekh finished with 28 and Bertsch added 20 more.
UC Davis opened on a 5-0 run and led by as many as eight with a minute to play in the opening quarter, continuing to blister the nets to start the second, scoring seven of the first nine points, and leading by 13 points at the media timeout.
However, back-to-back three-pointers by Leah Salanoa halted the momentum and allowed the Rainbow Wahine to cut the deficit back to single digits, but UC Davis shook off early foul trouble and closed out the half with a flurry of nine straight points over the final 3:16, hitting four of its last five from the field, and carrying a 16-point, 36-20, lead into the locker room at the break.
The run continued into the second half as the Aggies scored the first eight points of the third quarter and they never looked back. Hawai'i tried to claw its way back into the contest, cutting a 24-point deficit down to just 13 thanks to a 17-6 run over the final eight minutes of the quarter, but could come no closer than 12 points early in the fourth.
A quick 7-0 burst, capped by a three-pointer from Dani Nafekh, rebuilt the UC Davis lead back to 19 points and the Aggies iced the game from there, shooting 62 percent in the fourth quarter -- and 53 percent overall from the field for the game -- en route to their 14th double-digit win of the season.
UC Davis' defense held the Rainbow Wahine in check for most of the night, limiting its hosts to just 35 percent from the floor for the game and turning 11 Hawai'i turnovers into 18 points.
The Aggies return to the court on Wednesday night (Feb. 25) at 7 p.m., welcoming Cal Poly to The Pavilion in the team's penultimate home game of the season.
Prior to the game, UC Davis will celebrate the 31st anniversary of National Girls and Women in Sports Day with activities featuring a number of Aggie student-athletes from various athletic programs, including field hockey, lacrosse, and golf, in the upper concourse. Kids of all ages are invited to interact and compete against these UC Davis athletic mentors at the various stations, each featuring a different game or challenge, for prizes. Doors open at 6 p.m.
UC DAVIS 69, HAWAII 50
UC DAVIS (19-6, 10-2 BWC)
Bertsch, Morgan 11-19 2-3 24; Gianotti, Pele 9-14 0-0 20; Anderson, Marly 4-7 0-0 8; Nafekh, Dani 2-4 0-0 6; Nagel, Rachel 2-2 0-0 4; Eaton, Kourtney 1-5 0-0 3; Song, Sophia 1-3 0-0 2; Hsu, Kaitlyn 0-0 2-2 2; Beyer, Lauren 0-0 0-0 0; Bessolo, Nina 0-2 0-0 0; Eaton, Karley 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-57 4-5 69.
HAWAII (8-16, 4-8 BWC)
Middap, Courtney 5-9 0-0 13; Toeaina, Sarah 4-12 4-6 12; Salanoa, Lahni 3-6 0-0 9; Woodfolk, Makenna 3-6 0-0 6; Tago, Julissa 1-7 2-2 4; Koloi, Keleah-Aiko 1-2 0-2 2; Darden, Adrienne 1-1 0-0 2; Donohue, Taylor 1-1 0-0 2; Crawford, Olivia 0-6 0-0 0; Salanoa, Leah 0-2 0-0 0; Harris, Briana 0-2 0-2 0. Totals 19-54 6-12 50.
UC Davis...................... 14 22 14 19 - 69
Hawaii........................ 9 11 17 13 - 50
3-point goals--UC Davis 5-13 (Gianotti, Pele 2-4; Nafekh, Dani 2-3; Eaton, Kourtney 1-4; Song, Sophia 0-1; Eaton, Karley 0-1), Hawaii 6-16 (Middap, Courtney 3-5; Salanoa, Lahni 3-5; Tago, Julissa 0-2; Crawford, Olivia 0-3; Toeaina, Sarah 0-1). Fouled out--UC Davis-Nagel, Rachel, Hawaii-None. Rebounds--UC Davis 34 (Gianotti, Pele 10), Hawaii 29 (Woodfolk, Makenna 7; Tago, Julissa 7). Assists- UC Davis 14 (Nafekh, Dani 5), Hawaii 11 (Tago, Julissa 6). Total fouls--UC Davis 13, Hawaii 14. Technical fouls--UC Davis-None, Hawaii-None. A-1792