DAVIS, Calif. -- Freshman Morgan Bertsch finished logged her second straight 20-point performance with a team-high 21 points on the night, but it wasn't enough to off-set a 13-2 kick to close out the game by visiting UC Riverside as the Highlanders remained unbeaten in Big West play thanks to a 90-76 victory over the Aggies on Saturday night at The Pavilion.
UC Davis fell to 15-12 overall and 8-5 in conference play, fighting all the way back from a 15-point third-quarter deficit to take a three-point lead midway through the fourth. UC Riverside improved to 19-7 overall and 12-0 in league action, led by Brittany Crain's game-high 33 points.
Bertsch, who finished with 22 points two nights earlier at Hawai'i, turned in another stellar performance, hitting 7-of-10 from the floor and a perfect 7-for-7 from the line for her eighth 20-point game of the season, adding six rebounds in 33 minutes. Senior Alyson Doherty finished with 15 points and five rebounds, while freshman Kourtney Eaton added 12 points on a quartet of three-pointers.
The Aggies answered the bell all night against the Big West's highest-scoring team, closing the first half on a 10-0 run, punctuated by a buzzer-beating free throw line jumper by Doherty to tie the game at 19-all after the first 10 minutes. The run continued into the second as Bertsch scored the first five points of the period -- part of a larger 8-2 burst that gave UC Davis its largest lead of the game at 27-21 with 6:46 to play.
Riverside responded with a 7-0 run to erase the deficit and the Highlanders closed the half on an 11-0 run to carry a 43-31 lead into the locker room at the break. That advantage grew to as many as 15 with 5:40 to play in the third before the Aggies made their move. Sophomore Rachel Nagel sparked a 9-0 run that made it a six-point game, and a three-pointer by Kourtney Eaton from the left corner capped a run that saw UC Davis, down eight at the time, score 10 of the final 14 points in the period to close to within two points at 57-55.
The two teams traded baskets to open the final quarter before an 8-0 run finished, again, by an Eaton three-pointer, gave the Aggies their first lead since late in the second at 65-62 with 6:40 to play. Crain answered with a three and Doherty hit a pair from the line to make it 67-65 a minute later. A three-pointer by Pele Gianotti drew UC Davis even at 70 with just under five minutes to play before Riverside made its move.
A 11-2 sprint broke open a 1-point game and the Highlanders finished 6-for-7 from the line over the final 1:27 to ice the game.
UC Riverside shot 49 percent from the field for the game -- including better than 60 percent in the second and fourth quarters -- to 43 percent for UC Davis. The Aggies held a 37-30 advantage on the boards, while both teams were proficient from the line, missing three from the line combined.
The final home appearance for the UC Davis senior class will be next Saturday (Feb. 27), as the Aggies host CSUN at 3 p.m.
UC RIVERSIDE 90, UC DAVIS 76
UC RIVERSIDE (19-7, 12-0 BWC)
Crain, Brittany 10-21 8-9 33; Verin, Rejane 10-16 4-4 25; DeCoud, Simone 6-13 3-3 16; Curry, Michelle 4-8 2-2 11; Martin, Akilah 1-3 0-0 3; Nyingifa, Inara 0-2 2-2 2; Morrison, Tahvia 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-63 19-20 90.
UC DAVIS (15-11, 8-5 BWC)
Bertsch, Morgan 7-10 7-7 21; Doherty, Alyson 5-14 5-6 15; Eaton, Kourtney 4-6 0-0 12; Nagel, Rachel 3-9 2-2 9; Marfone, Celia 3-10 1-2 8; Gianotti, Pele 3-8 1-1 8; Nafekh, Dani 1-2 0-0 3; McGuire, Taylor 0-1 0-0 0; Eaton, Karley 0-0 0-0 0; Johnson, Heidi 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-61 16-18 76.
UC Riverside.................. 19 24 14 33 - 90
UC Davis...................... 19 12 24 21 - 76
3-point goals--UC Riverside 9-20 (Crain, Brittany 5-11; Verin, Rejane 1-1; Curry, Michelle 1-2; Martin, Akilah 1-2; DeCoud, Simone 1-4), UC Davis 8-23 (Eaton, Kourtney 4-5; Nagel, Rachel 1-4; Nafekh, Dani 1-1; Gianotti, Pele 1-5; Marfone, Celia 1-7; Johnson, Heidi 0-1). Fouled out--UC Riverside-None, UC Davis-Gianotti, Pele. Rebounds--UC Riverside 30 (Verin, Rejane 11), UC Davis 37 (Bertsch, Morgan 6). Assists--UC Riverside 15 (Nyingifa, Inara 3; Martin, Akilah 3; DeCoud, Simone 3; Curry, Michelle 3), UC Davis 17 (Doherty, Alyson 5). Total fouls--UC Riverside 19, UC Davis 19. Technical fouls--UC Riverside-None, UC Davis-None. A-637