Feb. 24, 2011
DAVIS, Calif. - UC Riverside shot 52.4 percent from the field, opened a 13-point halftime lead and went on to beat the UC Davis 74-62 in a Big West Conference women's basketball game at The Pavilion on Thursday night, breaking a third-place tie in the standings.
UC Davis lost its third straight conference game, falling to 18-8 overall and 7-6 in the Big West. Vicky Deely scored 21 points to lead the Aggies who were just 3 of 20 (15.0 percent) from three-point territory.
The Highlanders, who swept the season series from UC Davis, were led by guard Tre'Shonti Nottingham who scored 25 points. Alyssa Morris added 16 points and Rhaya Neabors scored 14 for UC Riverside which improved to 15-11 overall and 8-5 in the Big West.
UC Davis dropped into fourth place, a half-game in front of UC Irvine which visits The Pavilion on Saturday.
The Aggies trailed 32-19 at halftime on Thursday night and fell behind 52-32 midway through the second half before using a 13-2 really to climb within nine points with 6 minutes, 36 seconds remaining. However, UC Riverside was able to turn away UC Davis each time it tried to get closer, pulling away for the key win.
"I thought the difference, obviously, was their defensive effort in the first half," said Aggie coach Sandy Simpson. "We struggled to score. I thought they were playing well defensively but we weren't being aggressive and attacking them."
The Highlanders used good defense to to take the early lead, holding the Aggies to just just 33.3 percent (9 of 27) from the field in the first half, including just 1 of 8 from three-point.
Rheya Neabors put in a layup five minutes into the game for a 9-2 Highlanders lead with Brittany Palmer's three-pointer at the midway point pushing the lead into double-digits at 17-6. Nottingham's trey with 4:42 left in the half gave UC Riverside its biggest lead to that point at 28-12.
UC Davis was able to get within 13 at the break after Kasey Riecks
drove to the hoop as the buzzer sounded.
The Aggies held the Highlanders to just five points over the first four minutes of the second half but only managed two themselves as the lead grew to 37-21 before eventually swelling to its largest margin at 52-32.
UC Davis, though, rallied with a 13-2 run which was capped by a three-pointer from Blair Shinoda and a layup from Samantha Meggison to get the Aggies within 54-45 with less than seven minutes to go.
They hovered around that deficit for three minutes before Morris knocked down a trey to push UC Riverside's lead to 62-50 and the Aggies weren't able to complete the rally and get closer the remaining three minutes.
"I was actually really pleased with how we battled back," Simpson said of the Aggies' second half effort.
Meggison scored 10 points for UC Davis and had four assists while Deely added eight rebounds. The Aggies were also just 13 of 24 (54.2 percent) from the line.
Rheya Neabors had six assists for the Highlanders who were 24 of 28 (85.7 percent) from the line and made 22 of 42 shots from the field.
Saturday's game against UC Irvine tips off at 2 p.m. and will be the final regular-season home game for seniors Paige Mintun and Heidi Heintz. They will be honored during pregame ceremonies along with senior Anna Harp who has been sidelined with injury.