DAVIS, Calif. - Junior Pele Gianotti finished with a game-high 19 points while sophomore Morgan Bertsch finished with 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds on Saturday afternoon, helping lift host UC Davis to its eighth consecutive victory, a 70-61 decision over UC Santa Barbara to celebrate "Senior Day" at The Pavilion.
The Aggies set a new standard for consecutive victories during the program's Division I Era, improving to 21-6 overall and remaining atop the Big West Conference with an 11-2 record, posting its longest single-season winning streak since they won nine-in-a-row from Jan. 19-Feb. 23, 2006.
Saturday's victory also improved UC Davis to 12-2 at The Pavilion this season, the most home wins since the 2010-11 squad finished with a 12-3 mark. The Aggies have now won 16 of their last 19 on their home floor.
Led by a 17-point, 10-rebound, double-double from Drew Edelman, the Gauchos fell to 12-15 overall and 7-9 in league play, held to just 38 percent from the field -- including a 19-percent clip in the third quarter.
After scoring a game-high 25 points in a win over Cal Poly earlier in the week, Gianotti finished 6-of-12 from the field -- including a trio of three-pointers -- and added four rebounds in 37 minutes. It marked the sixth time this season that the junior from Oregon has led the team in scoring.
Bertsch, meanwhile, finished 7-of-13 from the field and dished out four assists to go with her team-high total on the glass in 32 minutes.
An 8-0 run erased an early deficit for the Aggies, who led by as many as eight in the first quarter while holding UCSB to just seven points, while another lengthy burst -- this a 10-2 run midway through the second -- gave UC Davis its largest lead of the game to that point at 28-15 with 5:19 to play in the opening half and helped the Aggies to a, 39-27, lead at the break.
The defense was up to the task in the third, limiting the Gauchos to just eight points on 3-of-16 in the quarter while a three-pointer by Kourtney Eaton sent her team to the bench with a 17-point, 52-35, advantage at the end of three, scoring 10 of the final 12 points in the period after the visitors closed to within single digits with 4:57 to play.
UC Santa Barbara was undaunted, outscoring the Aggies, 26-18, in the fourth quarter, but the deficit was too much to overcome. The Gauchos would come no closer than seven the rest of the way as UC Davis hit its final four from the line in the final minute -- the last two by senior Lauren Beyer, who was honored during pre game "Senior Day" ceremonies -- while holding UCSB to just 1-of-4 from the floor in the final 90 seconds en route to the win.
The Aggies shot 49 percent from the field for the game, including 10-of-13 (.769) during a 26-point second quarter.
With a hold on first place heading into the final week of the regular season, UC Davis returns to Southern California for its final two contests, taking on UC Riverside on Thursday (March 2) at 7 p.m., before facing off against CSUN on Saturday (March 4) at 2 p.m.
UC DAVIS 70, UC SANTA BARBARA 61
UC SANTA BARBARA (12-15, 7-9)
Edelman, Drew 5-8 7-7 17; Miller, Coco 5-12 0-2 15; Toler, Drea 6-14 0-2 13; Porter, Sarah 2-9 0-0 5; Jemerigbe, Onome 2-7 0-0 5; Durr, Chaya 1-4 2-2 4; Farris, Taylor 1-2 0-0 2; Hernandez, Aliceah 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-58 9-13 61.
UC DAVIS (21-6, 12-2)
Gianotti, Pele 6-12 4-4 19; Bertsch, Morgan 7-13 1-1 15; Nafekh, Dani 3-4 1-2 9; Eaton, Kourtney 3-9 0-0 8; Nagel, Rachel 2-6 2-3 7; Song, Sophia 2-3 0-0 6; Bessolo, Nina 1-1 0-0 2; Anderson, Marly 1-3 0-0 2; Beyer, Lauren 0-0 2-2 2; Eaton, Karley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-51 10-12 70.
UC Santa Barbara.............. 7 20 8 26 - 61
UC Davis...................... 13 26 13 18 - 70
3-point goals--UC Santa Barbara 8-23 (Miller, Coco 5-9; Jemerigbe, Onome 1-2; Toler, Drea 1-3; Porter, Sarah 1-6; Hernandez, Aliceah 0-2; Durr, Chaya 0-1), UC Davis 10-20 (Gianotti, Pele 3-7; Song, Sophia 2-2; Eaton, Kourtney 2-7; Nafekh, Dani 2-2; Nagel, Rachel 1-2). Fouled out--UC Santa Barbara-Porter, Sarah, UC Davis-None. Rebounds--UC Santa Barbara 36 (Edelman, Drew 10), UC Davis 29 (Bertsch, Morgan 7). Assists--UC Santa Barbara 14 (Toler, Drea 7), UC Davis 17 (Eaton, Kourtney 6). Total fouls--UC Santa Barbara 15, UC Davis 13. Technical fouls--UC Santa Barbara-None, UC Davis-None.