Feb. 28, 2013
IRVINE, Calif. - UC Davis held UC Irvine without a point for the final five minutes, outscoring the Anteaters 13-0 down the stretch, and rallied from a late nine-point deficit to record a critical 47-43 Big West Conference women's basketball win on Thursday night at Bren Events Center.
The Aggies, fighting for one of eight berths in the upcoming Big West Tournament, improved to 12-15 overall and 7-9 in the conference. UC Irvine, which downed UC Davis earlier this season on Hamilton Court, fell to 9-18 overall and 5-10 in the league after having its four-game winning streak snapped.
Sydnee Fipps had a career-high five three-pointers, including four in the row in the second half, and scored 19 points to lead UC Davis while senior Cortney French had a trio of three-pointers and finished with nine. Overall, the Aggies went 11 for 27 from beyond the arc, including making 7 of 14 after halftime.
The Aggies trailed 43-34 with 5 minutes, 16 seconds left after a pair of free throws from guard Jennifer Tsurumoto but then scored the game's final 13 points to roar back for the win.
French and Blair Shinoda had three-pointers to help cut the deficit to 43-42 with 3:58 left and then French deposited a corner three-pointer with 3:21 on the clock that put UC Davis in front for the first time since the first half. The Anteaters then missed their next four shots and had a pair of turnovers as the Aggies tried to hold them off.
Freshman Molly Gruebel hit a pair of free throws with 13 seconds remaining, making it 47-43 and essentially icing the come-from-behind win.
"We always have five three-pointer shooters on the floor," said Aggie coach Jennifer Gross. "Everybody on our team can shoot the ball. So when they're taking one person away, somebody else gets open and I thought we did a really nice job against their zone. We hit them when it counted."
UC Davis locked down defensively for most of the first half, holding UC Irvine to just 26.1 percent from the floor. The Anteaters managed just four points over the first 12 minutes of the game as the Aggies took an early 13-4 lead. French's three-pointer with just under five minutes left in the half gave UC Davis its biggest lead, 18-9, but it wouldn't score the rest of the half as UC Irvine used an 11-0 run for a 20-18 halftime lead.
The Aggies also did a good job on the boards, outrebounding the Anteaters 20-16 in the opening 20 minutes and 39-32 for the game.
Fipps had three consecutive treys for UC Davis after intermission, including one that forged the game's only tie four minutes into the second half, 26-26. UC Irvine, though, gradually opened a lead that reached 43-34 with just over five minutes left, setting up the Aggies' late flurry.
"We met on Monday as a team, talked about the things we can improve this year and our defensive urgency was a real key for us," Gross said. "I thought we showed today that we're committed to that."
Freshman Alyson Doherty had three blocks for UC Davis while French and Fipps each led the team with seven rebounds. Freshman Aniya Baker had a game-high five assists as the Aggies posted assists on all but one of their 15 baskets.
Jasmine Bernard came off the bench to score 13 points for UC Irvine while Tsuromoto had 12 points. Forward Camille Buckley posted a game-best 15 boards.
The Aggies are in seventh place in the Big West standings but trail Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge by just a half-game. UC Davis has just two conference matchups remaining, one of them on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Long Beach State.