DAVIS, Calif. — Junior Morgan Bertsch became the first Aggie in more than a decade to eclipse the 30-point plateau, finishing with a career-high 34 points on 14-of-21 from the field, and UC Davis used a strong fourth quarter to push past host Cal State Fullerton, 67-55, on Thursday night at Titan Gym in Fullerton, Calif.
The Aggies improved to 24-4 overall and 14-1 in the Big West Conference, winning their sixth straight overall, their eighth consecutive against the Titans, and tying the school record for league victories set last season.
Led by at 17-point, 11-rebound double-double from Daeja Smith, Fullerton fell to 8-20 overall and 3-12 in conference play, despite shooting 42 percent from the field for the game.
Bertsch became the first UC Davis player to score at least 30 points in a game since Jessica Campbell did so at Portland State on Nov. 25, 2005, and fell just two points shy of Aimee Conner’s single-game record of 36 points at Chico State on Feb. 20, 1993. The biomedical engineering major’s total is a school Division I record and ranks third on the all-time list.
Her 14 makes is also a Division I program record, breaking her own record set and tied earlier this year against Pepperdine and Hawai’i, respectively. Meanwhile, her 561 points this season are now tied for second on the single-season list with Conner’s 1992-93 total, and stands just 39 points shy of Staci Stevens’ all-time mark of 600 points scored in 1987-88.
Freshman Cierra Hall also finished in double figures with 10 points on 3-of-5 from the field and a perfect 3-of-3 from the line, adding four rebounds, while nine players finished in the scoring column on the night.
Trailing by eight points with just over six minutes to play in the third following a pair of free throws by Smith, the Aggies clawed all the way back, using a 10-0 run to take their first lead since the first quarter on a Bertsch jumper with 3:46 remaining in the period. The Titans answered with seven straight points to go back up five with 2:21 to play and the two teams traded baskets the rest of the quarter, with Fullerton up three.
A Smith basket inside rebuilt the lead to five, but that would be it for the Titans as the UC Davis offense kicked into gear. Six straight points by Bertsch regained the lead for the Aggies at 49-48, sparking a decisive 14-0 run that put UC Davis ahead, 57-48, with 4:54 to play in the game. The run grew to 19-2 in favor of the Aggies, but Fullerton never got any closer than eight points the rest of the way.
UC Davis hit 56 percent from the field for the fourth consecutive game — including 8-for-11 (.727) in the fourth quarter. The Aggies finished with 17 assists on 25 makes, four apiece from Kourtney Eaton and Rachel Nagel, the former moving into a tie for ninth on the all-time single-season list.
The regular season comes to an end on Saturday (March 3) at 4 p.m., as UC Davis takes on UC Riverside at the SRC Arena.
ABOUT UC DAVIS
Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.
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(Friday: 12 p.m.; ESPN3)