March 3, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Paige Mintun scored a game-high 15 points, Lauren Juric had a game-best nine rebounds and the UC Davis women's basketball team picked up its second straight 20-win season with a 56-44 Big West Conference victory over host Cal State Northridge on Thursday night.
The Aggies, whose No. 4 seeding for next week's ampm Big West Tournament was already determined prior to the game, improved to 20-8 overall and 9-6 in the conference.
Jasmine Erving had 12 points and Violet Alama had 11 for Cal State Northridge which is now 4-25 overall and 4-11 in the Big West. The loss also sends the Matadors into a winner-take-all game against visiting Pacific on Saturday for the final spot in the eight-team conference tournament.
UC Davis earned a 20-win season for the second consecutive year after finishing 21-11 last season. It's also the fourth for Aggie head coach Sandy Simpson.
"It's nice because it speaks to consistency," Simpson said of the achievement. "I think it's a credit to the players and how much work they've put in."
Thursday's game had no bearing for UC Davis in regards to next week's league tournament. The Aggies were already lined up to play fifth-seeded UC Irvine at The Pavilion on Tuesday, regardless of the outcome of Thursday's matchup.
Still, UC Davis wanted to keep momentum going forward but couldn't shake Cal State Northridge until the second half.
After leading 27-19 at intermission, the Aggies picked up the first of three second-half treys from Kasey Riecks to lead 30-19 just 25 seconds in. Hannah Stephens added another one just over four minutes later to make it 35-21 and the Aggies didn't let Cal State Northridge get closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
UC Davis was just 2 of 10 from beyond the arc in the first half but warmed up to 45.5 percent in the second, making 5 of 11. It shot 35.3 percent from the field overall.
The Matadors made only 31.5 percent of their attempts (17 of 54) and were only 8.3 percent (1 of 12) from three-point in the game.
Juric's rebounding also helped the Aggies own a 42-37 advantage on the glass. She had three of them on the offensive end, adding five points, four assists, two blocks and three steals.
"I thought Lauren had a great game," said Simpson. "She probably gave us 20 possessions. She kept getting the ball for us."
Both teams struggled shooting in the early going. Cal State Northridge was just 3 of 12 over the first eight minutes while the Aggies were 3 of 8. The Matadors, though, were able to put together a 7-0 run to take a 11-9 lead, a surge UC Davis was able to answer with a 12-2 run of its own for a 21-13 lead with 4:29 left in the half.
Alama scored twice down low late in the half, while blocking a shot in between those scores as the Matadors climbed to within 23-19. However, Heidi Heintz scored with her left hand on a fast break and then duplicated that with another layup just before the buzzer as the Aggies went up 27-19 at halftime.
Juric was a spark off the bench in the first half for the Aggies, grabbing six rebounds, scoring five points and adding three assists and three steals. Both teams shot below 35 percent but UC Davis was able to take the eight-point lead at the break.
Heintz - who also had five boards and three assists - and Riecks each scored nine points for UC Davis while Samantha Meggison had a game-high four steals. Mintun had nine points in the second half, making 4 of 7 shots overall and 7 of 10 from the free throw line.
UC Davis will conclude the regular season on Saturday with a 3 p.m. Big West game at Cal State Fullerton.