March 12, 2013
IRVINE, Calif. - Sydnee Fipps scored a team-high 13 points and UC Davis cut an 18-point second-half deficit to just eight, but Cal State Northridge held off the comeback en route to a 61-40 win in the first round of the Big West Women's Basketball Tournament at UC Irvine on Tuesday night.
The seventh-seeded Aggies ended their season with a 12-18 overall record while the fifth-seeded Matadors improved to 16-15. Northridge will face fifth-seeded UC Santa Barbara in the quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
UC Davis struggled shooting the ball on Tuesday night, making just 28.6 percent from the floor in the first half and only 18.8 percent in the second. It was also just 17.2 percent (5 of 29) from three-point. The Matadors shot 55.2 percent in the first half and 51.1 percent for the game.
Violet Alama and Ashley Guay led five Northridge players in double figures with 14 points each. Guard Haley White added 12 while Camille Mahlknecht contributed 11. Fipps was the only double-digit scorer for the Aggies, who also got seven points from freshman Alyson Doherty.
"I think tonight we struggled offensively putting the ball in the basket," Fipps said. "Northridge, I felt we played pretty similar in both (previous) games. I think our first game we forced them into a lot more turnovers. The second time it was a pretty low-scoring game. This time I don't think we could put the ball in the basket as well as we typically do."
UC Davis trailed 27-10 in the first half after a 13-0 run by the Matadors and went down 33-21 at halftime. Trailing 46-28 with 7 minutes, 33 seconds left in the second half, the Aggies scored 10 straight points over the next two minutes to climb within 46-38. However, Northridge responded with 10 straight of its own to re-establish control before pulling away for the win.
"I thought Northridge came out with a lot of energy and really great urgency (and) brought good pressure," said Aggie coach Jennifer Gross. "I give them a lot of credit for that."
The teams split their two regular-season matchups with each defending their own floor. The rubber match started evenly with the Matadors jumping to an 8-2 advantage only to have Fipps hit back-to-back three-pointers to tie the game four minutes in.
UC Davis trailed later, 14-10, before the big run by the Matadors put them up by 17 at 27-10. The Aggies missed all four of their shots during the surge and had two turnovers. Northridge led 31-14 with 5:19 left in the half before UC Davis scored seven of the half's final nine points to cut the deficit to 33-21 at intermission. Blair Shinoda, one of two seniors along with Cortney French playing their final games, hit a runner at the buzzer to highlight the rally.
The deficit stayed in double-digits through much of the second half, reaching 46-28 with 7:33 left. But Doherty scored inside, Fipps nailed a three-pointer and Doherty converted a three-point play underneath to get within 46-36 with six minutes left. Dohert added two more free throws to slice it to eight points but Northridge rattled off 10 straight to regain control.
Fipps had eight rebounds for UC Davis while Marfone added seven. Shinoda had three assists.
"We obviously feel bad about the loss but we're dealing with it together," Gross said. "I feel bad for our two seniors, in particular Blair Shinoda and Cortney French who have meant so much to our program, have been with us through a championship run where we made the NCAA Tournament, (and then) dealing with the loss of five senior starters from last year and really being tremendous leaders for this year's group.
"The things that they've achieved have been amazing and have really us helped take our program to new heights and I want to thank them for their efforts
The quarterfinal round will be played at UC Irvine on Wednesday with the winners advancing to Friday's semifinals at Honda Center. The championship game is Saturday afternoon.