FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Trailing 53-52 with 4:12 remaining in Sunday's Women's NIT Second Round game in Fort Collins, Colo., Marly Anderson sank two free throws to give UC Davis the lead for good as the Aggies' defense stepped up in crunch time to defeat Colorado State, 58-57.
With the win, women's basketball will advance to Thursday's Third Round game at Washington State, tipoff is tentatively set for 7 p.m. WNIT officials will release official start times for all Sweet 16 games by the time all Second Round contests conclude on Tuesday, if not sooner.
UC Davis will enter Pullman, Wash., later this week with a 25-7 record, Colorado State will end its season with a 25-9 record after suffering just its second home loss of the season in 18 games played at Moby Arena.
With Sunday's result, the Aggies' also snapped the Rams' nine-game home win streak.
Rachel Nagel led the Aggies with 16 points while Anderson ended her afternoon with a team-high six rebounds, in addition to scoring seven points. Kourtney Eaton and Pele Gianotti each added 12 points with Dani Nafekh chipping in another six.
Collectively, UC Davis' starters were responsible for all but five of the team's points; Nina Bessolo and Karley Eaton scored all of the Aggies' bench points and recorded a collective four rebounds. Combined with Morgan Bertch's five boards and Sophia Song's one, UC Davis' reserves outrebounded the Rams' bench by a 10-3 margin.
Overall, the Aggies also won the battle of the boards by finishing with 33 compared to Colorado State's 30.
As a team, Colorado State finished with higher field goal (.420 vs. .358) and free throw percentages (.769 vs. .643), but could not crack UC Davis' three-point defense, and had zero answers for the Aggies' scoring prowess from distance. Of their 19 field goals, 11 were scored from behind the arc compared to a CSU squad that could only muster five buckets from three out of its 17 attempts (.294).
Not only was Colorado State unable to handle the Aggies' three-point defense, it could not handle the Aggies' pressure throughout in crunch time.
Trailing 32-26 at halftime, the Aggies outscored CSU 17-10 in the third quarter to hold a slim 43-42 advantage heading into the final quarter. Until Anderson nailed those two shots at the stripe midway through the fourth, the lead changed hands three times.
Back-to-back threes Colorado State's Myanne Hamm and Hannah Tvrdy gave the Rams their biggest lead of the quarter at five points. However, a layup and three from Nagel, and a layup from Gianotti were part of a 7-1 UC Davis scoring run that spanned 3:23, and turned the Aggies 48-43 deficit into a 50-49 lead.