DAVIS, Calif. -- UC Davis tied a school single-game record with 17 makes from three-point range and finished with four players in double figures on Friday night, lifting the Aggies to a, 91-76, season-opening victory over visiting Washington State in a rematch of last year's WNIT "Sweet 16" contest on Friday night at The Pavilion.
UC Davis (1-0), ranked No. 20 in the nation according to the preseason College Insider Mid-Major poll, shot 48 percent overall and hit 17-of-32 (.531) from long distance en route to the win, posting an upset of the Cougars (0-1), who were receiving votes to start the year in the preseason Associated Press rankings.
"I'm just proud of our team's effort," Head Coach Jennifer Gross said. "I think we were very focused with our preparation and I told the team that they've earned the right to be confident. We've put in a lot of work in the off-season, we're deeper, we're more talented, and I think that our focus was just coming out, being loose, and believing in ourselves, and we did a great job with that."
The 17 makes from beyond the arc matched the record set against Cal Poly on Jan. 11, 2007, and tied against Long Beach State on Feb. 19, 2015. The Aggies picked up right where they left off last season, when they set a school single-season record with 252 three-pointers made.
"We say it all the time that confidence is contagious," Gross said. "One person hits, then the next person hits, and when we're sharing the ball like we were tonight, it's just fun. It obviously speaks to the work our team has put in over the last few months, but it's a mentality. I feel like we're good shooters and if we come out, believe in ourselves, and share the ball, we can put the ball in the basket like we did today."
Junior biomedical engineering major Morgan Bertsch, who was held to just six points in last year's postseason clash in Pullman, Wash., finished with a game-high 19 points in 22 minutes to lead a balanced effort in the scoring column. Senior psychoogy major Rachel Nagel added 16 points, classmate Pele Gianotti, a political science major, finished with 15 points and six rebounds, while senior managerial economics Dani Nafekh added 10 more in the win.
"We've been hitting shots all year in practice and we were prepared for Washington State's pressure, ready to make one more pass, and just be a totally selfless team," Gianotti said. "I think the coaching staff prepared us really well and we were ready to attack them. We were aggressive, but calm at the same time."
Borislava Hristova, shared game-high honors with 19 points to lead Washington State, while Louise Brown grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds in the defeat. The Cougars shot just under 41 percent from the floor for the game, taking nine more shot attempts than the Aggies, and hitting just 4-of-14 from three-point range.
UC Davis missed its first four shots before catching fire as Nagel drained a three-pointer to get the Aggies on the board, and was followed by a trey from Gianotti and another from Nagel to take their first lead of the game. A jumper by Hristova regained the lead briefly for Washington State, but another three-pointer off the hand of Nafekh sparked a 9-0 run to put UC Davis up eight and the Aggies never trailed again.
Another three-pointer -- this one by psychology major Kourtney Eaton at the 7:33 mark of the second quarter -- sparked another lengthy run for UC Davis, as the Aggies exploded for 12 consecutive points to go ahead by 19, and they carried an 18-point, 52-34, advantage into the locker room at the break.
Sophomore communication major Nina Bessolo drained a three-pointer -- one of her three on the night -- at the 2:41 mark of the third quarter to give UC Davis its largest lead of the game, 67-43, and Kourtney Eaton sank the record-tying trey with 5:48 remaining in the contest as the Aggies cruised from there.
Washington State closed the game on a 7-0 run to climb back to within 15 points, but UC Davis had the game well in hand, clamping down on defense and allowing just one Cougar field goal over the final four minutes.
Kourtney Eaton finished with six assists, as the Aggies posted 25 assists on 30 makes for the game and had six players finish with at least three assists on the night.
UC Davis continues its three-game season-opening homestand on Sunday (Nov. 12) at 2 p.m., welcoming Pepperdine to The Pavilion. The Waves opened their season with an, 83-71, win over Long Beach State on Friday.
UC DAVIS 91, WASHINGTON STATE 76
WASHINGTON STATE (0-1)
Hristova,Borislava 8-17 2-4 19; Swedlund,Alexys 5-11 1-1 12; Kostourkova,Maria 5-7 0-2 10; Pavlopoulou,Pinelopi 4-10 0-0 9; McClure,Nike 1-2 5-6 7; Washington,Kayla 2-5 3-4 7; Molina,Chanelle 2-6 1-2 6; Hailey,Caila 2-10 0-0 4; Brown,Louise 0-3 2-2 2; Subasic,Jovana 0-0 0-0 0; Muzet,Johanna 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-71 14-21 76.
UC DAVIS (1-0)
Bertsch, Morgan 7-15 5-6 19; Nagel, Rachel 6-7 0-0 16; Gianotti, Pele 5-11 2-2 15; Nafekh, Dani 3-5 1-2 10; Bessolo, Nina 3-6 0-0 9; Eaton, Kourtney 2-6 2-2 8; Hall, Cierra 1-3 4-5 6; Eaton, Karley 2-5 0-0 6; Song, Sophia 1-1 0-0 2; Anderson, Marly 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 30-62 14-17 91.
Washington State.............. 17 17 16 26 - 76
UC Davis...................... 24 28 20 19 - 91
3-point goals--Washington State 4-14 (Swedlund,Alexys 1-4; Molina,Chanelle 1-3; Hristova,Borislava 1-3; Pavlopoulou,Pinelopi 1-2; Hailey,Caila 0-2), UC Davis 17-32 (Nagel, Rachel 4-4; Bessolo, Nina 3-5; Nafekh, Dani 3-4; Gianotti, Pele 3-8; Eaton, Karley 2-5; Eaton, Kourtney 2-5; Anderson, Marly 0-1). Fouled out--Washington State-None, UC Davis-None. Rebounds--Washington State 43 (Brown,Louise 11), UC Davis 38 (Gianotti, Pele 6; Hall, Cierra 6). Assists--Washington State 11 (Brown,Louise 4), UC Davis 25 (Eaton, Kourtney 6). Total fouls--Washington State 15, UC Davis 15. Technical fouls--Washington State-None, UC Davis-None. A-817
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.
PACK THE PAVILION!
Season and single-game tickets for UC Davis men's and women's basketball are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at UCDavisAggies.com.
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(Friday: 12 p.m.; ESPN3)