Nov. 24, 2003
DAVIS, Calif. - Freshman Ellen Porshneva scored a game-high 22 points and the Aggies shot 64 percent from the field in the second half as UC Davis posted an 87-70 season-opening win over Western New Mexico Monday evening in front of 513 at Recreation Hall.
The win gives UC Davis its third season-opening win in the last four years while Western New Mexico falls to 0-3 on the young season.
UC Davis held a 13-point lead at halftime but saw it cut to five midway through the second half following an Irene Falk layup. The two teams would exchange baskets over the next five minutes, with the Aggies slowly building the advantage back to 13 with 5:05 left. Porshneva and Jennifer Decuir did much of their damage during the run as they combined for 20 of the Aggies next 30 points to keep the game out of reach. Forward Kimberly Smith also poured in seven straight points during the stretch as UC Davis built its largest lead of the game late in the second half.
After trailing by 13, the Mustangs made one final charge, cutting the lead to eight following baskets by Bernice Castro and Ivana Stojkovic sandwiched around an Aggie turnover. But they would get no closer as the Aggies closed out the game on an 11-2 over the final 2:26.
The game began with both teams showing the signs of an early-season contest. It took almost three minutes before freshman Jessica Campbell's jumper gave the Aggies a lead they would not surrender. Falk kept the game close as she scored eight of her 14 points in the first half. The Mustangs needed scoring help as starting center Stojkovic, who entered the contest averaging over 20 points a game, was held to just four in the first half. It was a Stojkovic jumper at the 7:05 mark that cut the Aggie lead to five at 18-13, but another UC Davis run over the next five minutes pushed the lead to 16 as the Aggies took advantage of 15 first-half turnovers by Western.
For the game Porshneva's 22 in her Aggie debut led four players in double figures, followed by Smith's 16, Kim Omer's 15 and Decuir's 12. Porshneva and Campbell both grabbed eight boards while Decuir tied her career-high with nine assists. UC Davis finished the night shooting 50 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and holding a 39-36 edge on the boards.
UC Davis took advantage of 24 Mustang turnovers, converting those into 26 Aggie points, compared to just 13 points off 18 Aggie turnovers for Western New Mexico.
Natalie Lara led the Mustangs with 15 points on 5-9 shooting from long range. Stojkovic and Falk added 14, along with Stojkovic's game-high 11 rebounds, while Nichole Ruegsegger finished with 10 points. "We're not as sharp as I would have liked and we didn't read everything we could half and part of that might be youth, but in the first half we did a nice job defensively on Stojkovic," said Aggie head coach Sandy Simpson. "They made some great charges at us throughout the game and never quit even when they got way down. And each time we responded with a big play.
"Everyone at some point in the game stepped up and made a big play, whether it was on offense or defense, and that was nice to see," Simpson continued.
UC Davis will next be in action on Wednesday when it hosts Dominican University at Recreation Hall. Gametime is set for 7 p.m.
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