DAVIS, Calif. -- UC Davis junior forward Morgan Bertsch finished with a career-high 29 points to lead all five starters in double figure, and the host Aggies withstood a furious third-quarter rally by visiting Sacramento State en route to a, 79-72, win over the Hornets on Thursday night at The Pavilion.
Having already broken the mark for the best-ever start in the program's Division I history, UC Davis moved to 7-0 on the year -- the program's best season-opening mark since 1994. The victory also extended the Aggies' winning streak at The Pavilion dating back to last season, improving to 4-0 on Bob Hamilton Court in 2017-18 and clinching their 10th consecutive win on their home floor.
"It's a rivalry game so we were very aware that the emotions and energy would be high, and we were prepared for an all-out effort from Sacramento State," Head Coach Jennifer Gross said. "It might not have been the prettiest basketball game, but I thought both teams played extremely hard and fought until the very end."
Hannah Friend scored 21 of her team-high 25 points in the second half to lead Sacramento State, which fell to 1-6 overall on the year with the loss. Kyhonta Doughty also finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Bertsch finished 12-of-17 from the field en route to her career-best total, eclipsing her previous best of 27 points accomplished three times -- the last coming earlier this year against Pepperdine on Nov. 12. It was the sixth consecutive 20-point performance by the biomedical engineering major from Santa Rosa, Calif., who moved her past Brenda Wyneken (1981-84) and into 13th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,128 points.
She added seven rebounds in 27 minutes, and got help from her teammates in the starting lineup, all of whom ended the night in double figures. Senior political science major Pele Gianotti finished with 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists, senior psychology major Rachel Nagel added 12 points, seven rebounds, and three assists, while junior psychology major Kourtney Eaton and senior managerial economics major Dani Nafekh poured in 10 points apiece -- the former adding seven assists.
Both Nafekh and Kourtney Eaton have 299 assists for their career, tying Kari Sivesind (1992-96) for eighth on the all-time list.
In a game which the Aggies led by as many as 15 points midway through the third quarter, UC Davis threatened to run away and hide after a 16-5 burst turned a four-point, 36-32, advantage into a 52-37 lead. The Hornets had other ideas, however, scoring 15 of the final 17 points in the period, and used a pair of free throws by Doughty to tie the game at 54-all with just 22 seconds gone in the fourth.
Three-pointers by Gianotti and Nagel around a Doughty lay-up gave the Aggies a bit of breathing room, but Friend scored inside and a pair of free throws by Tiara Scott brought the Hornets level once again at 60-60 with 6:47 to play in regulation.
That's when UC Davis found its final kick, as Nafekh drained a three-pointer and Bertsch added an "and one" to spark an 8-1 run for a seven-point advantage, and Kourtney Eaton added another three-pointer before a Bertsch basket inside for a 10-point advantage and the Aggies held off their Causeway rivals from there.
UC Davis finished the night shooting 48 percent from the floor thanks to 21 assists on 28 made baskets, while the Aggies' defense held the Hornets to just 38 percent from the field. Both teams finished with 39 rebounds and 12 turnovers on the night.
"I think the way we share the ball is starting to define our team," Gross said. "It's a selfless group and tonight showed that. We talked before the game about passing up a 'good' shot for a 'great' shot and, we know, when we get those 'great' shots we can make those shots. I think it's something that our team has embraced, has fun with, and it makes us tough to stop when everyone's a threat out there."
A brief two-game home stand comes to an end on Wednesday (Dec. 6) at 5 p.m., as UC Davis hosts San Francisco in the first game of a doubleheader with the men's team at The Pavilion.
UC DAVIS 79, SACRAMENTO STATE 72
SACRAMENTO STATE (1-6 Overall)
FRIEND, Hannah 8-21 3-6 25; DOUGHTY, Kyhonta 6-11 4-4 16; JOHNSON, Maranne 5-16 0-0 12; DEGRAFFENREID, Dana 4-8 0-0 9; SCOTT, Tiara 1-10 2-2 5; ROHN, Raegen 1-2 0-0 3; NICHOLAS, Kennedy 1-1 0-0 2; HARRIS, Quayonna 0-0 0-0 0; WEIBEL, Anna 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-69 9-12 72.
UC DAVIS (7-0 Overall)
Bertsch, Morgan 12-17 5-5 29; Gianotti, Pele 6-9 0-0 15; Nagel, Rachel 2-9 6-6 12; Nafekh, Dani 4-9 0-0 10; Eaton, Kourtney 3-6 2-2 10; Anderson, Marly 1-4 0-0 2; Hall, Cierra 0-1 1-4 1; Song, Sophia 0-0 0-0 0; Bessolo, Nina 0-3 0-0 0; Eaton, Karley 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-59 14-17 79.
Sacramento State.............. 16 11 25 20 - 72
UC Davis...................... 19 12 23 25 - 79
3-point goals--Sacramento State 11-26 (FRIEND, Hannah 6-10; JOHNSON, Maranne 2-7; DEGRAFFENREID, Dana 1-1; ROHN, Raegen 1-2; SCOTT, Tiara 1-6), UC Davis 9-22 (Gianotti, Pele 3-4; Eaton, Kourtney 2-4; Nagel, Rachel 2-5; Nafekh, Dani 2-6; Bessolo, Nina 0-2; Eaton, Karley 0-1). Fouled out--Sacramento State-None, UC Davis-None. Rebounds--Sacramento State 39 (DOUGHTY, Kyhonta 10), UC Davis 39 (Bertsch, Morgan 7; Nagel, Rachel 7). Assists--Sacramento State 16 (SCOTT, Tiara 7), UC Davis 21 (Eaton, Kourtney 7). Total fouls--Sacramento State 19, UC Davis 15. Technical fouls--Sacramento State-None, UC Davis-None. A-408
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.
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