Dec. 6, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - Cortney French scored 17 points to lead three Aggies in double figures and the UC Davis defense collected 17 steals, but fell to Saint Mary's 75-56 in a women's basketball nonconference game on Thursday at The Pavilion in Davis.
UC Davis drops to 2-4 overall while Saint Mary's moves to 6-2.
French paced the Aggie offense with her third double-digit scoring effort of the year and went 5-of-6 from the free throw line while also knocking down two treys.
Sydnee Fipps scored 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting, marking the sixth consecutive double-digit scoring effort for the Aggie sophomore. She also grabbed a team-high five rebounds and had a career-high three blocks.
Blair Shinoda rounded out UC Davis' leading scorers with 10 points and three steals while Molly Greubel had three steals and four rebounds in the loss.
UC Davis, which currently ranks fifth nationally in steals per game, posted 17 steals and forced 28 Gael turnovers. Both were nearly season-high marks for the Aggies.
"In the first half in particular we made huge strides with our defensive effort and our energy and physicality were great," said head coach Jennifer Gross. "We play together and we're in it together. If we lose, we're going to dig in together and figure out ways that we can win as a group."
The turnovers didn't translate to points for the Aggies, however, as UC Davis shot 28 percent from the field and just 18 percent from three-point range.
Saint Mary's built up a 10-point lead midway through the first half, going up 15-5 on a jumper from Danielle Mauldin who finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds. French stopped the Gaels' run with a jumper at the 10:23 mark, then a few free throws from Sydnee Fipps cut the Gaels' lead to seven with 6:51 to play in the half.
With just under two minutes left in the half, Shinoda found Aniya Baker
under the basket for an easy layup and Saint Mary's held just a slim 24-18 advantage before taking a 25-18 lead into halftime after Lauren Nicholson made a free throw to close out the first period.
Out of halftime, French and Shinoda sparked the Aggie offense with back-to-back treys, then French hit two free throws to put UC Davis within three at 31-28 with 17:45 to go.
Saint Mary's responded, however, using a 16-1 run to build up a 47-29 lead with 11:28 to play. Shinoda stopped the run with another trey, her second of the night, but the Gaels opened up a 20-point lead just two minutes later when Nicholson knocked down a three of her own.
The teams traded shots down the stretch, but UC Davis' comeback bid would come up short. Greubel hit a pair of free throws, then Fipps followed with a wide open three from the right wing. French and Greubel each hit a pair of three pointers late in the game while Celia Marfone and Baker added layups to close the game out for the Aggies.
UC Davis will take a break from playing for final exams, then finishes a three-game homestand on Sunday, Dec. 16 against Santa Clara.