Dec. 18, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Sydnee Fipps scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the second half while Kelsey Harris and Heidi Johnson combined for seven three-pointers as the UC Davis women's basketball team beat host Santa Clara, 75-70, in a non-conference basketball game on Wednesday night at the Leavey Center.
"It was a gritty win," Head Coach Jennifer Gross said. "We knew we were going to have to grind this one out. Even before the game started we knew this was going to be an evenly-matched contest. I was really proud of our effort. We battled from start-to-finish."
The Aggies snapped a three-game losing streak with the road win, improving to 3-7 and claiming their first true road victory this season. Johnson, who had a trio of three-pointers, finished with 15 points -- 13 of those in the second half -- to go with five rebounds and three assists, while Harris canned four and scored 14 points, all of them in the first half.
Molly Greubel was the fourth UC Davis player in double figures, pitching in with 11 points, including 7-of-8 from line in the final 27 seconds to ice the game, while Brianna Salvatore finished with a game- and career-high nine rebounds.
"Heidi really stepped up to the challenge," Gross said. "She not only got it done defensively, but also on the boards as well, and hit just some huge shots for us, offensively. Going with a smaller lineup, we're able to move Heidi out to the perimeter and create some match-up problems out there where she can knock down the three, and she did that tonight."
Guard Nici Gilday tallied a team-high 19 points for Santa Clara which dropped to 3-7. UC Davis beat the Broncos for the fifth time in their last six meetings while evening the all-time series at 9-9 dating back to the 1971-72 season.
Fipps hit 7-of-13 from the floor and was nearly perfect from the line, going 8 for 9, while also contributing four rebounds and a career-high four assists. Wednesday marked her fourth, 20-point performance of the year, her second-straight, and 11th of her career. The Aggies shot 47 percent the floor, including 43 percent (9 of 21) from beyond the arc for the game, and hit just under 55 percent from the field in the second half.
The game was close throughout. Jo Paine hit a three-pointer early in the second half to give Santa Clara a, 35-34, lead but Johnson answered with one of her own -- starting a string of eight-straight points by the sophomore -- returning the lead to UC Davis which would not trail the rest of the way. The teams were tied 56-56 with 6:28 remaining but Johnson scored the next five points as the Aggies grabbed the lead for good.
UC Davis led by as many as seven points in the final 30 seconds, but the Broncos clawed back to within a possession following a pair of free throws by Gilday in the final seconds but Gruebel iced the game with two more from the line with three ticks to go.
"We felt like, a little bit, in the first half, we were taking whatever shot we could get," Gross said. "In the second half we tried to direct the shots a little bit more toward the players' strengths, trying to get Sydnee going driving, trying to get Heidi out on the perimeter a little bit more. In the end, the players have to go out and make plays and we definitely did that."
The Aggies trailed by six points early in the game but used a 12-5 run later in the half to forge a 32-25 lead. They led 34-32 at halftime.
For the first time in almost a month (and only the third time this season), the Aggies will play in front of the hometown crowd, returning home on Saturday (Dec. 21) to take on Houston Baptist in a doubleheader with the men's squad (vs. Air Force) beginning at 12 p.m. at The Pavilion.
NOTES: Wednesday marked only the fourth time in 10 games this season that the Aggies have led at the half (Pacific, San Jose State, Akron), improving to 3-1 in those contests... Johnson finished in double figures for the second time this season (17 at Pacific on Nov. 11), setting a career high with three, three-pointers, and 29 minutes played, while matching her career high's in assists (3) and field goals made (6)... Wednesday was Greubel's third-double-digit performance of the year... UC Davis shot .471 from the floor Wednesday night, just shy of its season high of .472 set against San Jose State on Nov. 26... Fipps led the team in scoring for the seventh time in 10 games this season... Salvatore became the seventh different player to lead the Aggies in rebounding this season... Fipps needs just 166 more points to become the 16th Aggie to reach 1,000 career points... the win snapped a five-game losing streak against the West Coast Conference dating back to a 70-59 win over Santa Clara last season... UC Davis is 2-0 when it has four-or-more players in double figures this season... the Aggies, who entered the night ranked No. 17 in the NCAA in three-pointers made per game (8.4 pg), finished with nine more makes from beyond the arc on Wednesday -- the fifth time in 10 games they have finished with at least nine makes in a game.