Dec. 28, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. -
Sydnee Fipps posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds and UC Davis rallied from a 14-point deficit to within two points, but visiting Sacramento State was able to hold on for an 84-78 nonconference women's basketball win at The Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.
The loss snapped the Aggies' modest two-game winning streak, dropping UC Davis to 4-8 overall and improving Sacramento State to 8-1. Kelsey Harris added a career-high 19 points for the Aggies while Heidi Johnson collected a career-best 10 rebounds.
Takara Burse came off the bench to score 22 points for the Hornets who had four players in double figures. Guard Fantasia Hilliard tallied 16 points, Shanti Smith scored 12 and Gigi Hascheff added 11.
Sacramento State entered the game averaging 93.1 ppg. and pushed the tempo throughout. It trailed the Aggies 9-6 in the early minutes before taking the lead for good on Andrea Chenier's three-pointer that made it 12-9. The lead grew to as much as 44-30 late in the first half before the Hornets went into the break with a 44-34 lead.
UC Davis trailed 57-46 with 13:33 left in the second half before scoring eight of the next nine points to close within 58-54 on Fipps' free throw at the midway point. It stayed within striking distance, moving to within 67-65 with 7:11 to go after Harris made a layup.
Sacramento State wouldn't allow the Aggies to take the lead, however, and re-opened the advantage to 78-69 with 3:07 on the clock after Alle Moreno's steal and layup. Brianna Salvatore's corner three-pointer and a pair of free throws from both Harris and Fipps again made it a two-point game at 78-76 with 1:12 left.
Harris was close on a pair of three-point attempts at 79-76 that would've tied the game inside the last 42 seconds but Sacramento State was able to hold on down the stretch.
Aggie head coach Jennifer Gross was pleased with her team's efforts after halftime, particularly in slowing down the Hornets' high-octane offense.
"We have to find a way to learn from our mistakes," said Aggie head coach Jennifer Gross. "Sacramento State is a heck of a basketball team. They force you to play a certain way and they find a way to turn you over. We knew going into the game that we were going to have to limit our turnovers and handle the defensive rebounds. We struggled to execute with the turnovers. We just turned it over too much."
Fipps had her second career double-double against Sacramento State and the second of her career overall. She had 19 points and 12 boards in last year's tough 66-65 overtime loss to the Hornets. Fipps was 8 for 13 from the floor on Saturday and grabbed 13 of her career-high 14 rebounds on the defensive side.
"Sydnee is tough to stop, so we wanted to get her the ball in places where she could be close to the basket and attack for 2-on-1's," said Gross. "When we did that, I thought we executed well. Sydnee finished at a very high percentage and then, when she got to the line, she knocked her free throws down."
Harris' scoring total eclipsed the 17 points she had against San Jose State in November while Johnson's 10 boards is one better than her previous best of nine she picked up in last week's win over Houston Baptist.
"Kelsey is a tremendous player, she's a lights-out shooter, and we were trying to find her whenever we could throughout the game," Gross said.
UC Davis had a season-high 30 turnovers on Saturday and just three steals. The Aggies shot the ball well from the field, making 51.9 percent (28 of 54) and were 77.3 percent (17 of 22) from the line.
"We haven't been in that many close games so, for our young team, we're learning how to do things right and, I think, today we just made a couple too many mistakes late, turning the ball over, giving up some open shots to some people that hit some three's," Gross said. "We're just gonna learn from it. We're going to get better, continue to gain confidence, and we're going to improve."
The Aggies will finish the pre-conference portion of their season on Thursday when they host Simpson at 4:45 p.m.
Sacramento State's win was worth 10 points in the 2013-14 Causeway Cup presented by ScholarShare. UC Davis leads the race 37.5 points to 22.5 points.