BRONX, N.Y. -- Senior Rachel Nagel finished with a team-high 17 points to lead three Aggies in double figures and UC Davis finished off Yale with a late 14-4 run, opening the Fordham Holiday Classic with a, 71-61, victory over the Bulldogs on Thursday afternoon at historic Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx, N.Y.
The Aggies rebounded from back-to-back defeats to improve to 10-2 overall, setting up a date with the host Rams in the tournament championship game on Friday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. PT. It is the fastest to 10 victories in a season for UC Davis since the 2010-11 squad also opened with 10 wins in its first 12 games.
"Yale's a very good team, they're tough, they play hard, and you can see why they've had so much success this season," Head Coach Jennifer Gross said. "We were going to have to win this, they were not going to hand it to us, so we had to come up with big plays and make some big stops throughout the game and we were fortunate to do that."
Yale, led by 18 points from Tamara Simpson and a 13-point, 15-rebound double-double from Jen Berkowitz, fell to 7-5 with the loss, and will face Hartford in the consolation game at 10 a.m. PT
Nagel finished 7-of-11 from the field and added five rebounds, four assists, and three steals, to pace the Aggies, who shot 64 percent in the opening quarter and finished hitting 48 percent overall for the game.
Freshman Cierra Hall added a career high with 15 points and tied her career best with nine rebounds off the bench, while junior Morgan Bertsch finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, and two blocked shots, reaching double figures for the 12th consecutive contest. Junior Kourtney Eaton finished with a game-high six assists to go with six points.
Leading by five at the break, the Aggies pushed their advantage to double figures for the first time thanks to a three-pointer by Kourtney Eaton and a basket by Pele Gianotti to go up 43-33 just three minutes into the third. A three-point play by Simpson later in the quarter whittled the deficit down to just six points, and the Bulldogs were within seven in the closing minutes of the period before UC Davis pulled away.
A basket inside by Nagel marked the final points of the third and a score inside by Bertsch, followed by another three from Kourtney Eaton, gave the Aggies their largest lead of the game, 57-43, just over a minute into the fourth.
Back-to-back baskets inside by Yale chipped the lead back down to 10, but a three-pointer from Dani Nafekh keyed the decisive run that saw UC Davis score 10 of the next 12 points for a, 67-49, advantage that the Aggies would not relinquish despite a Bulldog final kick that saw them close on a 12-4 run -- including nine straight points that made it a nine-point game with a minute to play.
UC Davis outscored Yale, 38-28, in the paint and held a 25-6 advantage in bench scoring, while out-rebounding the Bulldogs, 39-37.
UC DAVIS 71, YALE 61
UC DAVIS (10-2)
Nagel, Rachel 7-11 3-3 17; Hall, Cierra 5-8 4-7 15; Bertsch, Morgan 5-8 0-0 10; Gianotti, Pele 3-8 0-0 7; Eaton, Kourtney 2-4 0-0 6; Bessolo, Nina 3-6 0-0 6; Nafekh, Dani 2-5 0-0 6; Eaton, Karley 0-0 2-2 2; Anderson, Marly 0-6 2-2 2; Song, Sophia 0-0 0-0 0; Hsu, Kaitlyn 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-56 11-14 71.
Simpson, Tamara 7-16 1-1 18; Barahman, Roxy 6-21 2-2 17; Berkowitz, Jen 5-9 3-3 13; Andrews, Ellen M. 3-11 1-2 7; Santucci, Mary Ann 2-7 0-0 6; Gorman, Megan 0-1 0-0 0; Davies, Bronwyn 0-0 0-0 0; Cade, Alex 0-0 0-0 0; Maund, Alexandra 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-67 7-8 61.
UC Davis...................... 25 13 14 19 - 71
Yale.......................... 18 15 10 18 - 61
3-point goals--UC Davis 6-17 (Eaton, Kourtney 2-3; Nafekh, Dani 2-4; Gianotti, Pele 1-3; Hall, Cierra 1-2; Anderson, Marly 0-1; Bessolo, Nina 0-3; Nagel, Rachel 0-1), Yale 8-25 (Barahman, Roxy 3-10; Simpson, Tamara 3-6; Santucci, Mary Ann 2-5; Andrews, Ellen M. 0-2; Berkowitz, Jen 0-2). Fouled out--UC Davis-None, Yale-None. Rebounds--UC Davis 39 (Hall, Cierra 9), Yale 37 (Berkowitz, Jen 15). Assists--UC Davis 18 (Eaton, Kourtney 6), Yale 13 (Simpson, Tamara 4; Barahman, Roxy 4). Total fouls--UC Davis 14, Yale 15. Technical fouls--UC Davis-None, Yale-None. A-832
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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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