First-place Aggies play host to Titans and Gauchos

Jan. 23, 2018

NEXT UP…
Cal State Fullerton (7-11, 2-3) at UC Davis (15-3, 5-0)
Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018 | 7:00 p.m. | The Pavilion | Davis, Calif.
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM (PBP: Greg Wong… ANALYST: Max Agress)
FOLLOW: Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio | Tickets | UC Davis Notes | Cal State Fullerton Notes

UC Santa Barbara (7-11, 4-2) at UC Davis (15-3, 5-0)
Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 | 2:30 p.m. | The Pavilion | Davis, Calif.
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM (PBP: Greg Wong)
FOLLOW: Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio | Tickets | UC Davis Notes | UCSB Notes

TIP-OFF: Winners of five straight and still unbeaten in the Big West Conference, the first-place UC Davis women’s basketball team (15-3 overall, 5-0 in the Big West) welcomes a pair of league foes to The Pavilion this week. The Aggies open with their third Wednesday game (Jan. 24) of the season, hosting Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m., before a quick rematch with UC Santa Barbara on Saturday (Jan. 27) at 2:30 p.m. in a doubleheader with the UC Davis men’s team (which hosts Cal Poly at 5 p.m.).

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in UC Davis athletics by “liking” us on Facebook (facebook.com/UCDavisAggies) and following us on Twitter (@UCDavisAggies). You can also “like” the women’s basketball program (facebook.com/UCDavisWomensBasketball) as well as follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@ UCDavisWBB). In-game updates on game day are also available on Twitter by following @UCDavisWBB.

MID-MAJOR MOVERS: Following another pair of Big West victories, the Aggies remained at No. 8 for the second consecutive week according to the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll released on Tuesday. It marks the seventh week that UC Davis has stood among the top 10 mid-major programs in the country, reaching as high as No. 5 in back-to-back weeks on Dec. 12 and Dec. 19, while standing among the top 25 of the College Insider poll every week this season, debuting at No. 20 in the preseason and opening a run of five consecutive weeks in the top 10 on Nov. 28.

Tracking the Aggies in the CollegeInsider.com poll
Preseason - No. 20
Nov. 14 - No. 17
Nov. 21 - No. 11
Nov. 28 - No. 8
Dec. 5 - No. 8
Dec. 12 - No. 5
Dec. 19 - No. 5
Dec. 26 - No. 7
Jan. 2 - No. 12
Jan. 9 - No. 10
Jan. 16 - No. 8
Jan. 23 - No. 8

AGGIES PACE BIG WEST IN THE RPI: After reaching as high as No. 42 in the nation in the RPI at one point this season, the Aggies continue to pace their Big West sistren as of Jan. 15, ranking 49 in the RPI following a 5-0 start to conference play, up seven spots from the start of last week and standing as the only Big West team in the top 100 thus far (Cal Poly is second among league members at No. 172). The No. 42 ranking earlier this season was the highest that UC Davis had been ranked in the RPI dating back to Dec. 29, when the Aggies stood 40th.

START “BIG”: In a season that has seen records fall and milestones reached, UC Davis accomplished yet another feat with its two wins on the Central Coast last week, improving to 5-0 in Big West play for the first time in the team’s history -- its best start to ANY conference schedule since the Aggies began 12-0 to open the 1998-99 California Collegiate Athletic Association campaign.

IT’S A START: The first Big West school with double-digit wins, UC Davis heads into the third weekend of conference play with 15 victories this season -- the best start through 18 games in the program’s Division I history and the most since the 1998-99 squad opened 17-1 en route to a 25-4 overall record and an 18-2 mark in CCAA play.

WINNING BIG IN THE BIG WEST: UC Davis has won its last 15 consecutive regular season games against league foes -- and seven straight at home -- dating back to a, 64-62, decision at Long Beach State on Jan. 21, 2016. It is the longest such run in the program’s Big West history and the longest for a conference school (current or former) since UC Riverside won 18 consecutive regular season conference games from Jan. 7, 2016, to Jan. 12, 2017.

BRACKETOLOGY: In his latest bracketology projection of 2018 released on Jan. 22, ESPN’s Charlie Creme has the Aggies carrying the Big West banner into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 12 seed -- up from a No. 14 seed at UCLA at the start of the month and a jump of one spot as a No. 13 seed at Missouri entering last week -- pitted against No. 5 Maryland in the opening round, and joined by No. 4 Texas A&M and No. 13 American University in College Station, Texas. The Terrapins are ranked No. 14, while Texas A&M is ranked No. 15, in the latest Associated Press poll. The Eagles, meanwhile, spent last week ranked No. 15 in the College Insider Mid-Major poll.

LET’S PLAY TWO!: Ernie Banks would be proud. The Aggies have won nine straight doubleheader dates, 15 of their last 16, and are 22-4 in their half of a twinbill during the Division I era -- including an 11-2 mark against Big West opponents. In 26 all-time home doubleheaders, both UC Davis teams have swept their ends of the doubleheader 14 times, including seven of the last nine. The women will be the opening act in three home doubleheaders with the men’s team this season beginning Saturday against UC Santa Barbara, on Feb. 10 against CSUN, and “Senior Day” Feb. 24 against UC Irvine.

#PROTECTTHEPAVILION: A 7-1 start on Bob Hamilton Court has the Aggies humming at home, just one season after tying the program’s Division I record with a 12-2 mark at The Pavilion. Despite its only loss at home coming on Dec. 17 against UCF this season, UC Davis has still been impressive in defending its home court, winning 23 of its last 27 at The Pavilion and posting a combined 56-33 (.629) record at home under Head Coach Jennifer Gross.

SCOUTING CAL STATE FULLERTON: An improved Titan squad enters the week with a 7-11 overall record and a 2-3 mark in Big West play under first-year head coach Jeff Harada, after finishing last year with just four wins overall and 1-15 in league... Fullerton, which is 2-7 away from home, dropped its only game of the week at CSUN last Thursday, falling by the score of 65-41... Junior guard Hannah Thompson leads three Titans averaging double figures at 12.2 ppg while shooting 37 percent overall and just under 40 percent from beyond the arc... Junior center Daeja Smith (11.9 ppg, 9.0 rpg, .491 field goal percentage) and junior guard Jade Vega (11.5 ppg) are also in double figures... Fullerton is averaging 61.6 ppg and shooting .388 from the floor, while opponents average 64.1 ppg and shoot .415 from the field.

SERIES NOTES: UC Davis leads the all-time series with Cal State Fullerton, 16-10... The Aggies have won the last six against the Titans dating back to the 2014-15 season... UC Davis is just 6-7 against Fullerton at home, winning the last three straight at The Pavilion against the Titans after suffering four straight losses at home from 2010-14.

SCOUTING UC SANTA BARBARA: It’s a quick turnaround and rematch against the Gauchos, who enter the week at 7-11 overall and 4-2 in league play after defeating Long Beach State in their last conference outing... UC Santa Barbara, which faces the Aggies in its only game of the week, has won six of its last eight after suffering nine straight losses... The Gauchos are 4-6 on the road, having won three of their last four... Senior forward Drew Edelman leads UCSB offensively, averaging 14.7 ppg and 9.2 rpg while shooting 53 percent from the field... Santa Barbara is averaging 66.1 ppg and shoots .404 from the field, while opponents are averaging 69.9 ppg and shooting .441 from the floor.

SERIES NOTES: The series between UC Davis and UCSB is all knotted up at 18 wins apiece after the Aggies posted a, 68-61, win in Santa Barbara last Thursday (Jan. 18)... UC Davis, which has won nine of the last 12 overall in the series, is 7-6 at home against UCSB, winning three of the last four dating back to 2014, including a, 70-61, decision last year.

GIANOTTI BATTING A THOUSAND: Yes, we mixed up our sports idioms, but it was for a good cause. Senior political science major Pele Gianotti became the 19th player in the history of the program to reach 1,000 career points, doing so on a driving lay-up late in the first half of the Aggies’ win at UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 18. Gianotti finished with 15 points in that game and enters this week’s contests with 1,019 for her career -- just eight points back of Kendall Greene for 18th on the list.

WHATTA 1-2 PUNCH: Thanks to that milestone Gianotti and junior biomedical engineering major Morgan Bertsch became the first teammates to reach 1,000 career points in the same year since Sarah Allen and Colleen Turnbull did so in 2002-03, and only the third combination after Kari Sivesind and Kendall Greene did so in 1995-96.

LET’S MAKE IT THREE: Senior psychology major Rachel Nagel could also join Gianotti and Bertsch in the 1,000 point club if she keeps it up, entering the week with 921 career points and needing to average just 7.2 ppg over the final 11 regular season games to reach the mark.

BOARDING TOWARD A BENCHMARK: Thanks to her milestone week on the coast, Gianotti became only the the fourth player in the program’s Division I history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds in a career, joining Alyson Doherty (2012-16), Paige Mintun (2007-11), and Sydnee Fipps (2011-15).

OH, BY THE WAY: Bertsch was also busy rewriting the record book in her own right, thanks to her 17th and 18th double-digit scoring performances of the season. After a combined 32 points against UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly, the Santa Rosa, Calif., native eased past former teammate Alyson Doherty and into sixth place on the all-time scoring list with 1,315 career points -- just 67 points behind Paige Mintun (2006-11) for a spot in the top five.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A POINT MAKES: UC Davis is a perfect 13-0 this season when scoring 70 points or more, but is just 2-3 when limited to 69-or-fewer. The Aggies’ only victories when held to under 70 points came back on Nov. 12, when they posted a, 69-64, win against Pepperdine, and last week’s, 68-61, win at UC Santa Barbara.

DOUBLE-DIGIT DOMINATION: Of the Aggies’ 15 wins this season, 10 of those have come by 10-or-more points, compared to only one of the team’s three defeats.

FOUR!: The streak continues. “Four” the third time in their last four games the Aggies finished with four players in double figures on Saturday at Cal Poly -- the fifth time this season that UC Davis has finished with at least that many, improving to 5-0 in those contests. The Aggies have won their last 21 consecutive games when they have at least four players finish in double figures dating back to a, 73-70, loss to San Francisco on Dec. 2, 2014.

WIN-UARY: With two wins this week, UC Davis would complete its second unbeaten month of the season at 7-0 (the Aggies were also 7-0 in November) and the fifth unbeaten month in the program’s Division I history.

DOUBLE-DIGIT DAMAGE: After tying the school’s Division I single-season record with 29 games with 10-or-more points last season, Bertsch is back at it again with 18 such performances in the Aggies’ first 18 games -- giving her 68 for her career to solidify her hold on fourth place on the school’s Division I career list, just three back of Paige Mintun. Teammates Pele Gianotti (51) and Rachel Nagel (38) also rank fifth and seventh, respectively, on that same career list, all chasing record-holder Sydnee Fipps, who had 80 double-digit scoring games from 2011-15.

MISS CONSISTENTCY: Bertsch’s 18 consecutive double-digit scoring games to start this season rank as the third-longest such streak in the program’s Division I history -- and the ninth of 10 games or longer in that stretch -- trailing only her record of 23 straight from Feb. 18, 2016 to Jan. 5, 2017, and Sydnee Fipps’ run of 20 straight from Dec. 15, 2013 to March 6, 2014.

I’M COMING FOR YOU, COACH!: With her eight assists last week on the coast, junior psychology major Kourtney Eaton moved into a tie with Laura Manning (1985-89) for fifth on the school’s all-time list in that category with 339, needing just five more to match Jackie Turpin (2002-06) for fourth and 11 more to equal Kristin Coolidge (1996-00) for third. Eaton, who put up 142 assists last season to rank second on the school’s single-season list, is just 109 helpers behind her head coach, Jennifer Gross, who holds the school record with 448 from 1993-97.

EARLY AND OFTEN: Just two days after shooting 17 percent from beyond the arc in a win over UC Santa Barbara, the Aggies shook off the rust and let loose from deep at Cal Poly, taking a season-high 20 three’s in the opening half (the most since attempting 21 at home against Long Beach State on Feb. 19, 2015) and finishing with double-digit makes for the second time in three games (and the fifth overall) with 13 -- the highest total since draining 15 from beyond the arc against Portland State on Nov. 17 at The Pavilion in a, 79-67, victory.

BLOCK YOU VERY MUCH: Already the fifth Aggie to reach the century mark in career blocks at Seattle on Nov. 26, Bertsch’s three blocks last week gave her 119 for her career, pulling her into a tie for third on the all-time list with Kendall Greene (1992-96). Bertsch, who set the school single-season record with 57 swats last year, needs only 28 more to match Alyson Doherty (2012-16) for second and is well-within striking distance of career record holder Paige Mintun (2006-11) and her 150 blocks.

SWAT TEAM: Just one year after setting the school’s single-season record with 129 blocks, the Aggies have picked up right where they left off, ranking second in the Big West at 4.2 bpg, while collecting at least four blocks for the 13th time in 18 games at Cal Poly on Jan. 20. UC Davis is more than halfway to last year’s total with 75 swats thus far this season, paced by Morgan Bertsch’s 26 and 17 more from senior design major Marly Anderson.

QUEENS OF THE QUARTER: A big-time performance by senior Rachel Nagel led to a big lead for the Aggies in San Luis Obispo as the La Palma, Calif., native scored 12 of her team-high 20 points in the third quarter -- the 14th time this season that a UC Davis player has finished with double-digit points in a single quarter this season, and the most by an Aggie in a single quarter this season. Nine of those 14 double-digit quarters have come from teammate Morgan Bertsch alone and eight overall coming in the second half. Since the NCAA returned to four quarters in 2015-16, senior Pele Gianotti holds the program record for points in a quarter with 13 in the fourth against Cal Poly on Feb. 22, 2017.

THREEE-CO-LA!: The Aggies enter the week with four of the league’s top 10 three-point shooters and still stand among the best in the nation from long distance, ranking No. 8 in three-point percentage (.394), No. 25 in three-pointers per game (8.7), and No. 37 in total three-pointers made (156). Senior Dani Nafekh enters the week ranked second in the conference (.434) while sophomore communication major Nina Bessolo (.418) and senior psychology major Rachel Nagel (.418) stand in a virtual tie in the top five. Senior political science major Pele Gianotti rounds out the top 10, shooting .377 from beyond the arc for 10th.

‘TIS THE SEASON OF GIVING: UC Davis has been the queens of making the extra pass this season, entering the week ranked No. 15 in the nation in assists per game (18.2 apg) and No. 28 in overall assists (327), while ranking No. 31 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.22). Meanwhile, Kourtney Eaton enters the week ranked No. 61 in the nation in assists per game (4.9), No. 92 in total assists (84), and No. 43 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.27).

MAKING GOOD ON THOSE PASSES: A good number of those assists this season have been thanks to the reliable hands of Bertsch, who enters the week ranked No. 10 in the NCAA in made baskets with 154, trailing Iowa’s Megan Gustafson, who paces the nation with 188 makes from the floor. The junior also ranks among the best in the nation in points per game (No. 48), while standing No. 34 in field goal percentage (.560).

DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP): After limiting both UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly to just 34 percent shooting from the field last week, the UC Davis defense has held 13 of its 18 opponents to 38 percent shooting or lower, continuing to lead the Big West in scoring defense (62.6 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.358), and three-point percentage defense (.287). Only Washington State, Portland State, UCF, Fordham, and UC Riverside, have shot better than that mark this season as the Aggies enter the week ranked No. 20 in the nation in field goal percentage defense and No. 52 in three-point percentage defense.

MEANWHILE, AT THE OTHER END: UC Davis shot better than 50 percent from the floor in last week’s win at Cal Poly -- the sixth time this season that the Aggies have made better than half their shots from the field in 2017-18. The .558 (29-for-52) against Hawai’i on Jan. 6 is the second-best shooting performance of the season, trailing only the .569 at Saint Mary’s on Dec. 9, as UC Davis enters the week ranked No. 20 in the nation in field goal percentage overall at .466.