Rolling Aggies take unbeaten show on the road

Jan. 30, 2018

NEXT UP…
UC Davis (17-3, 7-0) at Long Beach State (2-18, 0-6)
Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 | 7:00 p.m. | The Walter Pyramid | Long Beach, Calif.
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM (PBP: Greg Wong… ANALYST: Max Agress)
FOLLOW: Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio | Tickets | UC Davis Notes | Long Beach State Notes

UC Davis (17-3, 7-0) at CSUN (11-10, 4-3)
Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 | 2:00 p.m. | The Matadome | Northridge, Calif.
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM (PBP: Greg Wong… ANALYST: Max Agress)
FOLLOW: Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio | Tickets | UC Davis Notes | CSUN Notes

TIP-OFF: Winners of seven straight, and still unbeaten in the Big West Conference, the UC Davis women’s basketball team wraps up the first leg of league play this week, heading to Southern California to take on Long Beach State on Thursday (Feb. 1) and CSUN on Saturday (Feb. 3). Tip-off from the Walter Pyramid -- the site of the Aggies' last Big West defeat -- is scheduled for 7 p.m., while the Aggies and Matadors will duel beginning at 2 p.m. from The Matadome in Northridge, Calif.

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 moved up one spot to No. 7 in this week’s College Insider Mid-Major poll -- the eighth time in 13 weeks that UC Davis has been listed among the top 10 programs in the country. The Aggies reached 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
Jan. 30 - No. 7

1,000 POINT CLUB WATCH
1. Carol Rische (1979-83) - 1,711 points
2. Sydnee Fipps (2011-15) - 1,636
3. Staci Stevens (1985-88) - 1,417
4. Jessica Campbell (2003-06, 2007-08) - 1,413
5. Paige Mintun (2006-11) - 1,382
6. Morgan Bertsch (2015-pres.) - 1,354

17. Kasey Riecks (2008-12) - 1,071
18. Pele Gianotti (2014-pres.) - 1,054
19. Kendall Greene (1992-96) - 1,027
-- Rachel Nagel (2014-pres.) - 947
-- Dani Nafekh (2014-pres.) - 800

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. 29, ranking 60th in the RPI following a 7-0 start to conference play, down 11 spots from the start of last week despite a seven-game winning streak, and standing as the only Big West team in the top 100 thus far (Cal Poly is second among league members at No. 170). 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 at home last week, improving to 7-0 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 -- and one of the final dozen undefeated teams in the nation at one point this season -- UC Davis heads into the weekend with 17 victories this season -- the best start through 20 games in the program’s Division I history and the most since the 1998-99 squad opened 18-2 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 17 consecutive regular season games against league foes -- and eight straight on the road -- 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, tied for the eighth-longest in league 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. 29, ESPN’s Charlie Creme has the Aggies carrying the Big West banner into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 13 seed -- down one spot from last week, and taking on No. 4-seeded Texas A&M in College Station, along with No. 5 Michigan and No. 12 Princeton.

#PROTECTTHEPAVILION: A 9-1 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 24 of its last 28 at The Pavilion and posting a combined 58-33 (.637) record at home under Head Coach Jennifer Gross.

SCOUTING LONG BEACH STATE: The 49ers enter the week with a 2-18 overall record and an 0-6 mark in Big West play following a, 75-64, loss to Cal Poly on Jan. 25... Long Beach State has lost its last 11 consecutive games dating back to a win at Grand Canyon on Dec. 7, and has yet to win at home (0-8) this year... Freshman Shanaijah Davison leads the team in scoring at 11.9 ppg, while freshman Emma Merriweather shares the team lead in rebounding (5.7 rpg) and is shooting a team-best .496 from the floor... Long Beach State is averaging 60.3 ppg and shooting .379 overall, while opponents average 72.1 ppg and shoot .426 from the field.

SERIES NOTES: Long Beach State leads the all-time series with UC Davis, 18-13, but the Aggies hold a slim, 11-10, edge during the program’s Division I history... Nine of UC Davis’ 13 wins in the series have been at home as the Aggies are just 3-10 in Long Beach, losing their last seven trips... UC Davis’ last win against the 49ers on their home floor came on Feb. 25, 2010, with a 70-46 victory.

SCOUTING CSUN: The Matadors enter the week with an 11-10 overall record and a 4-3 mark in the Big West, traveling to UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 31 before hosting the Aggies... CSUN split its two games last week, defeating Hawai’i (70-58) and falling to UC Irvine (56-47) on the road... The Matadors are 7-4 at home this season, winning their last two... Five-time Big West Player of the Week Channon Fluker leads the way offensively, averaging a league-best 20.9 ppg and 12.1 rpg, while shooting .541 from the field... Senior forward Tessa Boagni (11.9 ppg) is also in double figures, shooting just under 46 percent from the floor.

SERIES NOTES: UC Davis leads the all-time series with CSUN, 23-15, including a 17-6 mark in the program’s Division I history... The Aggies have won the last four straight -- and seven of the last eight overall -- after sweeping the regular season series from the Matadors in each of the last two years... UC Davis is 10-6 on the road against CSUN, winning the last four dating back to 2013-14.

FIRST TO 20: Should the Aggies continue their torrid pace and remain unbeaten over the next three games, they will reach 20 wins faster than any other team in the program’s Division I history (the 2016-17 squad did so in 26 games) and will be tied with the 1990-91 and 1994-95 UC Davis squads for fifth on the all-time list after the Aggies reached 20 wins in 22 games four other times (1991-92, 1995-96, 1996-97, and 1998-99).

BACK-TO-BACK: Three more wins this season and the Aggies will have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the second time in the program’s Division I history, the fifth time overall, and the first since UC Davis finished 21-11 in 2009-10 and 24-9 in 2010-11 -- the latter leading to an NCAA Tournament berth. The Aggies also posted back-to-back seasons in 1979-80 (20-9) and 1980-81 (23-8), four straight seasons from 1988-92, and a run of six consecutive 20-win seasons from 1993-99.

COMEBACK KIDS: Saturday’s win over UC Santa Barbara saw UC Davis rally from a nine-point second quarter deficit -- the second-largest rally of the season after trailing by 10 in the first quarter against UC Riverside on Jan. 11 -- and post its first win of the year in four chances when trailing at halftime.

AGAIN-UARY: Thanks to its wins over Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara last week, UC Davis completed 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 along with November of 2007 (5-0), February of 2008 (7-0), and February of 2017 (6-0).

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A POINT MAKES: Despite averaging better than 73 points per game this season, UC Davis found a way to win a pair of games last week when held to under its season average, improving to 4-3 this season when scoring 69 points or fewer with its victories over Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara. The Aggies, who have won their last three games when scoring fewer than 70 points, are a perfect 13-0 this year when scoring above that plateau and a combined 31-0 over the last two-plus seasons when doing so dating back to a, 90-76, loss to UC Riverside on Feb. 20, 2016.

FIELD “GOALS”: Thanks to her 8-for-15 performance from the field against UC Santa Barbara last week, Bertsch set a new program Division I standard with 557 field goals made and broke into the all-time single-season top 10 for the third time in her career with 173 this year (which stands ninth). The all-time record for field goals made is held, fittingly, by the Aggies’ all-time leading scorer Carol Rische, who made 651 baskets from 1979-83.

GIANOTTI CONTINUES HER CLIMB: Thanks to a season-high 21 points against Cal State Fullerton and 14 more against UC Santa Barbara, senior political science major Pele Gianotti moved past Kendall Greene (1992-96) into 18th place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,054 points, putting her just 17 points back of Kasey Riecks (2008-12) for 17th. With 39 more points, Gianotti would jump past three more players on the all-time chart: her assistant coach Des Abeyta (1,080 for 16th), Sarah Allen (1,089 for 15th), and Brenda Wyneken (1,103 for 14th).

FOUR!: The streak continues. “Four” the fourth time in their last six games the Aggies finished with four players in double figures on Saturday against UC Santa Barbara -- the sixth time this season that UC Davis has finished with at least that many, improving to 6-0 in those contests. The Aggies have won their last 22 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.

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 20 such performances in the Aggies’ first 20 games -- giving her 70 for her career to solidify her hold on fourth place on the school’s Division I career list, just one back of Paige Mintun for third. Teammates Pele Gianotti (53) and Rachel Nagel (40) 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 20 consecutive double-digit scoring games to start this season rank tied for the second-longest such streak in the program’s Division I history -- and the ninth of 10 games or longer in that stretch -- trailing only her own record of 23 straight double-digit performances from Feb. 18, 2016 to Jan. 5, 2017.

BLOCK YOU VERY MUCH: Already the fifth Aggie to reach the century mark in career blocks at Seattle on Nov. 26, Bertsch’s six blocks last week gave her 125 for her career, passing Kendall Greene (1992-96) for third on the all-time list and placing her just 22 back of Alyson Doherty (2012-16) for second. After setting the school single-season record with 57 swats last year, the Santa Rosa, Calif., product is well-within striking distance of career record holder Paige Mintun, who blocked 150 shots from 2006-11.

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 third in the Big West at 4.3 bpg, while collecting at least four blocks in a game for the 14th and 15th times in 20 games overall last week. UC Davis is more than halfway to last year’s total with 86 swats thus far this season, paced by Morgan Bertsch’s 32 and 19 more from senior design major Marly Anderson.

WHATTA 1-2 PUNCH: Gianotti and 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. The Aggies have never had three players reach 1,000 career points in a single season, which leads us to...

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 947 career points and needing to average just 5.9 ppg over the final nine regular season games to reach the mark.

BOARDING TOWARD A BENCHMARK: In addition to her 1,000-point milestone, 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).

I’M COMING FOR YOU, COACH!: Junior psychology major Kourtney Eaton moved past Laura Manning (1985-89) for fifth on the school’s all-time list in that category with 342, needing just two more to match Jackie Turpin (2002-06) for fourth and eight 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 106 helpers behind her head coach, Jennifer Gross, who holds the record with 448 from 1993-97.

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 (.395), No. 34 in three-pointers per game (8.4), and No. 41 in total three-pointers made (168). Senior Dani Nafekh enters the week ranked third in the conference (.450), just ahead of classmate Rachel Nagel, who stands fourth (.419). Sophomore communication major Nina Bessolo is fifth (.417), while senior Pele Gianotti enters the week ninth (.387).

DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP): After limiting UC Santa Barbara to just 37.9 percent shooting from the field last week, the UC Davis defense has held 14 of its 20 opponents to 38 percent shooting or lower, continuing to lead the Big West in scoring defense (62.2 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.360), and three-point percentage defense (.303). Only Washington State, Portland State, UCF, Fordham, UC Riverside, and Cal State Fullerton, have shot better than that mark this season.

MEANWHILE, AT THE OTHER END: UC Davis shot better than 50 percent from the floor in last week’s win over the Gauchos -- the seventh time this season that the Aggies have made better than half their shots from the field in 2017-18 -- including a season-best .569 at Saint Mary’s on Dec. 9. UC Davis enters the week ranked No. 14 in the nation in field goal percentage overall at .469 and No. 8 from beyond the arc at .395 for the year.

‘TIS THE SEASON OF GIVING: UC Davis has been the queens of making the extra pass this season, entering the week ranked No. 18 in the nation in assists per game (17.7 apg) and No. 32 in overall assists (353), while ranking No. 33 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.21). Meanwhile, Kourtney Eaton enters the week ranked No. 90 in the nation in assists per game (4.6), No. 117 in total assists (87), and No. 49 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.29).

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. 8 in the NCAA in made baskets with 173, trailing Iowa’s Megan Gustafson, who paces the nation with 207 makes from the floor. The junior also ranks among the best in the nation in points per game (No. 50), No. 50 in total points (388) while standing No. 35 in field goal percentage (.556).