UC Irvine (17-9, 9-3) at UC Davis (22-4, 12-1)
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 | 2:30 p.m. | The Pavilion | Davis, Calif.
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TIP-OFF: Winners of four straight overall and having already clinched a top-two seed for the Big West Conference Tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., the UC Davis women’s basketball team (22-4, 12-1) now sets its sights on a second straight Big West regular season title, facing second-place UC Irvine in its only game of the week on “Senior Day” Saturday (Feb. 24) at 2:30 p.m. -- saluting its senior class of Marly Anderson, Dani Nafekh, Rachel Nagel, and Pele Gianotti, prior to tip off.
CHECK YOUR CALENDARS: Tip-off UC Davis’ regular season finale at UC Riverside has been adjusted to 4 p.m., two hours later than the originally announced 2 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” women’s basketball (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: For the second consecutive week, the Aggies held steady at No. 9 in the latest College Insider mid-major poll released on Tuesday (Feb. 20), remaining in the top 10 for a season-best sixth consecutive week and the 11th time in 16 weeks overall. UC Davis reached as high as No. 5 in back-to-back weeks on Dec. 12 and Dec. 19, and has stood among the top 25 of the College Insider poll every week this season, debuting at No. 20 in the preseason.
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
Feb. 6 — No. 10
Feb. 13 — No. 9
Feb. 20 — No. 9
1. Carol Rische (1979-83) — 1,711 points
2. Sydnee Fipps (2011-15) — 1,636
3. Morgan Bertsch (2015-pres.) — 1,483
12. Lisa Jo Kellogg (1988-91) — 1,143
13. Colleen Turnbull (1999-03) — 1,137
14. Pele Gianotti (2014-pres.) — 1,125
15. Brenda Wyneken (1981-84) — 1,103
19. Kendall Greene (1992-96) — 1,027
20. Rachel Nagel (2014-pres.) — 1,004
-- Dani Nafekh (2014-pres.) — 826
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 Feb. 19, ranking 63rd in the RPI and standing as the only Big West team in the top 100 thus far (Cal Poly is second among league members at No. 158). 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.
BRACKETOLOGY: In his latest bracketology projection of 2018 released on Feb. 19, ESPN’s Charlie Creme still has the Aggies carrying the Big West banner into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 13 seed -- holding steady from last three weeks’ predicitions and still making the short drive to the Bay Area to take on No. 4 Stanford, along with No. 5 Ohio State and No. 12 Gonzaga. To view the entire bracket, visit http://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/bracketology.
SCOUTING UC IRVINE: The Anteaters enter the week at 17-9 overall and 9-3 in the Big West, standing 2 1/2 games behind UC Davis with four games remaining... UC Irvine had its seven-game winning streak snapped last week, falling to UC Santa Barbara on the road... Michigan State transfer Morgan Green, who has only played 12 games after becoming eligible at the start of conference play, leads the offense averaging 23.6 ppg and shooting 42 percent from the field overall... Freshman forward Jordan Sanders is also in double figures, averaging 10.4 ppg, while Tahlia Garza paces the team on the boards at 6.2 rpg while shooting .613 from the floor... UC Irvine averages 73.0 ppg and shoots .410 from the field, while opponents average 70.1 ppg and a .407 field goal percentage.
SERIES NOTES: UC Davis leads the all-time series with UC Irvine, 26-8, winning the last six consecutive meetings following a, 76-67, win in South Orange County back on Jan. 4 to tip off the Big West schedule... The Aggies’ last loss in the series with the Anteaters came back on March 7, 2015, as Irvine posted a, 71-62, win in the regular season finale... UC Davis is 11-4 at home against UCI, having won the last three straight at The Pavilion by an average of 14.3 ppg... The Aggies last loss at home to the Anteaters was on March 8, 2014, by the score of 68-55.
LET’S PLAY TWO!: Ernie Banks would be proud. The Aggies have won 11 straight doubleheader dates, 17 of their last 18, and are 24-4 in their half of a twinbill during the Division I era -- including an 13-2 mark against Big West opponents. In 28 all-time home doubleheaders, both UC Davis teams have swept the doubleheader 15 times, including eight of the last 11.
#PROTECTTHEPAVILION: With their victory over Long Beach State on Feb. 15, the Aggies tied the program’s Division I record for home victories in a single season, improving to 12-1 and matching the win totals from the 2010-11 (12-3) and 2016-17 (12-2) campaigns. 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 27 of its last 31 at The Pavilion and posting a combined 61-33 (.649) record at home under Head Coach Jennifer Gross.
THIS STREAK STILL LIVES: UC Davis has won its last 13 straight regular season home games against conference foes dating back to a, 64-51, loss against Long Beach State on Jan. 12, 2017.
THAT WAS FAST: UC Davis’ victory over CSUN on Feb. 10 made the 2017-18 Aggies the quickest team to 20 wins in the program’s Division I history, doing so in just 24 games to beat last year’s squad that did so in 26 games. This year’s squad now ranks as the seventh-fastest on the all-time list after the Aggies reached 20 wins in 22 games four times in 1991-92, 1995-96, 1996-97, and 1998-99, to set the record.
BACK-TO-BACK: At 22 victories thus far this season, UC Davis has 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.
I JUST FELT LIKE RUN-NING: A 13-0 run in the second quarter at Hawai’i that gave the Aggies a 22-point lead at that time, is the largest scoreless run by UC Davis this season, surpassing the five 12-0 runs by the team earlier this year.
DOUBLING UP: Of UC Davis’ 22 victories this season, 15 of those have been by double digits, with seven of those by 20-or-more points. Of those seven, two have been by 30-or-more points: a 32-point win at Pacific on Nov. 20 and a 30-point win over Long Beach State on Feb. 15.
AND NAGEL MAKES THREE: With her “and one” with 6:03 remaining in the game against Long Beach State, senior Rachel Nagel became the 20th player overall -- and, for the first time in the history of the program, the third Aggie in a season to reach the 1,000 career point milestone. Entering the night with 1,004 points to her name, the psychology major needs only 21 more points to catch Kendall Greene for 19th place.
THE MORGAN 500: Thanks to her 27-point night at Hawai’i on Feb. 17, junior biomedical engineering major Morgan Bertsch went over the 500-point plateau for the second time in her career, giving her 517 total points this season -- a total that ranks fifth on the all-time list and stands just three points shy of last season’s total for fourth. Bertsch, who collected only the fifth season with 500-or-more points by an Aggie in school history, needs just 31 more points to catch Sydnee Fipps for the single-season Division I scoring record of 548 points set in 2013-14, and 83 more points to match Staci Stevens and her all-time record of 600 points set in 1987-88.
20-20 VISION: Bertsch’s 27 points against the Rainbow Wahine marked the junior’s 15th 20-point performance of the year -- second in a single season in the program’s Division I history -- and the 33rd of her career, breaking Fipps’ career mark of 32 set from 2011-15.
THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME?: Entering this week’s contest with 1,483 career points to her name, good for third on the all-time list, Bertsch needs just 228 more to catch Carol Rische (1979-83) for the top spot, and 338 more points to pass Audwin Thomas (1975-79) on the men’s side to become the all-time leading scorer in UC Davis basketball history.
GIANOTTI CLIMBS ONE MORE SPOT: Thanks to a combined 25 points last week against Long Beach State and Hawai’i -- including her second double-double of the year against the 49ers that included a season-high 11 rebounds -- senior Pele Gianotti moved past Brenda Wyneken and into 14th place on the all-time scoring list, needing 13 to pass Colleen Turnbull for 13th and 19 more to leap over Lisa Jo Kellogg for 12th.
SHE’S GOT GAME(S): When Gianotti takes the floor on Saturday against UC Irvine, the senior from Myrtle Creek, Ore., will match Samantha Meggison (2008-12) for the most career games played by an Aggie in the school’s history with 123.
MINUTE WOMAN: Senior Dani Nafekh has been on the floor... A LOT. The managerial economics major from Oakville, Ontario, ranks third on the program’s Division I career list with 3,116 minutes, just 234 minutes shy of Kasey Riecks’ mark of 3,350 from 2008-12. Meanwhile, Gianotti became only the sixth player in the program’s Division I history to eclipse 3,000 career minutes against Long Beach State on Feb. 15, as her 3,031 minutes puts her amongst a group that includes Riecks, Hana Asano (3,100), Nafekh, Fipps (3,052), and Celia Marfone (3,009).
GIVING NO QUARTER: The 29 points in the fourth quarter against Long Beach State on Feb. 15 are tied for the most in a single quarter this season, matching the Aggies’ 29-point fourth quarter at UC Irvine on Jan. 4. The offensive outburst against the 49ers was thanks, in large part, to UC Davis hitting 10-of-12 (.833) from the field -- the team’s highest single-quarter shooting percentage of the year and matching the modern-day school record set in the fourth quarter against UC Riverside in the semifinals of the Big West Tournament on March 11, 2016.
NOT HALF BAD: The 48 points in the second half against Long Beach State were the most for UC Davis in any half since it tied a season high with 52 in the second half against the 49ers in the first meeting between the two. Meanwhile, the 22-point lead at the break at Hawai’i on Feb. 17 marked the Aggies’ largest halftime advantage of the year.
YOU’VE GOT A 50-50 SHOT: After shooting 50 percent from the field against Long Beach State and just under 51 percent at Hawai’i last week, the Aggies have now made 50 percent of their shots (or better) a total of 10 times this season -- including the fourth time doing so in back-to-back games. UC Davis ranks No. 15 in the nation in field goal percentage (.473), No. 4 in the nation in three-point percentage (.401), and No. 29 in free throw percentage (.758), while leading the Big West in all three.
MEANWHILE, AT THE OTHER END: UC Davis held both the 49ers and Rainbow Wahine to under 33 percent from the floor last week, marking the 19th and 20th times in 26 games that an opponent has been limited to under 40 percent from the field. The Aggies are No. 22 in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.360), while leading the Big West in field goal and three-point percentage defense (.310) entering the week.
LEADERS BY EXAMPLE: Should she finish atop the team’s scoring chart this season, Bertsch would become only the fifth Aggie to lead the team in scoring in three consecutive seasons, with a chance to join Carol Rische as the only UC Davis players to do so all four years of their collegiate careers. Staci Stevens in 1985-88, Paige Mintun in 2008-11, and Sydnee Fipps in 2012-15, are the only other three Aggies to accomplish the feat three times. Meanwhile, Gianotti could become the third straight Aggie to lead the team in rebounds in back-to-back seasons after Sydnee Fipps in 2012-14 and Celia Marfone in 2014-16.
BOARDING SCHOOL: 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). Gianotti’s 569 career rebounds entering the week are the most of any active Aggie player, ranking fourth on the school’s Division I list and 37 shy of Paige Mintun for 10th on the all-time chart.
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 26 such performances in the Aggies’ 26 games -- giving her 76 for her career to move her into sole possession of second place on the school’s Division I career list, just four back of Sydnee Fipps (80) for the record. Teammates Pele Gianotti (57) and Rachel Nagel (43) also rank fifth and seventh, respectively, on that same career list.
MISS CONSISTENTCY: And, now, a record. Bertsch’s 26 consecutive double-digit scoring games to start this season is a new program Division I record, breaking her own mark of 23 straight such performances from Feb. 18, 2016, to Jan. 5, 2017.
THEY JUST KEPT GOING IN: Bertsch’s 13 makes from the floor against Hawai’i tied her own program Division I single-game mark for field goals in a game, matching her mark set earlier this year against Pepperdine. The junior now has 612 career field goals made -- a Division I era record and just 39 behind Carol Rische’s all-time record of 651 -- while her 228 field goals this season are also a program Division I record and stands third on the all-time list behind only Staci Stevens’ 252 makes in 1987-88 and Aimee Conner’s 238 makes in 1992-93.
BLOCK YOU VERY MUCH: Already the fifth Aggie to reach the century mark in career blocks at Seattle on Nov. 26, Bertsch upped her career total to 134 swats in last week’s games, solidifying her hold on third place on the school’s all-time list. The Santa Rosa, Calif., native is just 13 back of Alyson Doherty (147) for second place, and is within striking distance of Paige Mintun (150) for the all-time lead.
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 17th time against Cal Poly. UC Davis is rapidly closing in on last year’s total with 112 swats thus far -- the third straight season with 100-or-more (125 in 2015-16 and 129 in 2016-17).
QUEENS OF THE QUARTER: Sixteen times this season an Aggie has finished with double-digit points in a single quarter after Bertsch scored 10 of her game-high 27 points in the second quarter of last week’s win over Hawai’i -- the 11th time that the junior has accomplished the feat. 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.
FOUR!: The streak continues. For the eighth time this season, UC Davis finished with four players in double figures in last week’s home win against Long Beach State, improving to 8-0 in those contests. The Aggies have won their last 24 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.
“KOURT” VISION: With 114 assists this season, junior psychology major Kourtney Eaton has posted her third season with at least 100 assists -- and the fifth by an Aggie in the Division I era -- moving into fourth place on the school’s single-season Division I list. She stands just two back of her 2015-16 total for third, and 19 shy of Dani Nafekh’s 2015-16 total for second.
I’M COMING FOR YOU, COACH!: Eaton’s passing prowess last week solidified her hold on third place on the all-time list with 369, setting her sights on Sara Lillevand (396) in second, with her head coach, Jennifer Gross, waiting at the top with 448 career assists.
“BIG” TIME: Bertsch enters the week with the second-highest career point total among active players in the Big West, trailing only Cal Poly senior Dynn Leaupepe (1,556). In fact, the Aggies’ have four of the top 10 active scorers in the league, with senior Pele Gianotti ranking fifth (1,125), senior Rachel Nagel seventh (1,004), and senior Dani Nafekh (826) standing 10th overall.
MEET YOUR “MAKER”: Bertsch enters the week ranked No. 3 in the NCAA in made baskets with 228, trailing Iowa’s Megan Gustafson, who paces the nation with 260 makes from the floor. The junior also ranks among the best in the nation in points per game (No. 30), No. 39 in total points (517), while standing No. 30 in field goal percentage (.559).
IN A GIVING MOOD: UC Davis has been the queens of making the extra pass this season, entering the week ranked No. 16 in the nation in assists per game (17.5 apg) and No. 22 in overall assists (456), while ranking No. 33 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.21). Meanwhile, Kourtney Eaton enters the week ranked No. 85 in the nation in assists per game (4.6), No. 104 in total assists (114), and No. 50 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.24).
THREEE-CO-LA!: The Aggies enter the week with three of the league’s top 10 three-point shooters and still stand among the best in the nation from long distance, ranking No. 4 in three-point percentage (.401), No. 31 in three-pointers per game (8.6), and No. 31 in total three-pointers made (223). Seniors Rachel Nagel (.430) and Dani Nafekh (.429) rank 1-2 in the league entering the week, while sophomore Nina Bessolo (.411) is sixth.
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Bertsch’s big night lifts Aggies past Titans
Big West Tournament Central
(Friday: 12 p.m.; ESPN3)