First place Aggies host Gauchos in home finale

Lauren Beyer, the Aggies' lone senior this season, will be honored prior to Saturday's game against UC Santa Barbara. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
Feb. 24, 2017

NEXT UP…
GAME 27: UC Santa Barbara (12-14, 7-6) at UC Davis (20-6, 11-2)
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017
2:00 p.m.
The Pavilion (5,931)
Davis, Calif.
TV: None
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM
Game Coverage: Gameday Central (Audio/Video/Live Stats) | UC Davis Notes | UCSB Women's Basketball

TIP-OFF: That’s seven. Winners of seven straight -- and nine of its last 10 -- the first-place UC Davis women’s basketball team (20-6, 11-2) looks to close out the home portion of its regular season in style, hosting UC Santa Barbara on “Senior Day” Saturday (Feb. 25) at 2 p.m. at The Pavilion. The Aggies’ lone senior, Lauren Beyer, will be honored as part of a pregame cermony at approximately 1:45 p.m. at center court.

IN THE POLLS: Both UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara are unranked nationally this week by the Associated Press and USA Today… The Aggies are receiving two votes in the Feb. 21 CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll -- a drop of one vote from last week’s rankings.

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 @UCDavisInGame.

ABOUT THE GAUCHOS: UC Santa Barbara enters the weekend with a 12-14 overall record and a 7-6 mark to place fifth in the Big West standings... Saturday’s game against the Aggies is the lone game of the week for the Gauchos, who have lost their last two straight on the road at UC Riverside (73-69) and Long Beach State (59-45)... UCSB is just 4-9 away from home this season... Junior Drew Edelman leads the team offensively at 10.8 ppg while shooting .606 from the field to go with 7.2 rpg... Five players in a balanced Gaucho lineup are averaging at least 8.9 ppg.

SERIES NOTES: According to game-by-game records that date back to the 1974-75 season, UC Santa Barbara leads the all-time series with UC Davis, 17-16, but the Aggies hold a 14-9 advantage in the series during their Division I Era... UC Davis has won three straight -- and seven of the last nine -- from UCSB, including a, 62-48, win earlier this year on the road... The Aggies are 6-6 at home against Santa Barbara (with the location of one game in the series unknown), having won two of the last three, including an, 80-51, win at The Pavilion last season.

INCOMING!: UC Davis women’s basketball solidified its front line with a trio of signings during the NCAA’s early signing period on Nov. 10, welcoming three high school standouts to the “Aggie Family.” Southern California natives Kayla Konrad (Valencia, Calif. / Valencia HS) and Cierra Hall (Cypress, Calif. / Fairmont Prep Academy) join highly-rated Canadian post Sage Stobbart (North Vancouver, British Columbia / Seycove Secondary School) in the Aggies’ signing class, who all begin their careers as true freshmen in 2017-18. For more details on the three signees, read the entire release at http://www.ucdavisaggies.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/111016aac.html.

IT’S SO HARD TO SAY GOODBYE: Since making the jump to Division I in 2007-08, the Aggies have found it somewhat hard to bid farewell to their seniors, posting just a 5-4 record in “Senior Day” games, snapping a four-game skid with a, 57-50, win over CSUN last year. Saturday will mark the third time that UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara will go head-to-head in the Aggies’ regular season home finale, with UC Davis looking for its first win after the Gauchos spoiled the Aggies’ celebration in both 2012 (60-56) and 2015 (57-52).

STREAKING: Wednesday’s win over Cal Poly gave the Aggies their season-best seventh straight victory -- matching the longest winning streak in the program’s Division I Era set from Feb. 2-23, 2008, and matched two years later on Jan. 4-28, 2010. An eighth consecutive win against UC Santa Barbara would give UC Davis its longest since it won nine-in-a-row from Jan. 19-Feb. 23, 2006.

FORESHADOWING?: Wednesday’s win over Cal Poly gave UC Davis only its third 20-win season in the program’s Division I history (and the 15th overall since the 1979-80 season), surpassing last year’s win total with three games to play in the regular season improving the Aggies the 20-6 overall. The last time UC Davis won 20 games? The Aggies finished 24-9, won the Big West Tournament, and earned their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth in 2010-11. UC Davis also won 20 games in 2009-10 (21-11), advancing to the WNIT following its first Big West regular season title after finishing 11-3 in league that year.

#PROTECTTHEPAVILION: With an 11-2 record within the friendly confines of The Pavilion this season and only Saturday’s contest against UC Santa Barbara remaining this season, UC Davis has already surpassed last season’s home win total (8-5) and has posted the most home victories since the 2010-11 squad set the Division I Era record for home wins with a 12-3 mark. The Aggies have won 15 of their last 18 on their home floor, and are a combinbed 48-32 (.600) at The Pavilion under Head Coach Jennifer Gross.

HOME COOKIN’: Wednesday’s win also have the Aggies their fifth straight win at The Pavilion -- the longest in a single season dating back to the start of the 2010-11 campaign when UC Davis opened the year 5-0 on its home floor.

ALL SHE DOES IS WIN, WIN, WIN: Head Coach Jennifer Gross is listed among the Aggie record books in a number of categories, including one which has her as the winningest UC Davis player of all time as a part of 101 total victories as a student-athlete from 1993-97, winning no fewer than 22 games in a season during her four years, culminating in a 29-3 record and a third-place finish nationally as a senior. That winning mentality has carried over into her coaching career as the Aggies’ sixth-year mentor stands two wins shy of 100, which would put her alonside former coaches Sandy Simpson (251), Jorja Hoehn (205), and Pam Gill-Fisher (164), as UC Davis women’s basketball coaches who have reached the century mark in the win column. With three regular season games remaining (plus any possible tournament contests), Gross could reach the milestone as soon as March 2 at UC Riverside.

ANOTHER MILESTONE ON THE HORIZON?: Bertsch is just 118 points away from becoming the 18th player in UC Davis history to reach 1,000 career points. If she were to reach the mark with a monster finish this season, Bertsch would become the first sophomore to do so in the history of the program after three former greats (Carol Rische, Ellen Porshneva, and Sydnee Fipps) accomplished the feat as juniors.

TWINBILL TRIUMPHS: The Aggies, who host their fourth -- and final -- doubleheader of the season on Saturday against UC Santa Barbara, laid claim to their seventh straight victory on doubleheader dates with their win over UC Irvine on Feb. 11, posting its 13th win in their last 14 home doubleheader dates, and improving to 20-4 in their half of the twinbill during the program’s Division I Era, including an 10-2 mark against Big West opponents. In 24 all-time home doubleheaders, both the men and women’s teams have swept 12 times, including five of the last seven.

WAIT, WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE’RE BEHIND?: When Cal Poly’s Dynn Leaupepe hit a jumper for a 6-5 lead with 6:54 remaining in the first quarter on Wednesday night, it marked the first time that the Aggies had trailed in a game since the second quarter against Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 28 -- ending a run of four consecutive wire-to-wire victories that spanned a total of 187:21 of game time. UC Davis has led wire-to-wire six times this season: Holy Names (Nov. 13), UC Irvine (Jan. 5), Cal Poly (Feb. 2), UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 4), UC Irvine (Feb. 11) and Hawai’i (Feb. 16).

SHE CAN DISH IT OUT: With three assists on Wednesday night against Cal Poly, junior Dani Nafekh helped herself right into the UC Davis record books, recording her 274th career assist to move her into a tie with Jessica Campbell for 10th on the school’s all-time list in that category and 11 back of Hana Asano for the program’s Division I career record (and No. 9 on the career list). Nafekh is one of only six players to amass 200-or-more assists at the Division I level in the program’s history: Asano (285), Nafekh (274), Blair Shinoda (223), Kourtney Eaton (222), Alyson Doherty (214), and Celia Marfone (206).

DOUBLE-DIGIT DUTY: Bertsch’s 24 double-digit scoring performances rank fifth on the school’s single-season list during the program’s Division I Era, while the 45 for her career stand fifth on the career chart during that same time. The sophomore’s eight 20-point games this season also rank fifth, while the 18 for her career stand second behind only Sydnee Fipps, who had 32 such games from 2012-15.

TWO FOR 20... TWICE: After Morgan Bertsch (24) and Pele Gianotti (20) went off at Hawai’i on Feb. 16, Gianotti and classmate Dani Nafekh followed that up with 20-point performances of their own against Cal Poly on Wednesday, collecting 25 and 22 points, respectively, in the Aggies’ win. It marked the first time since the 2007-08 season that UC Davis had two players reach at least 20 points as Jessica Campbell and Haylee Donaghe finished with 28 and 23, respectively, on Dec. 17 against Saint Mary’s, followed by point totals of 29 and 22, respectively, three days later on Dec. 20 against San Francisco.

RUN AWAY AND HIDE: Thanks to a 19-point triumph over Hawai’i on Feb. 16, nine of the Aggies’ last 11 victories -- and 14 of their 20 wins overall this season -- have been by double digits, with the largest being a 41-point triumph over UC Irvine back on Jan. 5. In addition, seven of those 20 wins have been decided by 20-or-more points following a 20-point victory over UC Irvine on Feb. 11.

CENTURY MARK: With 99 blocks this season, the Aggies are one swat away from hitting the century mark for the second straight year and 26 back of the school’s single-season mark of 125 set last season. Should they reach 100, it will be the third time in the last five years that the Aggies will tally at least 100 blocks in a single campaign, and the fourth time since NCAA records are available in 1992-93 along with the 1994-95 UC Davis team that swatted an even 100.

RECORD CHASING: Bertsch’s 81st career block on Wednesday against Cal Poly broke a tie with Ellen Porshneva and gave her sole possession of seventh on the school’s all-time list, standing just six back of current assistant coach Des Abeyta for the No. 6 spot. Bertsch’s 45 blocks this season (which rank No. 78 in the NCAA as of Feb. 23) moved her into fifth place on the school’s single-season list, just three back of Kendall Greene’s 1993-94 total for fourth, and just 11 shy of Paige Mintun’s total of 56 during the 2010-11 campaign.

LUCKY STRIPE: The Aggies finished an almost perfect 19-for-21 from the line to help power them to a win over the Mustangs, the third most makes this season and the second time they have made better than 90 percent from the line dating back to a 25-for-27 (.926) performance at Sacramento State on Dec. 18. Both Pele Gianotti (9-for-9) and Dani Nafekh (8-for-10) set career highs for made free throws, the former setting a new best after making five on four seperate occassions, while the latter’s previous best was six twice.

DE-FENSE! (CLAP, CLAP) DE-FENSE! (CLAP, CLAP): Take your best shot, but the Aggies’ defense will make sure it’s not a good one. Despite allowing its highest point total since giving up 78 points at Sacramento State on Dec. 18, UC Davis continues to rank among the top 25 in the nation in both field goal percentage defense (No. 20) and three-point percentage defense (No. 23), allowing opponents to shoot .357 from the floor and .275 from beyond the arc, while holding 10 different opponents to less than 60 points in a game this season.

DROPPING DIMES: Kourtney Eaton’s career high-tying nine assists at UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 4 marked the ninth time this season -- and the 20th time in her career -- that the Washington native has finished with at least five assists in a game, and the eighth time in her two seasons as an Aggie with seven-or-more in a game.

HELPING HANDS: Powered by Kourtney Eaton’s team-high 109 assists this season, the Aggies rank among the top 25 in the nation in both assists (437 overall) and assists per game (16.8 apg) -- good for No. 41 and No. 20, respectively, in each category as of Feb. 23. Meanwhile, Eaton ranks No. 107 in the nation at 4.4 apg and No. 130 in overall assists.

ONE FOR YOU, NONE FOR THEM: In racking up those 109 assists, Eaton has turned the ball over only 43 times this season, posting an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.53 that ranks first in the Big West and No. 24 in the NCAA. The Longview, Wash., native has finished with no fewer than three assists in 23 of the team’s 26 games, while turning the ball over two-or-fewer times in 18 of those contests -- including five games with zero turnovers. Overall, the Aggies rank No. 22 in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.24 as a team as of Feb. 23.

SWIPER, NO SWIPING: UC Davis was a little handsy on Feb. 2 at Cal Poly, finishing the night with a season-high 18 steals -- the most since they had the same number against Akron on Nov. 30, 2013. Led by a career-high tying five swipes from sophomore Kourtney Eaton, UC Davis finished just four shy of the school’s Division I record of 22 at CSUN on Feb. 9, 2008.

FEW AND FAR BETWEEN: When the Aggies turned the ball over on Jan. 14 against CSUN, it must have come as a shock to many because it didn’t happen very often. UC Davis finished with only six miscues against the Matadors, not only setting a new season best, but tying the program’s Division I record set against CSUN in 2010-11 and tied against UC Riverside a year later.