UC Davis (23-4, 13-1) at Cal State Fullerton (8-19, 3-11)
Thursday, March 1, 2018 | 7:00 p.m. | Titan Gym | Fullerton, Calif.
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM (PBP: Greg Wong)
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UC Davis (23-4, 13-1) at UC Riverside (8-20, 5-9)
Saturday, March 3, 2018 | 4:00 p.m. | SRC Arena | Riverside, Calif.
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM (PBP: Greg Wong)
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TIP-OFF: The 2018 Big West Conference regular season champion UC Davis women’s basketball team (23-4, 13-1) closes out its regular season on the road this week, taking on Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside. The Aggies and Titans clash on Thursday (March 1) at 7 p.m. at Titan Gym, before meeting the Highlanders on Saturday (March 3) at 4 p.m. at the SRC Arena in the Inland Empire.
CHECK YOUR CALENDARS: Southern California Aggie fans, please not the change in tip-off time for Saturday’s contest at UC Riverside, 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.
IN THE POLLS: The national spotlight shines a little brighter on the Aggies this week as UC Davis is among those receiving votes for the first time in the history of the program in the latest Association Press poll released on Feb. 26.
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!: With its victory over UC Irvine last week, UC Davis clinched its second consecutive Big West Conference championship and, with it, the top seed and a double bye into the semifinals of next week’s conference tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. It is the third Big West regular season crown for the Aggies in their Division I history, the first back-to-back titles for UC Davis since it ended a run of five consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Association crowns from 1995-99, and the 15th overall regular season conference title dating back to 1978.
POSTSEASON BOUND: While the team has its sights set a little higher, the Aggies have clinched at least a berth into the Women’s National Invitation Tournament for the second consecutive season and the program’s sixth postseason berth overall. UC Davis advanced to the NCAA Tournament following a Big West Tournament victory in 2011, falling to Bay Area rival Stanford, 86-59, and has earned WNIT berths in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2017 -- making a run to the “Sweet 16” of last year’s event with wins over Utah and Colorado State for the program’s first-ever postseason victories at the Division I level.
MID-MAJOR MOVERS: After clinching the Big West title, UC Davis moved up one spot to No. 8 in the latest College Insider mid-major poll released on Tuesday (Feb. 27), remaining in the top 10 for a season-best seventh consecutive week and the 12th time in 17 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
Feb. 27 — No. 8
1. Carol Rische (1979-83) — 1,711 points
2. Sydnee Fipps (2011-15) — 1,636
3. Morgan Bertsch (2015-pres.) — 1,493
12. Lisa Jo Kellogg (1988-91) — 1,143
13. Colleen Turnbull (1999-03) — 1,137
14. Pele Gianotti (2014-pres.) — 1,136
15. Brenda Wyneken (1981-84) — 1,103
19. Kendall Greene (1992-96) — 1,027
20. Rachel Nagel (2014-pres.) — 1,005
-- Dani Nafekh (2014-pres.) — 843
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. 26, ranking 58th in the RPI -- up five spots from 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. 146). 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. 26, 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 four weeks’ predicitions -- and still making the short drive to the Bay Area to take on No. 4 Stanford, along with No. 5 NC State and No. 12 Gonzaga. To view the entire bracket, visit http://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/bracketology.
WIN AND WHERE: The Aggies are just two victories shy of tying the program’s Division I era record for a single-season set last year when UC Davis finished 25-8 and posted the highest win total since the 1998-99 team finished 25-4. Overall, those 25 wins are tied for third in a single season, trailing only the 26-5 Aggies in 1990-91 and the 29-3 UC Davis team that finished third nationally in 1996-97. Meanwhile, on the conference side of the ledger, the Aggies’ 13-1 mark are just one shy of the school record set last season (14-2), while two wins this weekend would give UC Davis its most conference victories since the 1998-99 Aggies finished 18-2 en route to the California Collegiate Athletic Association title.
SCOUTING CAL STATE FULLERTON: The Titans enter the week with a 8-19 overall record and a 3-11 mark in Big West play, splitting their two contests with a win against UC Riverside and a loss at Cal Poly last week... The win over the Highlanders snapped a nine-game losing streak overall for Fullerton, which won for the first time since downing Long Beach State on Jan. 11... Hannah Thompson (12.9 ppg) leads three players in double figures, joined by Daeja Smith (12.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg) and Jade Vega (10.8 ppg).
SERIES NOTES: UC Davis leads the all-time series with Cal State Fullerton, 17-10, following a, 67-53, victory earlier this year at The Pavilion... The Aggies have won the last seven straight against the Titans dating back to the 2014-15 season... UC Davis is 10-3 on the road against Fullerton, winning its last seven trips to Orange County dating back to 2010 -- the last four of those decided by double digits.
SCOUTING UC RIVERSIDE: The Highlanders enter the week with an 8-20 overall record and a 5-9 mark in Big West play, losing back-to-back games on the road at Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara... UCR has lost seven of its last nine, with wins over the Gauchos and CSUN in that span... Six of the team’s eight wins have come at home this season as Riverside is just 1-13 on the road... Senior Michelle Curry leads the way offensively, averaging 16.6 ppg and 5.9 rpg, while shooting .457 from the field... Lauren Holt is also in double figures, averaging 15.2 ppg and shooting 44 percent from the floor.
SERIES NOTES: UC Davis leads the all-time series with UC Riverside, 36-23, following a, 74-63, victory earlier this year at The Pavilion... The Aggies have won the last four meetings (and 12 of the last 15) with the Highlanders, including an 81-72 win in the semifinals of the 2016 Big West Tournament... UC Davis is 12-13 on the road against UC Riverside (with the site of two games unknown), posting a last-second, 61-59, win in its last visit on March 2, 2017.
#PROTECTTHEPAVILION: With their victory over UC Irvine on Feb. 24, the Aggies established a new Division I record for home wins with their 13th victory in 14 chances, surpassing the previous mark of 12 set in 2010-11 (12-3) and 2016-17 (12-2), and posting the most wins at home since the 1997-98 squad also finished 13-1. UC Davis has been impressive in defending its home court, winning 25 of its last 28 at The Pavilion and posting a combined 62-33 (.653) record at home under Head Coach Jennifer Gross.
THIS STREAK STILL LIVES: UC Davis has won its last 14 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 23 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.
NUMBER 3 FROM "3": 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. 3 in three-point percentage (.400), No. 29 in three-pointers per game (8.6), and No. 36 in total three-pointers made (231). Seniors Rachel Nagel (.430) and Dani Nafekh (.429) rank 2-3 in the league entering the week, while sophomore Nina Bessolo (.413) is fifth and senior Pele Gianotti is 10th (.381).
I JUST FELT LIKE RUN-NING: A 15-0 run to start last week’s win over UC Irvine is the largest scoreless run by UC Davis this season, surpassing the 13-0 run at Hawai’i just one game earlier.
DOUBLING UP: Of UC Davis’ 23 victories this season, 16 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.
PLAYING FROM AHEAD: UC Davis has not trailed since the second quarter of the team’s win over Long Beach State on Feb. 15, a total of 103:29 after leading both Hawai’i and UC Irvine wire-to-wire in the team’s last two games -- the fifth and sixth times that has happened this season.
THE MORGAN 500: With 10 more points against UC Irvine last weekend, junior biomedical engineering major Morgan Bertsch established a new career single-season high with 527 points, surpassing her 520 points scored last season and moving into fourth place on the all-time single-season list, and 27 points shy of Sydnee Fipps’ 2013-14 total for third. Bertsch, who collected only the fifth season with 500-or-more points by an Aggie in school history, is chasing all-time single-season record holder Staci Stevens, who scored 600 points during the 1987-88 campiagn.
THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME?: Entering this week’s contest with 1,493 career points to her name, good for third on the all-time list, Bertsch needs just 218 more to catch Carol Rische (1979-83) for the top spot, and 328 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.
SHE’S GOT GAME(S): When Gianotti takes the floor on Thursday night at Cal State Fullerton, the senior from Myrtle Creek, Ore., will have appeared in more games than any other Aggie in the history of the program, breaking Samantha Meggison’s total of 123 games played from 2008-12.
DE-FENSE!: UC Davis limited visiting UC Irvine to only six points en route to a 14-point first quarter lead last Saturday -- tying the mark for the fewest points allowed by the Aggies’ defense in any quarter this season set at Saint Mary’s on Dec. 9.
YOU’VE GOT A 50-50 SHOT: After shooting exactly 50 percent from the field against UC Irvine last week, the Aggies have now his half their shots (or better) in each of their last three contests -- their longest such streak since Dec. 6-18 of 2015 -- and 11 times overall this season. That has helped UC Davis rank as one of the top shooting teams in the nation, standing No. 13 in the nation in field goal percentage (.474), No. 3 in the nation in three-point percentage (.400), and No. 35 in free throw percentage (.755), while also leading the Big West in all three.
MEANWHILE, AT THE OTHER END: UC Davis held the Anteaters to 33 percent from the floor last week, marking the 21st times in 27 games that an Aggie opponent has been limited to under 40 percent from the field. UC Davis ranks No. 21 in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.360), while leading the Big West in field goal defense and ranking second in three-point percentage defense (.310) entering the week.
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 3,144 minutes, just 206 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 3,064 minutes puts her fourth amongst a group that includes Riecks, Nafekh, Hana Asano (3,100), Fipps (3,052), and Celia Marfone (3,009).
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 27 such performances in the Aggies’ 27 games -- giving her 77 for her career to move her into sole possession of second place on the school’s Division I career list, just three back of Sydnee Fipps (80) for the record. Teammates Pele Gianotti (58) and Rachel Nagel (43) also rank fifth and seventh, respectively, on that same career list.
MISS CONSISTENTCY: And, now, a record. Bertsch’s 27 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.
MEET YOUR “MAKER”: Bertsch enters the week ranked No. 5 in the NCAA in made baskets with 232, trailing Iowa’s Megan Gustafson, who paces the nation with 285 makes from the floor. The junior also ranks among the best in the nation in points per game (No. 37), No. 56 in total points (527), while standing No. 30 in field goal percentage (.556).
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.
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 135 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 12 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 18th time against UC Irvine. UC Davis is rapidly closing in on last year’s total with 117 swats thus far -- the third straight season with 100-or-more (125 in 2015-16 and 129 in 2016-17).
“KOURT” VISION: With 121 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 10th place on the all-time single-season list and third on the school’s single-season Division I list. She stands just nine back of Dani Nafekh’s 2015-16 total for second on the Division I list and four behind Jennifer Gross for ninth on the all-time list, while needing only 21 more to match her own Division I era record of 142 set in 2016-17.
I’M COMING FOR YOU, COACH!: Eaton’s passing prowess last week solidified her hold on third place on the all-time list with 376, 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 (1,594). In fact, the Aggies’ have four of the top 10 active scorers in the league, with senior Pele Gianotti ranking sixth (1,136), senior Rachel Nagel eighth (1,005), and senior Dani Nafekh (843) standing 10th overall.
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 616 career field goals made -- a Division I era record and just 35 behind Carol Rische’s all-time record of 651 -- while her 232 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.
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 576 career rebounds entering the week are the most of any active Aggie player, ranking fourth on the school’s Division I list and 33 shy of Paige Mintun for 10th on the all-time chart.
IN A GIVING MOOD: 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 (17.5 apg) and No. 33 in overall assists (472), while ranking No. 31 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2). Meanwhile, Kourtney Eaton enters the week ranked No. 77 in the nation in assists per game (4.7), No. 105 in total assists (121), and No. 39 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.33).