Aggies look to fly high as Air Force pays a visit

Senior Alyson Doherty has posted a double-double in two of the Aggies' first three games in 2015-16. (Photo by Mark Honbo/UC Davis Athletics Communications)
Nov. 22, 2015

THIS WEEK...
Air Force (0-4) at UC Davis (1-2)
Monday, Nov. 23, 2015
The Pavilion (Davis, Calif.)
6:00 p.m.
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM
TV: None
Game Coverage: Live Stats | Audio | Video | UC Davis notes | Air Force notes

TIP OFF: The UC Davis women's basketball team (1-2) returns home looking to build off the momentum of its first victory of the season, taking on its second straight Mountain West Conference opponent when the Aggies welcome Air Force (0-4) to The Pavilion on Monday (Nov. 23) at 6 p.m.

IN THE POLLS: Both UC Davis and Air Force are unranked in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls entering this week's game.

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 on Facebook (facebook.com/UCDavisWomensBasketball) as well as follow them on Twitter (@UCDavisWBB) and Instagram (instagram.com/ucdaviswbb). In-game updates on game day are also available on Twitter by following @UCDavisInGame.

"CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?": Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, live Internet audio will be available for all of the Aggies' contests this season, as well as broadcast locally on KDVS 90.3 FM. Brian Fuller and Andy Clausen will handle the call for most of this year's contests. Visit the women's basketball schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com to access the links.

"YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE": Bringing together live and on-demand video from each of the Big West Conference's nine member institutions, Big West TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews, and features, including every home and conference contest. Now in its 12th year, Big West TV will again air all of the Aggies' home and conference clashes FOR FREE during the 2015-16 campaign. Log on to www.bigwest.org/thisweek for weekly schedules or visit the women's basketball schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com to access the links.

I NEED STATS, STAT!: Barring technical difficulties, live stats for all UC Davis home games, as well as most road contests, are available on your computer and mobile device courtesy the StatBroadcast platform. Visit the women's basketball schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com or UCDavisLiveStats.com to access the links.

ABOUT THE FALCONS: The Air Force Academy enters Monday night's game with an 0-4 record following a 68-34 loss at Santa Clara on Saturday night... The clash with UC Davis will mark the fourth road game in the first five contests for the Falcons this season, also suffering defeats at Gonzaga and Eastern Washington, while falling at home to Denver... Sophomore guard Cortney Porter leads Air Force with 9.3 points per game to go along with 2.3 rebounds per, 14 assists, and a .255 field goal percentage... Sophomore guard Dee Bennett is the team's leading rebounder at 6.0 board per game (24 overall) to go along with 7.3 points per... The Falcons are averaging just 40.2 points per game while giving up 69.5 ppg to their opponents.

SERIES NOTES: UC Davis leads the all-time series with Air Force by a 3-2 count dating back to the first meeting during the 1987-88 season, but Monday's clash will be the first between the two programs in the Aggies' Division I Era... The Aggies and Falcons haven't met on the basketball court since Nov. 20, 2004, when Air Force posted a 75-61 victory in Colorado Springs, ending a three-game winning streak by UC Davis... Monday's contest will also be only the second game between the two played in Davis, dating back to a 68-58 victory on Nov. 23, 1990... Two of the Aggies' three wins in the series have been by double digits, including an 81-61 win by UC Davis in 1993 -- the largest margin of victory by either team in the history of the series.

CONFERENCE CALL: Following last Thursday's win over San Diego State, UC Davis is a combined 25-19 against the current Mountain West Conference alignment... The Aggies have won four of their last five against the league with three of those wins coming against San Jose State... UC Davis has faced six of the league's 11 members: Air Force (3-2), Boise State (1-2), Fresno State (1-5), Nevada (9-1), San Diego State (2-3), and San Jose State (9-7).

DOHERTY CLOSING ON A MILESTONE: UC Davis senior center Alyson Doherty is on track to become the 17th player in the history of the program to reach 1,000 career points during the 2015-16 campaign. The senior from Lake Forest, Calif., enters the week with 941 points to her name over the past three-plus years and would be the second Aggie in the last three seasons to reach the milestone, joining her former teammate Sydnee Fipps, who did so during the 2013-14 campaign as only a junior.

GIANOTTI GOES OFF: Apparently, she wasn't finished. Just three days after tying her career high with 11 points against Pacific, sophomore forward Pele Gianotti did a little bit of everything in Thursday night's victory at San Diego State. The Oregon native exploded for a career-high 19 points on 7-of-11 from the field and a career-best five three-pointers, while also grabbing five rebounds in 37 minutes of play. In fact, Gianotti matched her previous career high with 11 points in the first quarter alone, finishing 4-of-4 from the floor with a trio of three-pointers.

(BLOCKED) SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS: For the fourth time in her career, senior Alyson Doherty finished with four shots in game on Thursday night at San Diego State -- a feat she last accomplished at home against UC Irvine on March 8, 2014. If that ever-elusive fifth blocked shot ever comes around for the Lake Forest, California, native, it will be the most by an Aggie in a single game since Paige Mintun swatted a Division I Era record seven shots against Pacific on Feb. 9, 2011.

DOHERTY DOING MORE: Senior center Alyson Doherty is up to her old tricks again, collecting her second double-double in three games to start the season at San Diego State last Thursday, finishing with a season-high 11 points and 10 rebounds in the win over the Aztecs. However, the senior wasn't finished filling up her stat line, adding those four blocks and a season-best five assists -- ranking second on the team behind only Dani Nafekh in the latter.

BERTSCH STRONG AS AN OAK: Redshirt freshman Morgan Bertsch (sounds like "birch") made her first career start a memorable one, finishing with a career high 14 points on 7-of-12 from the field to go along with five rebounds, a pair of blocks, and two steals, in 24 minutes, helping the Aggies to their first win of the season on Thursday at San Diego State. The performance helped the Santa Rosa, California, native move into the top 15 in the Big West Conference in four different categories: field goal percentage (5th, .526), defensive rebounds (T15th, 4.0 rpg), steals (T8th, 1.7 spg), and blocks (T7th, 1.0 bpg).

ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO: Thursday's win at San Diego State ended a three-game losing streak in true road games for UC Davis, dating back to a 74-67 overtime win at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 12, 2015. Meanwhile, the Aggies return to The Pavilion on Monday night against Air Force looking to snap a four-game home skid dating back to last year, having last posted a win in front of the hometown fans on Feb. 19, 2015, with an 83-66 triumph over Long Beach State.

CENTURY CLUB... AND COUNTING: A pair of blocks on Nov. 16 against Pacific put senior center Alyson Doherty among a select club at UC Davis, making her only the fourth Aggie to reach 100 career blocks. Having already posted two of the school's top-10 single-season block marks in the history of the program, Doherty joins Paige Mintun (2006-11), Kendall Greene (1992-96), and Janae Henning (1998-02), among those in the "century club." Thanks to her four blocks at San Diego State last Thursday, Doherty is just five back of Henning for third all-time, 15 behind Greene, and 46 back of career leader Mintun. Among the program's top single-season performances, Doherty blocked 35 shots during both her sophomore and junior years, ranking her in a tie for seventh on the single-season list.

IN A GIVING MOOD: With the holiday's fast approaching, UC Davis was in a giving mood last Thursday against San Diego State, posting a season-best 19 assists as a team -- one more than the Aggies posted in the first two games of the year combined and the most in a single game since dishing out 20 helpers against UC Irvine in the first round of the Big West Tournament on March 10 of last season.

CRASHING MORE THAN THE BOARDS: If the post tandem of Alyson Doherty and Celia Marfone can clean the glass as well as they did last season, the duo will crash their way into the Aggie career record books in the process. Doherty (533) and Marfone (493) are both within striking distance of Jessica Campbell (2003-06, 2007-08) and Sarah Allen (1998-03), who are tied for ninth with 591 career rebounds to their name. The career record is held by Carol Rische, who grabbed 1,028 boards from 1978-83.

MORE ON MARFONE: In fact, Marfone's 208 rebounds last season were quite a feat as the Laguna Hills, California, native became the first Aggie to grab at least 200 rebounds in a season since Lara Gray (204) in 2005 and posted the highest single-season total by an Aggie since Colleen Turnbull grabbed 278 boards in 2003. The single season record is held by Lisa Jo Kellogg, who finished with 301 rebounds during the 1990-91 campaign -- accounting for nearly half her career total of 698 that ranks fourth all time.

AGGIES FOR FREEEEE!: "To the line for the Aggies..." was a familiar refrain at The Pavilion on Nov. 16 against Pacific, as UC Davis attempted 31 free throws against the Tigers -- the most in a single game for the Aggies since they attempted 36 (making 31) at home against UC Santa Barbara in an 82-70 win on Feb. 1, 2014. UC Davis enters the week ranked third in the Big West in free throw percentage (.714), while three individuals (Rachel Nagel, Alyson Doherty, and Celia Marfone) all rank among the top 15.

DECADE OF DOMINANCE AT THE PAVILION: The Aggies have defended the home court well over the last 12 seasons, winning nearly two-thirds of their contests at The Pavilion to the tune of a combined 101-61 (.623) record dating back to 2003-04. In that span, UC Davis has suffered a losing home record only twice in 2008-09 (5-8) and 2012-13 (5-9) while posting double-digit win totals four times, including a high of 12 wins against only three defeats in 2010-11.

RECYCLED NOTES
AGGIES SIGN THREE IN EARLY PERIOD: A pair of Californians and an Oregon native make up a trio of talented frontcourt players who have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers with the UC Davis women's basketball program, Head Coach Jennifer Gross announced on Nov. 13. Forwards Sophia Song (Monterey Park, Calif. / Mark Keppel HS) and Nina Bessolo (Hayward, Calif. / Castro Valley HS) join post Emma Gibb (McMinnville, Ore. / Western Mennonite School) as early signees for the Aggies, who will begin their careers as true freshmen in 2016-17. The complete release, that includes bios on all of the signees, is available online at http://www.ucdavisaggies.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/111315aaf.html.

SO... HOW `BOUT THEM AGGIES?: The Aggies return a pair of starters and nine players overall off of last season's squad that finished 15-16 overall and 8-8 in Big West Conference play to end in a tie for fifth. Wins over UC Irvine and Long Beach State in the first two rounds of the conference tournament propelled UC Davis into the semifinals for the first time since 2011, where the Aggies fell to tournament champion CSUN.

ACCOLADES FOR ALY: Senior center Alyson Doherty was one of six student-athletes named to the preseason All-Big West team announced by the league office on Oct. 27. She is one of four seniors on the all-upperclassman squad as selected by a media panel, joined by UC Riverside's Brittany Crain and Annelise Ito, and Hawai'i's Ashleigh Karaitiana, along with juniors Mokun Fajemisin of UC Irvine and Raven Benton of Long Beach State. Doherty was also one of 10 student-athletes named to the College Sports Madness All-Big West squad, joining Crain, Benton, Ito, and Fajemisin, on the first team.

AGGIES PICKED SIXTH IN BIG WEST RACE: UC Davis was picked to finish sixth in the league by a media panel that covers Big West women's basketball with 75 points, finishing ahead of fellow tournament semifinalist Cal State Fullerton (46), UC Irvine (38), and UC Santa Barbara (26). Defending regular season champion Hawai'i was picked to repeat, garnering 13 of the 17 first-place votes and 147 points overall. UC Riverside (two first-place votes, 127 points), Cal Poly (one first-place vote, 107 points), CSUN (100 points), and Long Beach State (one first-place vote, 99 points), round out the top five.

TOURNEY-TESTED SCHEDULE: A total of 11 games against opponents that reached the postseason a year ago, including a season-opening clash with NCAA "Sweet 16" star Stanford, highlights the Aggies' 29-game regular season schedule for 2015-16. UC Davis faces off against NCAA Tournament participants Albany (first round), Stanford ("Sweet 16"), and CSUN (first round), which are joined by WNIT selections Pacific (first round), Saint Mary's (quarterfinals), Sacramento State (third round), Long Beach State (first round), and Hawai'i (first round), on this year's slate.

LET'S PLAY TWO: Harkening back to their old Division II days, the Aggies will join the UC Davis men's team on the floor for five doubleheaders this season -- including four of those in Big West Conference play. Following the season-opening twinbill against Stanford, the Aggies will face UC Irvine (Jan. 14), UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 30), Cal State Fullerton (Feb. 13), and CSUN (Feb. 27), in the first game of a double-dip with the men's squad, which will take on CSUN, Cal Poly, Long Beach State, and UC Irvine, respectively, after their season opener against North Dakota State on Nov. 13 that precedes the women's contest against the Cardinal.

SEEING DOUBLE: When Karley (older by one minute) and Kourtney Eaton take the floor for the first time, it is believed to be only the second time in the history of the program that UC Davis women's basketball will have had sisters take the floor together in the same season for the Aggies, joining Dru and Rachelle Hanft during the 1999 campaign. Taking it one step further, both sets of sisters are identical twins.

BY THE NUMBERS: With nine letterwinners returning for the 2015-16 season, the Aggies have a lot to work with. UC Davis returns 59 percent (1,178 of 2,010) of its points, 72 percent (785 of 1085) of its rebounds, 61 percent (434 of 717) of its made baskets, 65 percent (309 of 473) of its assists, and 52 percent (102 of 198) of its steals from the previous year. What does it all mean? We don't know, but numbers are fun.

WELCOME, STEPHANIE!: Long-time assistant coach and former UC Santa Barbara standout Stephanie Shadwell has joined the UC Davis women's basketball staff as the Director of Basketball Operations it was announced on Sept. 10. Shadwell takes over for the departed Heidi Heintz, who was named an assistant coach at UC San Diego. Shadwell comes to the Aggies after spending the 2014-15 campaign as an assistant at Cal State San Marcos, helping the Cougars to a 16-16 overall record and a second consecutive Association of Independent Institutions Conference title. CSUSM won 10 of its final 14 games en route to a berth in the NAIA Division I Championships. Read the complete release online at: http://www.ucdavisaggies.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/091015aaa.html.

AGGIES INVADE EUROPE: The now-graduated trio of standouts Sydnee Fipps, Kelsey Harris, and Briana Salvatore, skipped right over taking their talents to South Beach, hopping a plane for Europe to compete professionally on an international stage. Harris was the first to sign, as the sharpshooter inked a deal to play for the WSG `81 Koenigs Wusterhausen Red Dragons in August in the German 2nd Bundesliga. Fipps followed suit, signing a six-month contract to play for Clube Desportivo Torres Nova in Portugal in September, and was followed quickly by Salvatore, who wrapped up an internship as a public relations specialist with the IDIAP Research Institute in Lausanne, Switzerland, before joining Esperance sportive Pully in the Swiss Ligue Nationale de Basket.

Stats (as of Nov. 22, 2015... via Eurobasket.com)
                            GP    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%
Kelsey Harris          7    11.3    3.0    1.7    .469    .480
Sydnee Fipps          6    9.3    5.5    1.0    .500    .250
Brianna Salvatore    6    15.7    7.5    4.0    .439    .214

GREUBEL SIDELINED: Due to complications from the wrist injury that kept her out of all but the first three games of the 2014-15 season, UC Davis junior guard Molly Greubel will be sidelined for the 2015-16 season. The Santa Ana, California, native was coming off her best offensive season of her career in 2013-14, averaging a career-high 6.4 points and 2.8 rebounds, while posting 104 assists (3.35 apg) over 31 games (27 starts) as a sophomore. She set a school single-game record with 14 assists against UC Irvine on Feb. 8, 2014, breaking a mark that had stood for 24 years (Sara Lillevand, 13 assists vs. Cal State Stanislaus, March 10, 1990) and became the first Aggie with at least 10 assists in a game (Greubel had 11 in the first half alone against the Anteaters) since Kim Omer had 10 against San Francisco State in 2004.