Aggies give thanks on the road at Southern Utah and Seattle

Nov. 22, 2017

UC Davis (4-0, 0-0 Big West) at Southern Utah (1-3, 0-0 Big Sky)
Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 | 1:00 p.m. PT | America First Event Center (5,300) | Cedar City, Utah
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM (PBP: Greg Wong… COLOR: Max Agress)
FOLLOW: Live Video | Live Stats | Tickets | UC Davis Notes | Southern Utah Notes

UC Davis (4-0, 0-0 Big West) at Seattle (2-2, 0-0 WAC)
Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017 | 2:00 p.m. PT | Connolly Complex (999) | Seattle, Wash.
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM (PBP: Greg Wong… COLOR: Max Agress)
FOLLOW: Live Video | Live Stats | Tickets | UC Davis Notes | Seattle Notes

TIP-OFF: Four straight victories and fresh off a huge win at local rival Pacific last week, the UC Davis women’s basketball team gives thanks on the road this weekend, heading out for games at Southern Utah and Seattle. The Aggies and Thunderbirds tip off on Friday (Nov. 24) at 1 p.m. PDT in Cedar City, Utah, in a game to be televised on PlutoTV channel 236, before UC Davis heads to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Redhawks in a Sunday (Nov. 26) matinee at 2 p.m.

AGGIES JUMP IN COLLEGE INSIDER MID-MAJOR POLL: The Aggies’ perfect start to the year has them making yet another jump in the Mid-Major poll, rocketing up to No. 11 in this week’s poll -- a jump of six spots after opening at No. 20 on Oct. 31, and standing at No. 17 last week. Last season, the Aggies spent a season-long four consecutive weeks among those receiving votes from Feb. 14 to March 7, making their debut in the “votes” column on Dec. 13 and picking up a season-high 11 votes on Jan. 10 after opening Big West play with a 2-0 mark.

ELSEWHERE IN THE POLLS: Neither Southern Utah, Seattle, nor UC Davis, are ranked in either the Associated Press or USA Today top 25 polls.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in UC Davis athletics by “liking” us on Facebook ( and following us on Twitter (@UCDavisAggies). You can also “like” the women’s basketball program ( as well as follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@ UCDavisWBB). In-game updates on game day are also available on Twitter by following @UCDavisWBB.

SCOUTING SOUTHERN UTAH: Friday’s game against UC Davis will be the third in a four-game homestand for the Thunderbirds, who enter the weekend with a 1-3 record... Following losses to BYU (75-67), San Diego (72-59), and Binghamton (72-66), Southern Utah claimed its first win of the year on Tuesday night against Utah State, 70-67... Junior guard Breanu Reid leads the way offensively, averaging 12.5 ppg and shooting .385 from the field, while senior center Whitney Johnson (12.0 ppg) and freshman guard Natalie Sanchez (11.0 ppg) are also in double figures.

SERIES NOTES: UC Davis is a perfect 3-0 against Southern Utah, but the two programs haven’t met since the Aggies posted a, 76-53, victory over the Thunderbirds in a tournament hosted by Air Force on Dec. 6, 2014... UC Davis has faced Southern Utah only once on the Thunderbirds’ home court, with the Aggies walking away with a 64-44 win on Nov. 14, 2008.

SCOUTING SEATTLE: The Redhawks enter the week with a 2-2 overall record, hosting Portland State on Wednesday before welcoming UC Davis to the Pacific Northwest... Seattle is riding a two-game winning streak, having posted back-to-back wins over UC Santa Barbara (77-71) and Pepperdine (65-62) on the road heading into its game against the Vikings... The Redhawks are 0-2 at home this season... Senior wing Alexis Montgomery leads the team offensively, averaging 20.0 ppg while shooting .403 from the floor and 9.0 rpg... Sophomore guard Kamira Sanders, the reigning Western Athletic Conference player of the week, is also in double figures at 15.5 ppg, shooting .457 from the field.

SERIES NOTES: UC Davis has won three of the four all-time meetings with Seattle dating back to the 2008 season, following a loss in the first-ever meeting with three straight wins... The Aggies and Redhawks haven’t met since the 2011-12 season, posting a, 66-62, win in Seattle back on Nov. 13, 2011... UC Davis is 2-0 on Seattle’s home court, adding a, 71-49, win during the 2009-10 campaign.

CONFERENCE CALL: UC Davis is a combined 38-38 against the current Big Sky Conference alignment following its victory over Portland State last week... The Aggies have won three straight -- and six of their last seven overall -- against Big Sky members... The Aggies are 22-10 against the current Western Athletic Conference membership, having not faced a league opponent since a, 59-55, win over Utah Valley on Dec. 31, 2015... UC Davis has won its last seven consecutive contests against the current WAC lineup, having not lost since an, 80-71, setback to CSU Bakersfield on Feb. 25, 2009.

WINNING START: Still the only unbeaten team in the Big West entering the weekend (and one of 65 remaining undefeated teams in the NCAA), UC Davis is 4-0 to start a season for the second consecutive year and has at least that many victories to tip-off the year for the third time in the program’s Division I history, trailing only the 5-0 starts in 2007 and 2011. The overall school record in the NCAA era (since 1982) is seven straight wins to begin the year, set in 1991 and later matched by the 1994 season.

#PROTECTTHEPAVILION: A 3-0 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, winning their last nine straight at home dating back to a, 64-51, loss to Long Beach State on Jan. 12 of last season. Thanks to last week’s win over Portland State, UC Davis has now won 19 of its last 22 on its home floor, and is a combined 52-32 (.619) at The Pavilion under Head Coach Jennifer Gross.

WE CAN WIN ON THE ROAD TOO: Following their 32-point road win at Pacific on Monday night, the Aggies have won their last six consecutive road games dating back to a, 64-62, loss at Long Beach State on Jan. 21 of last season, and eight of their last nine overall with only a defeat at Washington State in the WNIT “Sweet 16” to close out the 2016-17 campaign.

20-20 VISION: When senior psychology major Rachel Nagel and junior biomedical engineering major Morgan Bertsch each finished with 20 points in last week’s win over Portland State, it marked the first time that the Aggies have had two players with 20-or-more points in the same game since Feb. 22 of last season against Cal Poly when Pele Gianotti finished with 25 and Dani Nafekh added 22 more in the team’s 83-75 victory.

“TREY” BIEN!: After draining 12 more three-pointers in Monday’s win at Pacific, the Aggies have now hit 10-or-more three’s in a game for the third time in four contests this season, and four of their last five overall dating back to WNIT contests against Colorado State and Washington State last season. The 17 three-pointers made in this year’s season opener against the Cougars, tied the school’s single game record originally set on Jan. 11, 2007, against Cal Poly and later matched against Long Beach State on Feb. 19, 2015.

THREEE-CO-LA!: The Aggies enter the weekend ranked No. 3 in the NCAA in three-pointers per game (12.3), No. 4 in three-point percentage (.495), and No. 4 in total three’s made (49), while senior managerial economics major Dani Nafekh stands No. 7 in the nation in three-point percentage (.692).

POINTS TAKEN: The 90 points scored on Monday night at Pacific marked the second time this season that the Aggies have reached that plateau this year -- just one shy of last year’s total when they scored 110 at Sacramento State (Dec. 18), 95 at Pacific (Nov. 21), and 91 against Holy Names (Nov. 13).

NAGEL IS NAILS: Senior psychology major Rachel Nagel’s 20-point performance against Portland State marked the fourth such game of the La Palma native’s career, and her first since lighting up Washington State for the same number during last year’s WNIT. The 20 points came via a career-high tying six three-pointers and marked the eighth consecutive double-digit performance dating back to last season, averaging 17.3 ppg during that stretch.

WINDEX WOMEN: Senior Marly Anderson cleaned the glass to the tune of a career-high tying 11 boards and was joined in double figures by Pele Gianotti, who added 10 rebounds as part of her 18-point double-double. It marked the first time since March 11, 2016, against UC Riverside at the Big West Tournament that the Aggies had a pair of players with double-digit boards.

DANI DISHES HER WAY TO PROGRAM RECORD: Already the program’s Division I record holder for career assists with 295, senior guard Dani Nafekh needs only five more assists to become the eighth player in the history of the program with 300 for a career. Nafekh surpassed Hana Asano’s mark of 285 set from 2008-12 for the Division I mark and stands ninth on the all-time list, just four back of Kari Sivesind (1992-96) for eighth.

GIBB MAKES HER DEBUT: When redshirt freshman Emma Gibb grabbed a rebound and dished out an assist against Portland State on Feb. 17, it marked the McMinnville, Ore., native’s Division I debut and her first game since her junior year of high school after missing all of her senior prep season and her first year at UC Davis due to injury.

BY THE NUMBERS: Losing only one player off of last season’s roster means Head Coach Jennifer Gross has an embarassment of riches statistically to work with for the 2017-18 campaign. The Aggies bring back all but 17 of their 2,274 points, all but 20 of their 1,242 rebounds, all but seven of their 533 assists, all but five of their 846 field goals made, every one of their 252 three-pointers, and all but seven of their free throws, from the 2016-17 season. What does it all mean? We don’t know, but numbers are fun.

MILESTONE ACHIEVED: UC Davis junior forward Morgan Bertsch became the 18th player in the history of the program to reach 1,000 career points with her basket inside at the 1:49 mark of the third quarter on Nov. 12 against Pepperdine. Bertsch, who finished with a career-high tying 27 points -- 21 of those in the second half -- in the win over the Waves, became only the fourth junior in program history to accomplish the feat, joining all-time leading scorer Carol Rische, Sydnee Fipps (who ranks No. 2 on the all-time list), and Ellen Porshneva (who is No. 8 all-time in career points).

HOW BIG WAS THE HOOP?: En route to her 27 points against Pepperdine, Bertsch broke the UC Davis Division I single-game record for field goals made in the process, making 13-of-18 from the field to eclipse Jessica Campbell’s mark of 12 against Saint Mary’s on Dec. 17, 2007.

BERTSCH NETS BIG WEST WEEKLY HONORS: Thanks to her efforts on opening weekend, Bertsch picked up Big West Conference Player of the Week honors for only the second time in her career on Nov. 13 -- the first since her 27-point night at San Francisco led to the honor on Dec. 26. The league award is the 15th earned by an Aggie since UC Davis joined the Big West in 2007-08, and the first since Pele Gianotti was honored on Feb. 27, 2017. Read the complete release:

SO… HOW ‘BOUT THEM AGGIES?: UC Davis returns all five starters and all but one player off of last season’s squad that finished 25-8 overall and 14-2 in the Big West Conference to clinch the regular season title. Although they were eliminated in the semifinals of the league tournament, the Aggies earned the program’s first-ever postseason victory with a win at Utah in the opening round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, and advanced all the way to the event’s round of 16 before falling on the road at Washington State. Junior post, and biomedical engineering major, Morgan Bertsch leads the way offensively after averaging 15.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game en route to All-Big West first team honors, while fellow first-teamer, Pele Gianotti, and second-team selection, Dan Nafekh, were also in double figures at 11.2 and 11.0 ppg, respectively.

AGGIES SIGN TALENTED GUARD DUO: UC Davis head women’s basketball coach Jennifer Gross reloaded her backcourt with a pair of signings on Nov. 8, inking local standout Makaila Sanders and Washington native Cierra Jo McKeown to National Letters of Intent. Sanders, a 5-9 guard from Sacramento’s Foothill HS, and McKeown, a 5-9 guard out of Walla Walla Community College and Touchet, Wash., will join the Aggies for the 2018-19 campaign. McKeown is the first junior college transfer in the program’s Division I history and the first since Tatiana Armstrong (College of San Mateo) in 2006-07. To read the complete release, including brief bios on the two signees, please visit:

AGGIES WEARING BIG WEST TARGET: UC Davis was picked to repeat as Big West Conference champions by both the coaches and media, according to a vote released on Oct. 25. The Aggies received six of the nine first-place votes from the coaches and 16 of the 19 first-place nods cast by the media en route to the top spots. UC Davis finished with 77 points overall in the coaches poll to shade second-place CSUN (69) and UC Santa Barbara (63), while collecting 166 points in the media poll, to out-place the Matadors (148) and Gauchos (112).

DAVIS DUO ARE PRESEASON PICKS: The Aggies placed a pair of returning starters on the coaches’ six-member preseason all-conference team in junior post Morgan Bertsch and senior forward Pele Gianotti -- both All-Big West first team picks a season ago -- while Bertsch was also selected to the preseason all-league squad by the media. Bertsch earned a spot on the conference’s preseason squad for the second straight season, while Gianotti became the sixth UC Davis player to earn preseason laurels, joining Bertsch, Haylee Donaghe, Paige Mintun, Sydnee Fipps, and Alyson Doherty.

TOURNEY TESTED SCHEDULE: A non-conference schedule that features six postseason teams from a year ago, and eight that finished among the top 150 in the final RPI rankings, sets the scene for the the Aggies in 2017-18. UC Davis will take on a pair of NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago in Oregon State and Big West rival Long Beach State, while Washington State (semifinals), Seattle (first round), Saint Mary’s (first round), UCF (second round), and Fordham (second round), all made the postseason WNIT field.

BERTSCH’S BLOCK BONANZA: With her two blocks against Washington State in last year’s season finale, Bertsch set a new school record with 57 swats in 2016-17 and enters the new season with 93 for her career -- just seven shy of becoming the fifth player in school history to reach the century mark in that category. The biomedical engineering major from Santa Rosa, Calif., stands just 57 blocks shy of Paige Mintun (2006-11) and her 150 blocks for the career record.

STATE OF THE AGGIES: Half of the 16-member 2017-18 UC Davis women’s basketball roster is made up of players from outside the state of California -- the highest number of out-of-state student-athletes in the program’s Division I history. The eight out-of-staters have a decided Pacific Northwest tilt as the Aggie coaching staff has successfully mined the state of Oregon for three players (Pele Gianotti, Marly Anderson, and Emma Gibb), two more from Washington (Kourtney and Karley Eaton), and another from British Columbia (Sage Stobbart) -- giving UC Davis a pair of Canadians along with senior Dani Nafekh (Ontario). Transfer guard Katie Toole, who must sit out due to NCAA transfer rules, hails from Farmington, Utah -- the first “Beehive State” native in the program’s Division I history.

SEEING DOUBLE: Karley (older by one minute) and Kourtney Eaton are believed to be only the second set of sisters to take the floor together in the history of the women’s basketball program, joining Dru and Rachelle Hanft, who played together during the 1999 campaign. Taking it one step further, both the Eaton’s and Hanft’s are identical twins.