Sacramento State (1-5, 0-0 Big Sky) at UC Davis (6-0, 0-0 Big West)
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 | 7:00 p.m. PT | The Pavilion (5,931) | Davis, Calif.
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM (PBP: Greg Wong… COLOR: Max Agress)
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TIP-OFF: Off to the program’s best start in its Division I history, the UC Davis women’s basketball team returns home to host Causeway rival Sacramento State in its only game of the week, welcoming the Hornets to The Pavilion on Thursday (Nov. 30) for a 7 p.m. tip off.
AGGIES MOVE INTO MID-MAJOR TOP 10: A historic start to the 2017-18 season has the UC Davis women’s basketball team enjoying a meteoric rise up the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major top 25 poll, settling in at No. 8 according to the latest rankings released on Tuesday afternoon. After opening the season at No. 20 in the preseason poll, the Aggies jumped to No. 17 in the second poll of the year on No. 14, and entered last week at No. 11.
BREAKING NEWS: Just hours after the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll was released, the ESPNW.com mid-major top 10 was published, with the Aggies making their debut on the list at No. 6. The complete story is available by clicking here.
ELSEWHERE IN THE POLLS: Neither UC Davis, nor Sacramento State, 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 (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 @UCDavisWBB.
SCOUTING SACRAMENTO STATE: The Hornets enter the week with a 1-5 overall record, snapping a five-game skid to open the year with a 27-point win over UC Riverside on a neutral court in Reno, Nev., on Sunday... Sacramento has yet to play a home contest this season as Thursday’s game against UC Davis closes out seven straight on the road to start the year... Sophomore Hannah Friend, a transfer from Delaware, leads a trio of Hornets in scoring at 16.8 ppg to go along with 6.2 rpg, joined by teammates Maranne Johnson (15.3 ppg) and Dana DeGraffenreid (12.0 ppg).
SERIES NOTES: Just as a rivalry should be, the series between the Aggies and Hornets is close, with Sacramento State leading the series, 29-28, according to records that date back to 1971-72... UC Davis has won two of the last three meetings following last year’s 110-78 win in Sacramento... The Hornets, however, have won the last two at The Pavilion, posting a, 92-77, victory in the last visit in 2015... Of the Aggies’ 28 wins, 14 of those have come at home with the location of six games in the early part of the series unknown.
CONFERENCE CALL: UC Davis is a combined 39-38 against the current Big Sky Conference alignment following its victories over Portland State and Southern Utah... The Aggies have won four straight -- and seven of their last eight overall -- against Big Sky members... UC Davis has won its last two against the Big Sky at home, downing Portland State this season and Montana State on Nov. 23 last year, last suffering a loss at The Pavilion to a conference member against Sacramento State on Dec. 13, 2015.
WINNING START: Still the only unbeaten team in the Big West entering the weekend (and one of 27 remaining undefeated teams in the NCAA), UC Davis is 6-0 to start a season for the first time in the program’s Division I history, eclipsing the previous 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.
OH, YES, THEY CALL IT A STREAK: The six straight wins to start the year rank as the fifth-longest (tied) active winning streak in the nation, the three straight road victories are tied for the eighth-longest active streak in the country, while the nine straight wins at home ranks as the 15th-longest active streak in the NCAA.
NAGEL NABS BIG WEST WEEKLY HONORS: She scores. She rebounds. She plays lock-down defense. Now, she’s the reigning Big West Conference Player of the Week. Senior Rachel Nagel averaged 15.7 ppg and shot just under 59 percent from the field for the Aggies last week, helping UC Davis to a perfect 3-0 record on the road with wins at Pacific, Southern Utah, and Seattle. It is the first career weekly honor for the psychology major and the 16th overall for an Aggie since joining the league, becoming the 11th different UC Davis player to win the award. Read the complete release here: http://www.ucdavisaggies.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/112717aaa.html.
#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 its 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 a 32-point road win at Pacific on Nov. 20, and back-to-back 26-point victories at Southern Utah and Seattle, the Aggies have won their last eight road games dating back to a, 64-62, loss at Long Beach State on Jan. 21 of last season, and 10 of their last 11 overall with only a defeat at Washington State in the WNIT “Sweet 16” to close out the 2016-17 campaign.
I’LL TAKE Morgan Bertsch FOR 20 PLEASE, ALEX: Junior biomedical engineering major Morgan Bertsch has been the answer offensively for the Aggies to start the year, averaging 22.2 points per game over the team’s three road wins last week and extending her streak of 20-point performances to five following a 25-point effort in the win over Seattle on Sunday. The total gave her 24 for her career, inching her closer to the school record of 32 career 20-point performances held by Sydnee Fipps from 2011-15.
BERTSCH GIVES OPPOSING DEFENSES NO QUARTER: When Bertsch finished with 10 points in the opening quarter on Sunday at Seattle, it marked the ninth time this season that an Aggie has finished with 10-or-more points in a single quarter -- seven of those by the Santa Rosa, Calif., native alone.
CENTURY MARK: When she wasn’t putting the ball in the hoop, Bertsch was doing her best to make sure the Redhawks weren’t following suit, stuffing four blocks on Sunday to make her the fifth Aggie all time to reach 100 for a career, finishing the day with 102. Bertsch, who set the school single-season record with 57 swats as a sophomore last season, is within striking distance of career record holder Paige Mintun, who blocked 150 shots from 2006-11.
YOU’RE ON THE LIST: With her 25 points at Seattle, Bertsch moved up two spots on the school’s all-time scoring list, passing her assistant coach, Des Abeyta (1996-00), and Sarah Allen (1998-03) for 14th with 1,099 career points. Next up: Brenda Wyneken (1981-84) in 13th with 1,103 points.
JUST IMAGINE IF SHE PLAYED A FULL 40: Leading the way in the Big West with better than 22 points per game in 22 minutes per contest, Bertsch has scored more points (133) than minutes played (132) through six games this season, and would average 40.3 ppg per 40 minutes.
YOU GET A BASKET! YOU GET A BASKET!: It’s the season of giving, and junior psychology major Kourtney Eaton was in a giving mood at Seattle, dishing out a career-high 11 assists in the Aggies’ 26-point win. The 11 helpers are tied for the seventh-most in a game in the history of the program and the most since Molly Greubel set a school record with 14 assists at UC Irvine on Feb. 8, 2014. Two days earlier, it was her sister’s turn, as Karley Eaton distributed seven of the team’s season-high 26 assists in UC Davis’ 26-point win over Southern Utah.
AND NOW THERE ARE TWO: Sunday’s performance in the Emerald City helped rocket Kourtney Eaton into the school’s all-time top 10 in assists, ranking 10th with 292 and giving the Aggies a pair of active players on that list entering the week. Eaton stands just three back of senior teammate Dani Nafekh in ninth, who holds the school’s Division I record with 295. Both are chasing Kari Sivesind in eighth, who accumulated 299 assists from 1992-96.
MAKING GOOD ON THOSE PASSES: A good number of those assists this season have been thanks to Bertsch, who enters the week ranked No. 3 in the NCAA in made baskets with 60, trailing only Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell (68) and Iowa’s Megan Gustafson (64).
THREEE-CO-LA!: The Aggies enter the week ranked No. 9 in the NCAA in three-pointers per game (10.5), No. 6 in three-point percentage (.450), and No. 10 in total three’s made (63), while senior managerial economics major Dani Nafekh stands No. 7 in the nation in three-point percentage (.600).
20-20 DOUBLE VISION: For the second time this season, Bertsch and Nagel teamed up to each score 20 points in a game in the Aggies’ win at Seattle, finished with 25 and 23, respectively, just a week after the duo went for 20 points apiece in a win over Portland State.