With finals looming, Aggies face test at No. 11 Cardinal

Rachel Nagel (center) and Pele Gianotti (right) mob teammate Dani Nafekh (#13) after the latter tied a school record with her eighth three-pointer of the game vs. San Diego State on Dec. 2, 2016, at The Pavilion. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
Dec. 3, 2016

NEXT UP...
GAME 7: UC Davis (5-1) at #11 Stanford (7-1)
Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016
2:00 p.m.
Maples Pavilion (7,233)
Stanford, Calif.
TV: None
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM
Game Coverage: UC Davis Gameday Central | UC Davis Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Stanford Women's Basketball

TIP-OFF: With final exams looming on the horizon in the classroom, UC Davis (5-1 overall) faces a huge test on the court on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 4), traveling to the Bay Area to take on No. 11 Stanford in a 2 p.m. matinee tip off at Maples Pavilion.

IN THE POLLS: UC Davis is unranked this week... Stanford is the unanimous No. 11 team in the nation according to both the Associated Press and USA Today polls... The Aggies are scheduled to face another top 25 team in No. 24 (AP)/18 (USAT) Oregon State on Dec. 14.

VERSUS THE TOP 25: Since making the jump to Division I in 2007-08, UC Davis has played 14 games against teams ranked in one, or both, of the national polls, including the top-ranked team in the nation in three straight seasons: 2012-13 (Stanford), 2013-14 (UConn), and 2014-15 (UConn). The Aggies, however, have yet to post a victory in any of those contests against nationally ranked foes, coming no closer than 12 points against No. 22 South Dakota State on Dec. 17, 2008. Sunday will mark the ninth time that UC Davis will meet a ranked Stanford squad during the regular season.

UC Davis vs. the Top 25 (Division I results only)
Dec. 2, 2007 - at #6 Stanford (L, 62-41)
Dec. 9, 2007 - at #18 Arizona State (L, 77-56)
Dec. 3, 2008 - vs. #25 Arizona State (L, 73-59)
Dec. 17, 2008 - at #22 South Dakota State (L, 59-47)
Dec. 28, 2008 - at #11 Stanford (L, 84-49)
Nov. 22, 2009 - vs. #2 Stanford (L, 76-51)
March 19, 2010 - at #2 Stanford (L, 86-59... NCAA First Round)
Nov. 21, 2010 - at #15 UCLA (L, 65-49)
Nov. 30, 2011 - at #5 Stanford (L, 93-44)
Nov. 30, 2012 - vs. #1 Stanford (L, 87-37)
Nov. 17, 2013 - at #2 Stanford (L, 66-48)
Dec. 5, 2013 - at #1 UConn (L, 97-37)
Nov. 14, 2014 - vs. #1 UConn (L, 102-43)
Nov. 13, 2015 - vs. #16 Stanford (L, 74-43)

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 CARDINAL: Perennial power Stanford enters Sunday's game with a 7-1 record following a, 77-56, win at CSU Bakersfield on Dec. 1... Winners of their last five, the Cardinal's only loss this season came in a, 68-63, defeat at home against Gonzaga on Nov. 18... Stanford is 2-0 against the Big West this season, having defeated Cal Poly (83-55) on Nov. 11 and CSUN (88-54) on Nov. 20... Senior forward Erica McCall leads the team in both scoring (17.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg), while junior guard Brittany McPhee (15.0 ppg) and senior guard Karlie Samuelson (11.6 ppg) are also in double figures.

SERIES NOTES: According to records that date back to the 1971-72 season, Stanford leads the all-time series with UC Davis, 11-10, having won the last 10 meetings -- including a, 74-45, win at The Pavilion in Davis last season... This year marks the sixth straight season that the two teams will meet dating back to an NCAA Tournament first-round clash in 2011... UC Davis has lost its last eight trips to Stanford, with the program's last win coming on Jan. 15, 1977, by the score of 71-35 -- part of a nine-game winning streak in the series for the Aggies.

START ME UP: Five wins in its first six games has UC Davis off to its best start since the 2011-12 season when they opened with five straight wins before falling to Santa Clara on the road. Opening the year at 4-0 for only the third time in the program's Division I history, the Aggies were among a group of 42 remaining unbeaten teams in the nation entering its contest against Hofstra on Nov. 27, before the Aggies fell to the Pride, 64-60.

AGGIES INK THREE TO NLIs: 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.

OH, CANADA!: Oakville, Ontario, native Dani Nafekh torched the nets at The Pavilion to the tune of a career-high 28 points against San Diego State on Dec. 2, tying a school single-game record with eight three-pointers in the process. Hitting 10-of-14 overall, and 8-of-11 from beyond the arc in the game, Nafekh matched sharpshooter Kelsey Harris' mark set against Long Beach State on March 11, 2015. Prior to Friday, Nafekh hadn't hit more than three, three-pointers in a game in her UC Davis career, the last time coming against Utah Valley en route to a then-career high 17 points on Dec. 31 of last season.

TWO FOR 20: No, it's not the latest meal deal at your favorite restaurant. Joining Nafekh with a 20-point night against the Aztecs was sophomore Morgan Bertsch, who shot 9-of-16 from the field on her way to 20 points and her second career 20-point scoring performance. It gave UC Davis a pair of 20-point scorers in the same game for the first time since Rachel Nagel and Pele Gianotti poured in 20 points apiece against Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 13 of last season.

SIX-FOR-SIX: With their performances on Friday night against San Diego State, Nafekh (who reached double figures only three times all of last season) and Bertsch, are the only two Aggies to open the season with double-digit point totals in each of the team's first six games.

STRONG AS A BERTSCH: While the oak has long regarded as one of the strongest woods in nature, the Aggies are proving that a "Bertsch" can be just as durable in any conditions. Dating back to last season, the Santa Rosa, Calif., native has reached double figures in each of her last 14 games, averaging 18.1 ppg and shooting .611 (99-for-162) from the floor.

ONE HALF EQUALS A WHOLE LOT OF SUCCESS: UC Davis finished Friday night's game against San Diego State shooting 50 percent from the field for the contest -- the third time in six games that the Aggies have hit at least half their shots in a game this season, winning all three.

HELP WANTED: UC Davis finished with a season-high 23 assists on its 30 makes against the Aztecs -- the most assists in a game since the Aggies finished with 24 assists on 28 makes against Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 13, 2016.

EATON MAKES IT LOOK EASY: Sophomore Kourtney Eaton is averaging better than five assists per game, and has posted a better than 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, in her last two games, collecting five assists against Hofstra and a season-high six more against San Diego State. Those marked the 12th and 13th times in 38 career games that Eaton has finished with five-or-more assists in a game, including a career-high nine against UC Riverside in the semifinals of last year's Big West Tournament.

DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP)... DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP): While the offense has been grabbing the headlines, one can't forget about the Aggies' defensive effort, which held San Diego State to just under 30 percent shooting from the floor on Friday night. UC Davis has held three of its six opponents to under 30 percent from the field this season -- including a season-low .253 against Holy Names on Nov. 13 -- and has allowed only one opponent to shoot better than 36 percent after Pacific shot .534 in a, 95-87, Aggie win on Nov. 21 in Stockton, Calif.

#PROTECTTHEPAVILION: Friday's win over San Diego State improved the Aggies to 4-1 within the friendly confines of The Pavilion this season and helped UC Davis to its eighth win in its last 10 on its home floor. Under the direction of Head Coach Jennifer Gross, UC Davis is 41-31 (.569) at home in the last five-plus seasons.

ON THE LINE: UC Davis made just two trips to the line and finished with just four free throw attempts (making three) in the win over San Diego State on Friday night -- its fewest since finishing 3-for-4 as a team from the stripe at No. 1 UConn on Dec. 5, 2013.

BLOCK PARTY: Junior Marly Anderson finished with a career-high three blocks and Bertsch added two more in the Aggies' win over San Diego State on Friday night, as the two have combined for 19 of the team's 26 swats thus far.

SHE CAN DISH IT OUT: Fresh off a season that saw junior Dani Nafekh set a school single-season Division I Era record with 130 assists last season, the Oakville, Ontario, Canada, native has picked up right where she left off through the first six games this season, recording 26 assists and averaging 4.3 apg. The total gives her 222 for her career, making her only the fifth UC Davis player to reach that plateau in the program's Division I history, joining Hana Asano (278), Blair Shinoda (223), Alyson Doherty (214), and Celia Marfone (206), while placing her 52 shy of Jessica Campbell (2003-06, 2007-08) for 10th all-time.

SCORE!: Buoyed by back-to-back 90-point offensive outbursts against Holy Names and Pacific, the Aggies finished Friday night ranked as the Big West's top scoring team (76.2 ppg), helped along -- in large part -- by their Big West-best field goal percentage (.481) and three-point percentage (.386), and second-ranked free throw percentage (.731). Overall, UC Davis -- which also boasts the league's second-rated defense (61.8 ppg) -- entered the game against San Diego State ranked No. 19 in the NCAA in field goal percentage led by sophomore Morgan Bertsch, who ranked No. 39 in the country.