East Coast Swing Tips-Off at No. 1 Connecticut

No. 1 Connecticut will be the 12th nationally ranked foe for the Aggies since they became Division I in 2007-08.
No. 1 Connecticut will be the 12th nationally ranked foe for the Aggies since they became Division I in 2007-08.

Dec. 4, 2013

DAVIS, Calif. -

UC Davis at No. 1/1 Connecticut
Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013
4 p.m. (PT)
XL Center
Hartford, Conn.
Game Coverage:
Live Stats | Live Audio (KDVS 90.3 FM) | ESPN3.com 

Complete Release in PDF Format

TIP-OFF: The toughest test of the season awaits the UC Davis women’s basketball season (2-4 overall) as the Aggies head East to take on the No. 1 team in the land, battling defending NCAA National Champion Connecticut on Thursday (Dec. 5) at 4 p.m. (PT) from the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. It is the first of two games on the East Coast for UC Davis, which travels to Hofstra on Saturday for a 10 a.m. (PT) tip-off from New York.

IN THE POLLS: Connecticut is the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation according to both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Poll, receiving all 36 and 32 first-place votes, respectively... UC Davis is unranked.

“HI, MOM!”: For those fans unable to make the trip to Hartford, the game will be broadcast regionally by SportsNet New York and streamed live over the Internet at www.WatchESPN.com. Eric Frede will have the call alongside analyst Meg Culmo and sideline reporter Kerith Burke. For SNY channel information, please visit web.sny.tv/about/subscribe.jsp.

VERSUS NUMBER ONE: Thursday will mark the second-consecutive season that the Aggies will face the number one team in the land and the third-straight year they will face-off against a top-five opponent. UC Davis hosted then No. 1-ranked Stanford at The Pavilion on Nov. 30, 2012, falling to the Cardinal by an, 87-38, count. Since moving to the Division I level in 2007-08, the Aggies have faced 11 teams ranked in the top 25 at the time of the game, including a No. 2-ranked Stanford squad in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament, but have yet to post a victory. Thursday will mark the second top-five opponent of the season for UC Davis after the Aggies fell to No. 3 Stanford, 66-48, back on Nov. 17 in Palo Alto, Calif.



UC DAVIS VERSUS THE TOP 25 (Division I 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, 87-38)
Nov. 17, 2013 - at #2 Stanford (L, 66-48)

I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: This week’s trip to the Northeast will mark the midway point of the Aggies’ longest stretch of road games in almost two decades beginning with last weekend’s tournament in San Luis Obispo. The six-game “roadie” is the longest for UC Davis since making the jump to Division I in 2007-08 and the program’s longest since they played seven-straight away from home in 1994-95, posting a 6-1 record during that trip. The Aggies will not play in front of the hometown faithful again until Dec. 21, when they host Houston Baptist at 12 p.m., to open a five-game homestand (its longest of the season).

A LOOK BACK AT THE WEEK THAT WAS: UC Davis earned its first two wins of the season in a successful week, routing Bay Area rival San Jose State, 95-61, at home before finishing 1-1 at the Holiday Beach Classic hosted by Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, falling to San Francisco, 69-67, and defeating Akron, 71-58. The Aggies shot a season-high 47 percent against the Spartans to earn their first home win of the season and followed that up with a 45 percent shooting performance against the Zips two games later. UC Davis was on fire from downtown, reaching double-digit makes from three in all three contests (more on that later).

A QUICK LOOK AT THE HUSKIES: Top-ranked and defending NCAA National Champion Connecticut enters the week with a perfect 9-0 mark, including a 6-0 record at home and a 3-0 mark against nationally ranked opposition this season... the Huskies are winning by an average margin og 37.6 ppg... at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. (the site of this week’s match-up), Connecticut is a combined 4-0 this season, 13-2 dating back to last year, and 136-13 (.913) all-time at the venue... sophomore Breanna Stewart (17.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) is one of four Huskies regulars averaging double figures this season, joined by teammates Bria Hartley (14.3 ppg), Stefanie Dolson (14.1 ppg, 10.6 rpg), and Moriah Jefferson (11.2 ppg)... a fifth, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, is averaging 10.5 ppg, but has played in only two games after suffering an injury back on Nov. 11... Connecticut is averaging 86.2 ppg and shooting 52 percent from the floor while allowing just 48.7 ppg and holding opponents to 31 percent shooting from the field.

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 by visiting facebook.com/UCDavisWomensBasketball as well as follow them on Twitter (@UCDavisWBB) and Instagram (instagram.com/ucdaviswomensbasketball). Game Day in-game updates are also available on Twitter by following us @UCDavisInGame.

“CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”: Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, live Internet audio will be available for both of this weekend’s contests from the East Coast as well as broadcast locally on KDVS 90.3 FM with Greg Wong and Sammy Meckler on the call. Please 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, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews, and features, including every home and conference contest. Now in its 10th year, BigWest.TV will again air all of the Aggies home and conference clashes FOR FREE during the 2013-14 campaign. Log on to www.bigwest.org/thisweek for weekly schedules or visit the women’s basketball schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com.

BIG WEST PARTNERSHIP FEATURES AGGIES: The Big West Conference announced Tuesday (Nov. 19) that the Aggies’ contest at Long Beach State on Feb. 20 will be one of three women’s regular season games to be broadcast live on ESPN3 thanks to the league’s new partnership with the network. In addition to the Jan. 18 game featuring UC Riverside and Hawaii and the Feb. 22 contest between Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine, six of the women’s conference tournament games will be carried on ESPN3 leading up to the championship game, which will be shown on FOX Prime Ticket. For a complete schedule, visit the Big West Conference’s website at http://www.bigwest.org//story.asp?story_id=17352.

I NEED STATS, STAT!: Live stats will be available for all of UC Davis’ home games, as well as selected road contests, throughout the year. Follow along by accessing the links on the women’s basketball schedule page at UCDavisAggies.com.

“HELLO, MY NAME IS...”: It’s another pair of first-time meetings for the Aggies this weekend during their trip East with inaugural meetings against both Connecticut and Hofstra -- the second- and third-consecutive first-time opponents for UC Davis after last weekend’s meeting against Akron which resulted in a 71-58 victory. Following this weekend, other newcomers to the Aggies’ all-time ledger this season will include home games against both Houston Baptist (Dec. 21) and Simpson University (Jan. 2).

“A” FOR EFFORT: The Aggies set a school single-game record with 39 three-point attempts in their Holiday Beach Classic opener last Friday (Nov. 29) against San Francisco, eclipsing the previous mark of 36 set against Stanford on Dec. 28, 2008. Of UC Davis’ 20 made baskets in the game against the Dons, a season-high 15 of those went in from long-distance as the Aggies finished shooting just under 40 percent from three-point range for the night. The 15 makes from beyond the arc nearly matched the school record, falling just two shy of the mark of 17 set against Cal Poly in 2007.

THREE-CO-LA: UC Davis is shooting a combined 41 percent as a team from three-point range over its past three contests (38-for-93) -- a stark contrast from the start of the season when the Aggies were just 19-for-67 (.284) in their first three games of the year. UC Davis is averaging 9.5 three-pointers per game this season, a mark that leads the Big West and ranks No. 7 in the NCAA entering the week.

BOMBS AWAY: Leading the charge from beyond the arc is junior Kelsey Harris who, in her last three contests, is shooting a robust .571 (12-for-21) from long distance, leading the Big West Conference (and ranking No. 21 in the nation) with 3.00 three-pointers made per game and standing tied for seventh in the league in three-point percentage (.400) entering the week. Of her 22 makes this season, 18 have come via the three-point basket, while 45 of her 53 field goal attempts have been from beyond the arc.

DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP)... DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP): The 58 points allowed in the Aggies’ 13-point win over Akron were the fewest scored by an opponent this season and the lowest point total for a UC Davis opponent since the Aggies held UC Irvine to just 43 points in a 47-43 victory on Feb. 28, 2013.

POINTS TAKEN: The 95 points scored against San Jose State on Nov. 26 were a season high and the most since the Aggies finished off a 102-62 win over the Spartans on Dec. 21, 2010. With its 71 points against Akron on Nov. 30, UC Davis reached the 70-point plateau for only the 11th time in the team’s last 36 games.

SWIPER, NO SWIPING: The Aggies finished with a season-best 18 steals against the Zips -- the most since UC Davis finished with 19 steals in back-to-back games against Navy and Houston Baptist on Nov. 23 and 24, 2012, respectively. Sydnee Fipps, Brianna Salvatore, and Kelsey Harris, each finished with four steals apiece to lead the way as the Aggies’ total matched their output from their previous three games combined.

FIPPS-ING OUT: After being held to single digits in the opener, junior forward Sydnee Fipps has found a groove offensively over the Aggies’ last five contests, reaching double figures in all five games while averaging 18.4 ppg, shooting 44 percent (29-for-66) from the floor, and 80 percent (24-for-30) from the line.

“O” MY: A season-high 95 points and their third game of at least 70 points this season highlighted a big offensive week for the Aggies, who saw their standing improve in a number of categories in the Big West entering this week’s games. UC Davis, which entered Thanksgiving week ranked last in the Big West in scoring (60.3 ppg), has now moved into the league’s upper half, improving by almost nine points per contest to stand fourth in the conference at 69.0 ppg. After shooting 42 percent from the floor in their three games, the Aggies moved up from seventh (.379) to start the week to third (.402) overall, while their three-point shooting improved them from sixth (.284) to a league-best 36 percent.

A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING: Sophomore Celia Marfone has been a “jill of all trades” for the Aggies of late, providing a little bit of everything, especially on the boards where she is averaging 6.7 rpg over her last three contests. After a balanced outing against San Jose State, Marfone contributed a career-high six assists to go with a season-high seven rebounds against San Francisco before matching her production on the glass the very next night and adding a season-best eight points in a win over Akron.

BALANCE ON THE BOARDS: Through six games this season, the Aggies have had five players lead them in rebounding with junior Kelsey Harris the only “repeat” on the list with seven rebounds against both USC and No. 3 Stanford. Six different players have grabbed at least 20 rebounds this season while three of those players are averaging better than five rebounds per contest.

MINUTES FOR EVERYBODY!: With an efficient roster of just 11 players, the Aggies have seen every member of the squad play at least one minute in four of the team’s six contests this season and features six players averaging better than 22 minutes per game.

CAN’T MISS: It sure seems that way for junior Brianna Salvatore, who continues to hold the hot hand to start the 2013-14 season. Entering last week having missed only three shots all season, Salvatore hit a little bump in the road last week, hitting on “only” 8-for-16 (.500) from the floor overall and 5-of-7 (.714) from beyond the arc. Salvatore, who shot a career-best 33 percent (38-for-114) from the floor as a sophomore in 2011-12, has opened her junior campaign by shooting better than 62 percent from the floor (which would lead the Big West had she met the minimum of 4.0 made per game) and a conference-best .714 (10-of-14) from three-point range (a total that would lead the nation if she met the minimum of 2.0 made per game).

THAT’S WHAT ALYSON DOHERTY’S ALL ABOUT: Sophomore Alyson Doherty came up huge against San Jose State on Nov. 26, tallying her first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds to go with a career high-tying three blocks in just 18 minutes as part of the Aggies’ 34-point win. It has jumpstarted a stretch that has seen the Lake Forest, Calif., native reached double figures in each of her last three games, averaging 14.0 ppg and 7.7 rpg while shooting .583 (14-for-24) from the floor and .867 (13-for-15) from the line.

STANDOUT HIGH SCHOOL QUINTET JOINS AGGIES: UC Davis head women’s basketball coach Jennifer Gross announced that five high school standouts have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers with the Aggies beginning with the 2014-15 season.

Among the group of recruits, three are California natives, one more hails from Oregon, and the final signee will join UC Davis from Canada. Morgan Bertsch (Santa Rosa, Calif./Santa Rosa HS), Pele Gianotti (Roseburg, Ore./Roseburg HS), Dani Nafekh (Oakville, Ontario, Canada/Oakville Trafalgar HS), Rachel Nagel (Cerritos, Calif./Whitney HS), and Lauren Seyranian (Piedmont, Calif./Piedmont HS), will join the Aggies’ roster beginning next season.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the quality and character of the five student-athletes joining our Aggie family next season,” Gross said. “This is an extremely exciting class with talent, size, and versatility, that gives us depth at every position. Each individual provides a unique skill set on the court that will help our program compete as one of the top teams on the West Coast in the coming years.

“However, they also have a few things in common. In addition to being great people, who completely buy into the ‘team’ culture that we pride ourselves on here at UC Davis, they are tremendous students who are highly motivated to succeed both on and off the court.”

For more information on the Aggies’ signees, the complete release is available at http://www.ucdavisaggies.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/111913aac.html.

DECADE OF DOMINANCE AT THE PAVILION: The Aggies have defended the home court well over the last 10 seasons, winning nearly two-third of their contests at The Pavilion to the tune of a combined 88-48 (.647) 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 victories against only three defeats in the 2010-11 campaign.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW: After scouring the record books it was uncovered that Fipps’ 17 free throws made at Pacific on Nov. 11 were a school record, breaking the previous mark of 15 set by Jackie Turpin against Cal Poly on Feb. 9, 2006. Fipps’ 20 attempts from the line were just off the school record of 22, currently held by Lisa Jo Kellogg against Chico State set on Feb. 15, 1991.

AGGIES PICKED SIXTH IN BIG WEST PRESEASON MEDIA POLL: UC Davis was picked to finish sixth in the race for the 2013-14 Big West Conference crown according to a vote of the league’s media members released by the conference office on Oct. 23. The Aggies garnered 72 points to finish ahead of Cal State Fullerton (59), UC Irvine (54), and UC Riverside (38). Defending conference champion Cal Poly was the popular pick to defending its title, receiving 17 first-place votes and 177 points overall to edge out second-place Hawaii (three first-place votes, 159 points). Cal State Northridge (121 points), Long Beach State (120), and UC Santa Barbara (100), round out the top five.

FIPPS HONORED: UC Davis junior Sydnee Fipps was one of six players named to the Big West Preseason All-Conference Team by the members of the media, one season after being named to the All-Big West First Team. Fipps started all 30 games for the Aggies in 2012-13, leading the team (and ranking second in the league) in scoring while pacing the team at 5.1 rebounds per game. She shot .443 from the floor, .319 from three-point range, and .817 from the line, while amassing the most points (512) by a sophomore in the history of the program.

TOURNEY TESTED SCHEDULE: The Aggies will embark on yet another challenging campaign in 2013-14, facing two of the sport’s legendary programs in preseason No. 3 Stanford and top-ranked defending NCAA champion Connecticut, as well as nine schools overall that saw action in either the NCAA Tournament or WNIT postseason event last season. The Huskies completed their run to their eighth national championship with a finals win over Louisville while the Cardinal advanced to the third round of the tournament before falling to Georgia. Big West Conference Tournament champion Cal Poly is the third NCAA Tournament opponent on the slate for 2013-14 while six other opponents (Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, Hawaii, Akron, Pacific, and Saint Mary’s) were WNIT qualifiers. 

HOWARD DEAN WOULD BE PROUD: Not only are the Aggies going to Stockton, they’re going to Palo Alto and San Luis Obispo and Hartford and Hempstead (New York) and Moraga and Santa Clara, in search of victories... YEAH! UC Davis will be playing eight of its first 10 contests away from the friendly confines of The Pavilion to tip-off the 2013-14 campaign with only regular season contests against USC (Nov. 8) and San Jose State (Nov. 26) contested in front of the hometown faithful in that stretch. The Aggies won’t return home for an extended stretch until Dec. 21, beginning a season-long five-game homestand against non-conference foes Houston Baptist (Dec. 21), Sacramento State (Dec. 28), and Simpson University (Jan. 2), before opening Big West Conference competition against Cal State Northridge (Jan. 9) and Long Beach State (Jan. 11). In all, UC Davis will host just 13 of its 29 regular season contests at The Pavilion this season.

ALL OVER THE MAP: Aside from its requisite slate of Big West Conference contests, the Aggies will face-off against opponents from eight different conferences, including four from the West Coast Conference (Pacific, San Francisco, Saint Mary’s, Santa Clara), two from the Pac-12 (USC and Stanford), and one each from the Mountain West (San Jose State), Mid-American (Akron), American Athletic (UConn), Colonial Athletic (Hofstra), Southland (Houston Baptist), and Big Sky (Sacramento State).

BY THE NUMBERS: With seven letterwinners coming back for the 2013-14 season, the Aggies return 65 percent (1,177) of their points, 75 percent (753) of their rebounds, half of their assists (182), just over half of their steals (173), and two-thirds of their blocked shots (67) from a season ago. What does that all mean? We don’t know, but numbers are fun.

THEY’RE BAAAAAAAAACK!: Aside from the new faces on the bench, Head Coach Jennifer Gross will also regain the services of a pair of players who missed out on last year’s campaign due to injury as Brianna Salvatore and Lauren Beyer bounce back to compete once again in 2013-14. Salvatore appeared in only six games last season before going down, scoring six points and grabbing 20 rebounds a season after averaging a career-best 3.5 ppg and 2.7 rpg as a sophomore. Beyer, a 2011 McDonald’s High School All-America nominee as a senior after helping Bradshaw Christian School to four CIF Sac-Joaquin Section titles, has missed the better part of the last two years since suffering a season-ending injury just two games into her freshman season sitting out all of 2012-13 to recover.