Streaking Aggies put perfect start on the line against Dons

Dec. 5, 2017

NEXT UP…
San Francisco (3-4, 0-0 WCC) at UC Davis (7-0, 0-0 Big West)
Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 | 5:00 p.m. | The Pavilion (5,931) | Davis, Calif.
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM (PBP: Greg Wong… ANALYST: Max Agress)
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TIP-OFF: Off to the program’s best start in more than two decades, the streaking UC Davis women’s basketball team looks to continue its roll at The Pavilion this week, closing out a brief homestand against San Francisco on Wednesday evening (Dec. 6) at 5 p.m. in the first game of a doubleheader with the men’s team.

AGGIES HOLD STEADY IN MID-MAJOR TOP 10: UC Davis held steady at No. 8 in the nation for the second consecutive week according to the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll released on Tuesday (Dec. 5). The Aggies are one of three unbeaten teams in this week’s poll along with Navy (7-0) and Ball State (6-0), while upcoming opponent Saint Mary’s (Dec. 9 in Moraga, Calif.) is ranked No. 12 this week. After opening the season at No. 20 in the preseason poll, UC Davis jumped to No. 17 in the second poll of the year on Nov. 14, and was No. 11 a week later on Nov. 21.

ELSEWHERE IN THE POLLS: Neither UC Davis, nor San Francisco, are ranked in either the Associated Press or USA Today top 25 polls this week.

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 SAN FRANCISCO: The Dons enter the week with a 3-4 overall record after splitting a pair against No. 16 Stanford (L, 86-66) and San Jose State (W, 87-81)... Four of the team’s seven games thus far have come on the road, with USF posting a 1-1 mark in true road contests... Senior forward Michaela Rakova leads a quartet of Dons starters in scoring, averaging 12.6 ppg to go with 7.1 rpg and a .412 field goal percentage... Junior guard Shannon Powell (12.1 ppg), senior guard Anna Seilund (12.0 ppg), and senior guard Kalyn Simon (10.9 ppg), are also in double figures.

SERIES NOTES: San Francisco holds a narrow, 7-6, lead in the all-time series with UC Davis... The Aggies snapped a three-game losing skid in the series with a 78-58 victory over the Dons last season on the road... The 78 points by UC Davis in that game were the most scored by the Aggies in the history of the series... UC Davis is 4-2 at home against USF, with the Dons posting a narrow, 73-70, in the last meeting at The Pavilion back on Dec. 2, 2014... The Aggies’ last win at home in the series came back in 2011 via a 64-50 decision on Nov. 22.

CONFERENCE CALL: UC Davis is 45-51 all-time against the West Coast Conference, posting a perfect 2-0 mark this season following wins over Pepperdine and Pacific... The Aggies have won the last eight straight against WCC opponents dating back to a, 66-53, loss to Pacific on Nov. 16, 2015... UC Davis has faced seven of the league’s 10 current members: Pepperdine (2-3), Portland (2-2), San Francisco (6-7), Pacific (15-13), Saint Mary’s (12-12), Santa Clara (8-11), and Gonzaga (0-3).

BERTSCH HONORED BY COLLEGE SPORTS MADNESS: For the third time in four weeks, junior forward Morgan Bertsch has been named the College Sports Madness Big West Player of the Week following a career night against Causeway rival Sacramento State. Bertsch won her first award, along with Big West Player of the Week honors, on Nov. 13, and took home her second honor on Nov. 27 as teammate Rachel Nagel took home the conference’s weekly award.

WINNING START: Still the only unbeaten team in the Big West entering the week (and one of only 15 remaining undefeated teams in the NCAA), UC Davis is 7-0 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 -- and is the best start since the 1994 squad opened with seven consecutive victories.

AND ANOTHER ONE: Some notes on the Aggies’ hot start to the 2017-18 campaign entering this week’s contests:
• The seven straight wins to start the year rank as the third-longest (tied) active winning streak in the nation, trailing only New Mexico (nine straight) and Southern California (eight straight)...
• The 10 straight wins at home ranks as the 13th-longest (tied) active streak in the NCAA and one of 17 schools with double-digit home winning streaks...
• Small, yet substantial, the Aggies’ three straight road victories are tied for the ninth-longest active streak in the country.

AGGIES TOP BIG WEST IN FIRST RPI: In the first RPI ranking released by the NCAA on Dec. 4, the Aggies come in at No. 47 in the nation, easily out-distancing UC Riverside (No. 183) for tops among Big West Conference schools.

#PROTECTTHEPAVILION: A 4-0 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 10 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 Sacramento State last week, UC Davis has now won 20 of its last 23 on its home floor, and is a combined 53-32 (.624) at The Pavilion under Head Coach Jennifer Gross.

HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE: The Aggies’ 10 straight wins at home is their longest winning streak since they won 13-in-a-row at The Pavilion from Jan. 7, 2010 to Dec. 27, 2010. The record for consecutive home triumphs is 20 set from Dec. 6, 1996 to Nov. 29, 1997.

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 regular season 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.

LET’S PLAY TWO!: Ernie Banks would be proud. The UC Davis women’s basketball team will be the opening act in four home doubleheaders with the men’s team this season beginning Wednesday against San Francisco, with dates against UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 27), CSUN (Feb. 10), and UC Irvine (Feb. 24) to follow. The Aggies have won eight straight doubleheader dates, 14 of their last 15, and are 21-4 in their half of a twinbill during the Division I era -- including an 11-2 mark against Big West opponents. In 25 all-time home doubleheaders, both UC Davis teams have swept their ends of the doubleheader 13 times, including six of the last eight.

I’LL TAKE BERTSCH FOR 20 PLEASE, ALEX: In what has, seemingly, become a regular occurance this season, junior biomedical engineering major Morgan Bertsch has been the answer offensively for the Aggies to start the year, collecting her sixth straight 20-point game thanks to a career-high 29 points in the win over Sacramento State last week. The total tied the program’s Division I record for points in a game and were the most since Sydnee Fipps finished with 29 against UC Riverside on Jan. 15, 2015. Bertsch, who scored 19 points against Washington State for her only non-20 point game of the year, now has 25 career 20-point games, inching closer to the Fipps’ record of 32 from 2011-15.

SIX... AND COUNTING: Bertsch’s six straight 20-point games are a program Division I record, surpassing Fipps’ five straight from Dec. 15 to Jan. 2 during the 2013-14 season.

DOUBLE-DIGIT DAMAGE: After tying the school’s Division I single-season record with 29 games with 10-or-more points, Bertsch is back at it again with seven such performances in the Aggies’ first seven games -- giving her 57 for her career and solidifying her hold on fourth place on the school’s Division I career list. Teammates Pele Gianotti (45) and Rachel Nagel (35) also rank sixth and ninth, respectively, on that same career list, chasing record-holder Sydnee Fipps, who collected 80 career games with double digits in the scoring column from 2011-15.

MOVIN’ ON UP: Bertsch’s 29 points last week against Sacramento State moved her past Brenda Wyneken (1981-84) and into 13th on the school’s all-time scoring list, setting her sights on Colleen Turnbull (1999-03), just eight points ahead. With 17 more points, Bertsch will bulldoze her way into the top 10, passing not only Turnbull (1,137 points), but Lisa Jo Kellogg (1,143) and Kari Sivesind (1,145) as well.

JUST IMAGINE IF SHE PLAYED A FULL 40: Leading the way in the Big West with better than 23 points per game in only 22.7 minutes per contest, Bertsch has scored more points (162) than minutes played (159) through seven games this season, and would average 40.8 ppg per 40 minutes. While the idea of that happening is intriguing, we’ll have to settle for her more pedestrian 23.1 ppg this season -- which only ranks eighth in the nation entering the week.

CENTURY MARK: Already the fifth Aggie to reach the century mark in career blocks at Seattle on Nov. 26, Bertsch swatted another shot in the win over Causeway rival Sacramento State last week, giving her 103 for her career and placing her just six back of Janae Henning (1998-02) on the all-time list. 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.

THE STORY OF THE 300: Both senior Dani Nafekh and junior Kourtney Eaton stand on the verge of a slice of history, entering this week’s contests with 299 career assists apiece -- tied with Kari Sivesind (1992-96) for eighth on the school’s all-time list, and one shy of joining a select group of seven former Aggie greats who have accumulated 300 assists in a career. The all-time record is held by UC Davis head coach Jennifer Gross, who dished out 448 assists during her stellar four-year Aggie career from 1993-97.

MAKING GOOD ON THOSE PASSES: A good number of those assists this season have been thanks to the reliable hands of Bertsch, who enters the week ranked No. 6 in the NCAA in made baskets with 72, trailing only Iowa’s Megan Gustafson (87), Florida State’s Shakayla Thomas (82), Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell (80), South Carolina’s A’Ja Wilson (77), and Baylor’s Kalani Brown (76).

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 on Nov. 26, 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.

DELICIOUS DISH: Kourtney Eaton enters the week ranked No. 22 in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.14), No. 23 in assists per game (6.3), and No. 36 in total assists (44). The Aggies, meanwhile, rank among the top 20 in the nation in all three categories: assists per game (No. 7), assist-to-turnover ratio (No. 15), and total assists (No. 20).

GIMMIE FIVE!: All five starters finished in double figures in the win over Sacramento State -- the first time that has happened this season and the first since Rachel Nagel (17), Dani Nafekh (15), Morgan Bertsch (15), Marly Anderson (11), and Nina Bessolo (10), accomplished the feat at UC Irvine on Jan. 5, 2017.

NOT HALF BAD: UC Davis has led at the half in all seven games, with last week’s four-point, 31-27, advantage at the break against Sacramento State its smallest lead of the year after 20 minutes of play. In fact, in 28 quarters, the Aggies have lost the scoring battle only three times (the fourth quarters against Washington State and Pepperdine, and the third quarter against Sacramento State), while tying a fourth (the fourth quarter against Portland State).

IN THE MARGINS: The seven-point margin of victory against the Hornets was the Aggies’ second smallest, trailing only the five-point win over Pepperdine on Nov. 12. In the other five wins, UC Davis has posted an average margin of victory of 22.2 ppg -- the largest being a 32-point win at Pacific on Nov. 20.

LEADERS, NOT FOLLOWERS: UC Davis has led for nearly 252 of a possible 280 minutes this season, never falling behind by more than six points (Nov. 17 vs. Portland State) at any point in a game this season and leading wire-to-wire twice in victories over Pepperdine and Seattle.

THREEE-CO-LA!: The Aggies enter the week ranked No. 9 in the NCAA in three-pointers per game (10.3), No. 4 in three-point percentage (.444), and No. 17 in total three’s made (72), while senior managerial economics major Dani Nafekh and classmate Rachel Nagel rank among the top 20 individuals at No. 9 (.538) and No. 16 (.514) in the country, respectively.