Gaels, Aggies clash in Sunday matinee

Dec. 7, 2016

NEXT UP…
GAME 8: Saint Mary's (4-4) at UC Davis (5-2)
Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016
2:00 p.m.
The Pavilion (5,931)
Davis, Calif.
TV: None
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM
Game Coverage: UC Davis Gameday Central | UC Davis notes Get Acrobat Reader | Saint Mary's Women's Basketball

TIP-OFF: With fall quarter final exams behind them, the Aggies turn their attention back to the court this weekend as UC Davis (5-2 overall) hosts Bay Area rival Saint Mary’s on Sunday (Dec. 11) in the team’s final home game of the calendar year. Tip off is scheduled for 2 p.m. from Bob Hamilton Court at The Pavilion.

IN THE POLLS: UC Davis is unranked this week... Saint Mary’s is unranked according to the Associated Press and USA Today polls, but stands No. 14 according to the CollegeInsider.com women’s mid-major top 25.

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 GAELS: Saint Mary’s enters the week with a 4-4 overall record heading into its game against UC Davis... The Gaels have won their last two games, defeating Cal Poly (79-71) and San Jose State (85-64) last week... Winless at home this season, Saint Mary’s is a solid 4-1 away from McKeon Pavilion on the year... Junior guard Stella Beck leads a quartet of double-digit scorers for the Gaels this year, averaging 13.4 ppg and leading the team with 35 assists, while shooting .514 from the field... Megan McKay (13.1 ppg), Sydney Raggio (12.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg), and Devyn Galland (10.5 ppg), are also all in double figures... As a team, Saint Mary’s is shooting better than 46 percent from the field, led by McKay’s .634 field goal percentage.

SERIES NOTES: Saint Mary’s leads the all-time series with UC Davis by a slim, 12-11, count dating back to the 1978-79 season... The Aggies snapped a four-game losing streak in the series with a thrilling, 78-71, overtime win over the Gaels last season in McKeon Pavilion... Saint Mary’s edged UC Davis, 57-55, on a last-second shot in the two teams’ last meeting at The Pavilion, and have won two straight in Davis dating back to a, 71-62, win for the Aggies on Dec. 1, 2010 -- the last in a run of four straight wins for UC Davis.

CONFERENCE CALL: Sunday’s contest will be the Aggies’ third against a West Coast Conference opponent this season with UC Davis looking to improve upon its 2-0 mark following victories over Portland (66-52) and Pacific (95-87)... The Aggies are 41-51 all time against the WCC... UC Davis has faced seven of the league’s 10 members: Pepperdine (1-3), Portland (2-2), San Francisco (5-7), Pacific (14-13), Saint Mary’s (11-12), Santa Clara (8-11), and Gonzaga (0-3)... The Aggies are scheduled to face one more WCC opponent this season: San Francisco on the road on Dec. 21.

BERTSCH RECOGNIZED: Averaging 16.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, sophomore Morgan Bertsch was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week by the website College Sports Madness. Bertsch opened her week with a 20-point, seven-rebound performance in the win over San Diego State on Dec. 2, following that up with 12 points and seven more boards against nationally ranked Stanford two days later. She shot 43 percent (13-for-30) from the field, 75 percent from the line, and blocked three shots.

START ME UP: 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.

#PROTECTTHEPAVILION: UC Davis’ win over San Diego State on Dec. 2 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.

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.

FROM WAAAY DOWNTOWN: Helped along by her record-setting night against San Diego State, Nafekh finished the weekend shooting 10-for-15 (.667) from beyond the arc, pushing her league-leading three-point percentage to .594 through the first seven games -- a mark that ranks her fourth in the NCAA behind California’s Asha Thomas (.630), Baileigh O’Dell of Lamar (.621), and Vanderbilt’s Rebekah Dahlman (.609), as of Dec. 5. Nafekh’s 19 makes overall leads the team, is tied for tops in the Big West, is just two shy of her total (21) from all of last season, and represents better than half of her 37 combined makes from her first two years in a UC Davis uniform.

SEVEN-FOR-SEVEN: Thanks to a late second-half push, sophomore Morgan Bertsch was able to keep alive her string of double-digit scoring performances this season, scoring 10 of her team-high 12 points after the break at No. 11 Stanford on Sunday to make it a perfect 7-for-7 to start the year. Teammate Dani Nafekh had her run to start the season snapped after finishing with only nine points against the Cardinal.

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 15 games, averaging 17.7 ppg and shooting .585 (103-for-176) from the floor.

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 seven games this season, recording 26 assists and averaging 3.7 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.

ONE FOR YOU... NONE FOR YOU: Sophomore Kourtney Eaton is a giver when it comes to her teammates, but not so much when it comes to the opposition. Eaton has dished out 22 assists against only six turnovers in her last five games and leads the Big West (No. 32 in the NCAA) with a 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio overall this season. Her six assists against San Diego State on Dec. 2 marked the 13th time in 39 career games that the Longview, Wash., native 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.

SWAT TEAM: When it comes to patrolling the paint, not many have done it better than the Aggies’ tandem of sophomore Morgan Bertsch and junior Marly Anderson, who have combined for 21 of the team’s 29 swats thus far this season. Bertsch, who ranks second in the Big West in both blocks (11) and blocks per game (1.57), has tallied at least one block in each of UC Davis’ first seven games, while Anderson, who stands third in the league with 10 blocks overall and 1.43 blocks per game, has a run of six straight contests with at least one block. Bertsch set a season high with three blocks against Holy Names on Nov. 13, while Anderson has blocked three shots twice this season against Montana State (Nov. 23) and San Diego State (Dec. 2).

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 seven 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.

ONE WAY OR THE OTHER: UC Davis’ game at No. 11 Stanford marked the first time this season that the Aggies did not hold a lead at some point in a game, while they have led wire-to-wire once against Holy Names on Nov. 13. UC Davis has come from behind to win in four of its five wins, including bouncing back from an 11-point second-quarter deficit at Pacific on Nov. 21.

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.