After a tough loss at Hawai’i, UC Davis women’s basketball team headed back to Davis and had two Big West Conference games last week with varying results. The Aggies fell to first-place Cal Poly with the score of 81-72 on Jan. 30 but with an exciting 82-70 victory on UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 1 at the Pavilion.
UC Davis’ first matchup was with the Cal Poly Mustangs, who are currently ranked first place in the Big West standings with a 13-8 overall and 7-1 in conference play. The Aggies started strong in the first half; with seven early points by sophomore Alyson Doherty, UC Davis gained a 16-10 lead six minutes into the game.
However, back-to-back field goals and three-pointers by Cal Poly’s Molly Schlemer, Kristen Ale and Nwamaka Ofodu helped the Mustangs push out a 20-3 run, which gave them a 30-19 lead midway through the half.
The Aggies once bounced back by scoring 11 points to climb within two points to tie the game with three minutes to play in the half. Although freshman Taylor McGuire made a three-pointer buzzer beater, the Mustangs eventually went up by eight points, thanks to a 9-0 burst in the last three minutes, to end the first half.
In the second half, the Mustangs came out strong and extended the lead to as many as 12 points. UC Davis was once closed to within 63-62 with 6:51 to play after a layup by McGuire and a three-pointer by junior Kelsey Harris, but the Mustangs soon answered with an 8-2 run. The Aggies eventually lost the game with the score of 81-72.
Forward Doherty scored a team-high 20 points to go with a team-high six rebounds. Junior Sydney Fipps added 15 points and five rebounds. Cal Poly’s Schlemer picked up a game-high 26 points. Both teams shot well in this game. Cal Poly shot 53.6 percent from the field, whereas UC Davis shot 47.4 percent overall.
After losing two games consecutively, UC Davis aimed to gain a victory from the matchup with the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, who also lost two-games straight and had a 1-5 conference record before this game.
The Gauchos got off to a strong start, pushing out an 11-point lead after back-to-back buckets by Melissa Zornig with seven minutes into the half. But soon the Aggies bounced back by scoring a 17-7 run to tie the game at 27-27 with 4:57 to play in the half.
In the rest of the first half, both teams traded buckets, and with a pair of free throws by Doherty, the Aggies went up by one to end the half 35-34. UC Davis shot 40.9 percent from the field while UC Santa Barbara shot 35.5 percent.
Guard Harris shot a three-pointer to open the second half, and all the players got off a hot hand, pushing out a 17-8 run and extending the lead to 52-42 with 13:28 to play.
The Gauchos continued to chip away and eventually closed to within 58-53 with 7:18 to go; however, back-to-back layups by Fipps and Doherty and a three-pointer by Harris helped keep the Gauchos away.
The Aggies kept their lead till the end of the game, and they eventually won over the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos with a score of 82-72. UC Davis improved to 9-11 on the season and 4-3 in Big West play.
Forward Fipps scored 21 points and reached 1,000 career points. Doherty continued her good form by adding a game-high 23 points and eight rebounds. Harris finished with 14 points and sophomore Celia Marfone scored 12 points to go with seven rebounds.
The Aggies will head back to the road to face second-place Cal State Northridge on Feb. 6, and will visit UC Irvine on Feb. 8.
— Janet Zeng