UC Davis women thump Sac State 110-78 for Causeway Cup win
Sacramento State has set a number of school, conference and NCAA Division I women’s basketball records playing its up-tempo “The System.”
But it was rival UC Davis that put on the record-setting performance on Sunday afternoon in the annual Causeway Cup game against the Hornets.
The Aggies scored a D-I program high for game points in a game in beating the Hornets 110-78 at The Nest.
The total surpassed the 102 points the Aggies scored in a win over San Jose State six years ago, and it is the second most in program history. UCD scored 117 points at Metro State in 1998 when the Aggies were in D-II.
The Aggies (7-3) shot 61 percent (40 of 66) from the field, made 25 of 27 from the foul line, grabbed 51 rebounds, had 26 assists and blocked nine shots – all season highs.
It was the biggest margin of victory between the two teams in the series since UCD moved to D-I.
Sophomore forward Morgan Bertsch led seven UCD players in double figures with 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
Junior guard Maranne Johnson had a game-high 23 points for Sac State (4-7), but the Hornets were well off the 97 points they had been averaging at home entering the game.
“They played at a much higher level today, and they have a very good basketball team,” Sac State coach Bunky Harkleroad said of the Aggies. “I think they are going to be there at the end in (the Big West Conference). They hit shots, they played poised, they have all the pieces, and they’re very well coached.”
It was the Hornets’ largest margin of defeat this season for a team that fell earlier to Cal (97-73) and USC (111-95).
UCD used its superior size and length to disrupt Sac State defensively – the Hornets shot 32 percent (27 of 84) from the field – and made quick and heady passes to find open players all over the court, but especially down low where the 6-foot-4 Bertsch and 6-2 Marly Anderson towered over the Hornets.
Anderson made her first seven shots in finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds. Juniors Dani Nafekh (14 points), Rachel Nagel (13) and Pele Gianotti (11) joined freshmen Sophia Song (13) and Nina Bessolo (11) in scoring in double figures, and sophomore Kourtney Eaton had eight assists.
“For us this week, we talked about poise on offense and rebounding,” said UCD coach Jennifer Gross. “We felt if we took care of the ball, we could limit their second chances and have a shot to win. I was proud of our kids. I felt we really came out and executed the game plan.”
The Aggies took a 13-3 lead four minutes into the game, led by 26 points at the half and by as many as 37 points late in the fourth quarter.
Sac State had no answer for the towering and mobile Bertsch, who was a force offensively inside and a disrupting presence on defense while playing only half the game.
“Sac State is definitely very different than a lot of teams we play,” Bertsch said. “It takes a special kind of preparation for a game like this. We did a great job of passing out of the double teams and a great job of finding the open person.”
Sunday’s game was the second of six in a row on the road for the Aggies, a streak that will carry them into 2017. They play Tuesday at USF. Sac State will next play Dec. 29 at Northern Colorado in its Big Sky Conference opener.