MORAGA — With Wednesday’s trip to Santa Clara, the UC Davis women’s basketball team will try to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Aggies endured a rugged East Coast swing during which the locals were routed 97-37 at No. 1 Connecticut on Dec. 5. Two days later, Hofstra stopped UCD, 76-57.
Now, after an 88-71 setback at St. Mary’s (8-1) on Sunday, UCD tries to shake the cobwebs against the Broncos (3-6). Game time is 5:30 p.m.
“St. Mary’s is pretty loaded. (It’s a) senior-heavy team and they can get you inside and out,” reported Aggie head coach Jennifer Gross. “Being down two starters inside, we were trying to knock down threes and do some different things, but I didn’t think offense was the problem. Defensively, we gave up too many buckets and gave up too many boards.”
Alyson Doherty (illness) and Celia Marfone (leg) are listed as “day-to-day” by Gross, but until the pair returns, UCD’s role players will get more court time.
“Whenever one player goes down, it’s a chance for another to step up. It will only help us long-term. No matter what is thrown at us, I think we have the players who can come in and do well,” the coach added.
Against the Gaels, 3-pointers by Heidi Johnson and Kelsey Harris gave the Aggies a 6-3 lead before they went cold and missed their next nine shots.
That first half would then be dominated by a series of runs.
First. St. Mary’s went on an 18-0 burst.
UCD, using a potpourri of lineups, was held scoreless for more than eight minutes of the first half as the Gaels kept coming.
However, a basket by Sydnee Fipps snapped the streak and sophomore guard Molly Greubel helped orchestrate a 14-6 Aggie surge.
But St. Mary’s, led by swingman Danielle Mauldin (who finished with 23 points) outscored the visitors 16-3 before Greubel’s trey ended the half at 44-30.
Fipps also finished with 23 — all but three of those points coming after intermission.
However, the Gaels were off and running again. This time a 9-0 skein buried the Aggies (2-7), who trailed by as many as 24 points.
Nonetheless, runs were in vogue and a 16-3 blitz brought UCD within 13.
Greubel finished with 17, Harris had 11 and Johnson contributed eight.
Kate Gaze had 11 points for the Gaels and Mauldin added 14 rebounds.
Aggie men — ”It was a difficult challenge because most of the guys in our league aren’t (at least 6-foot-10 like the men) I was guarding,” junior post Clint Bozner said after Saturday’s 83-56 loss at Stanford.
Bozner scored six points as fellow insidemate Georgi Funtarov added 13 filling in for the injured Josh Ritchart (leg).
“I think we played well … our shots just didn’t fall (Saturday),” Bozner, an LA. Trade Tech transfer, said afterward.
On consecutive possessions, Bozner scored on a terrific spin move, then got physical with a shoulder-lowered lay-in — despite having two 6-10 Cardinal players hanging out in the paint.
“I can score inside pretty well,” the beefy 6-foot-8 Bozner continued. “I’m usually one of the strongest guys … if I can get a guy one-on-one in the post, I can usually score down there.”
But the loss was the Aggies’ sixth straight and Wednesday they meet San Jose State on the road (7 p.m.).
The Spartans (3-6) are coming off of their best performance of the season, a 73-68 upset of Houston (6-4) in Texas.
Sitting at 3-8, UCD is struggling shooting. The Ags’ offensive touch was once considered an asset. Right now it’s a liability.
For the year, hitting 44 percent from the field looks OK, but that includes 34 percent from beyond the arc. The Aggies are far off those numbers during the six consecutive losses. Considering UCD shot 40.5 percent from 3-point range a year ago, the locals are clearly in a slump.
“We’re going to get out of it, I know we are,” Bozner said. “Our shots just aren’t falling. We’re such a great offensive team, that sometimes our shots don’t fall and we take it to defense.
“We’ve let our offensive (shortcomings) dictate our defense sometimes, but we’ll get it turned around.”
Notes: The women and men return to The Pavilion for a Saturday afternoon doubleheader. The women meet Houston Baptist (3-5) at noon and the men face Air Force (6-4) at 2:30 p.m. … St. Mary’s center Amanda Arter and Harris were teammates at Brea Olinda High. … “We started two freshmen (Darius Graham and Brynton Lemar) … and they led us in scoring and did some really good things,” UCD men’s coach Jim Les said Saturday at Maples Pavilion. “Those guys are getting thrown to the wolves a little bit and they responded pretty well.”
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-320-4456.