Friday, April 18, 2014

Aggie women run past Riverside


UCD's Celia Marfone takes a shot in a game earlier this season. Marfone scored 19 points as the Aggies won at UC Riverside, 77-67, on Thursday. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

RIVERSIDE — Four UC Davis women’s basketballers scored in double figures on Thursday as the Aggies used a key second-half run to win, 77-67, at UC Riverside.

Junior Sydney Fipps scored 15 of her game-high 22 points after intermission and helped key a 13-0 spurt that clinched a Big West Conference victory for UCD (7-9, 2-1).

The Aggies’ fifth win in seven games, this one at SRC Arena in Riverside, sent the Highlanders to 4-12 overall and 0-3 in league play.

“Every year we have great battles with UC Riverside,” UCD head coach Jennifer Gross said after her team shot 50 percent on the night, including 65 percent before the break. “It comes down to execution and we had a stretch there around the middle of the second half where we got stops and we got scores and that put us over the top.”

Trailing by four with just under 13 minutes to play, the Aggie offense found a groove as a free throw by Fipps ignited the decisive run, a burst that included back-to-back 3-pointers from junior Kelsey Harris and Fipps that gave the Aggies the lead for good. Riverside was held without a point for 4:37 during that stretch until a jumper by Brittany Crain, who finished with a team-high 20 points, ended the drought.

The Highlanders came no closer than eight points the rest of the way as UCD made 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes to ice the game.

“I was really pleased,” Gross said. “There are still areas where we need to clean things up, but I thought our offensive execution was very, very good. We had four players in double figures, we had different players stepping up and knocking shots when we needed them and, overall, it was just a good team win.”

Fipps buried 7-of-11 from the field overall to finish with her eighth 20-point game of the season and tied a career high with five steals. Aggie sophomore Celia Marfone added a career-high 19 points on 4-of-6 from the floor and 10-of-11 from the line, while Harris (15) and sophomore Alyson Doherty (14) also finished in double figures. Doherty paced the team with five rebounds.

Natasha Hadley (17 points), Akilah Martin (12), and Annelise Ito (11) joined Crain in double figures for the Riverside, which shot 48 percent for the game, but just 37 percent after the break as UCD made its move.

An early 8-0 run broke a 6-6 tie to start the game and nine straight points by Marfone helped the Aggies to their largest lead of the game to that point at 26-15 with 11:39 to play before intermission.

UCD led by 10 points at the under-eight timeout, before the Highlander offense began to click, exploding for a 12-4 run over a four-minute stretch to make it a two-point game at 35-33 with 3:42 to play in the first half.

A basket by Fipps and a pair of free throws by Molly Greubel stemmed the tide for the Aggies, but Riverside continued to hit shots, closing the first half on a 9-3 run, including a near-half-court heave by Martin at the buzzer, to draw the Highlanders even at the break, 42-42.

UCD stays on the road, playing at Fullerton on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Notes: After her 22 points, Fipps needs just 50 more to become the 16th Aggie to reach 1,000 for her career. Fipps has led the team in scoring 14 time in 16 games this season. … The Aggies are 6-1 this season when tied or leading at the half.

The Associated Press


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