A home crowd and some improved play in Wednesday games should lift the holiday spirits of the UC Davis men’s and women’s basketball teams as the Aggies will play a doubleheader Saturday at The Pavilion.
The men are coming off a triple-overtime 89-85 loss at San Jose State while the women topped Santa Clara, 75-70, on the road.
UCD’s men (3-9) have dropped seven straight but the women improved to 3-7 and snapped a three-game losing streak.
The doubleheader, the first of two at home in the next two weeks, features Houston Baptist (3-5) facing the Aggie women while Air Force (6-4) flies in for the nightcap. Game times are noon and 2:30 p.m., respectively.
“It was a gritty win,” UCD women’s coach Jennifer Gross explained of the victory over Santa Clara (3-7). “We knew we were going to have to grind this one out. Even before the game started, we knew this was going to be an evenly matched contest.”
Down two starters — Alyson Doherty (illness) and Celia Marfone (leg) — the Aggies were buoyed by the 22-point performance of All-Big West forward Sydnee Fipps. Fipps added four rebounds and a career-high four assists.
Guard Molly Greubel (11 points) and forwards Heidi Johnson (15) and Kelsey Harris (14) were solid contributors.
The UCD women haven’t played at home since beating San Jose State, 95-61, on Nov. 26.
Speaking of the Spartans, SJSU came from 14 points down at halftime to nip the Aggie men on Wednesday.
Corey Hawkins led UCD with 18 points and three local freshmen — Darius Graham, Brynton Lemar and Georgi Funtarov — combined for 39 points. Iggy Nujic added 13.
Air Force opened its season with a 79-68 win over Army and earlier in the week stopped Big West member UC Riverside, 62-52.
Notes: The two Aggie squads will meet Simpson on Jan. 2 in another doubleheader. UCD’s women tip-off at 4:45 p.m. and the men start at 7 p.m. in that twinbill. … Aggies Josh Ritchart and Marfone are recovering from almost identical lower right-leg strains and both coaches Gross and Jim Les indicate they are “day-to-day.”
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-320-4456.