Importance grows for short week of Aggie basketball

By From page B1 | February 12, 2014


UCD point guard Molly Greubel has been playing better and better in recent games, including setting the school's single-game record for assists with 14 on Saturday at UC Irvine. The Aggies host Fullerton on Thursday at 7 p.m. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

At least there’s a little rest for the weary this week.

In its only contest of the week, UC Davis will try to get back on track in Big West Conference women’s basketball when Cal State Fullerton comes calling Thursday (7 p.m.) at The Pavilion.

The Aggies get Saturday off.

Coming off of a 79-73 overtime loss at UC Irvine last weekend, the locals are now 5-4 and standing in a four-way tie for third place in the league standings. The Titans (8-13, 4-4 in Big West) sit a half-game behind UCD, Long Beach State, the Anteaters and Hawaii.

In their first meeting on Jan. 18, the Aggie squeezed by Fullerton, 69-67, in overtime.

But UCD coach Jennifer Gross says every night is a battle in this conference:

“Any night, any gym, any school can beat the other,” Gross told The Enterprise recently.

That No. 3 seed in the conference postseason tournament is wide open — and who’s to say, with seven Big West contests remaining, that first-place Cal Poly (14-8, 8-1) or runner-up Cal State Northridge (11-13, 7-3) can’t be caught?

But right now it’s one step at a time, and it seems that UCD point guard Molly Greubel is finding her stride.

In the overtime loss in Orange County on Saturday, the 5-foot 9 sophomore from Foothill High (Santa Ana) felt right at home. Her school-record 14 assists — while playing all but one minute of the contest — kept the Aggies in the game till the end.

Gross hopes Greubel’s field-general abilities grow as the home stretch of the regular season will be demanding, although four of UCD’s final conference games are at The Pavilion.

Sure to make a repeat appearance on the All-Big West squad, Aggie forward Sydnee Fipps has been steady with a 17.1 ppg average, and sophomore forward Alyson Doherty (12.2 ppg and 6.2 rebounds) has been playing well lately.

Kelsey Harris’ 61 3-pointers are a league best.

The four-guard Titan offense is directed by Chante Miles, who remains the team’s leading scorer (over 13 points a night) while averaging 4.4 assists an outing.

Forward Kathleen Iwuoha is asked to do the dirty work inside and the junior has responded with a 6.9 rebound average while scoring 10 points a game.

Meanwhile, UCD’s men (8-16, 3-6) are headed to Fullerton to see if they can put some space between them and the Titans (7-15, 2-6). The Aggies are tied with UC Riverside (8-15, 3-6) for seventh in league.

UCD beat Cal State Fullerton, 69-61, at The Pavilion on Jan. 18. In that game, Corey Hawkins paced all locals with 22 points and Ryan Sypkens hit for 15.

The Titan men are led by senior guard Michael Williams (16.5 pgg) and junior backcourt mate Alex Harris (14.4).

Also, the Aggie men must start to work on their camera presence. It was announced by the Big West Conference that ESPN2 will broadcast their game with UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, March 1, at The Pavilion. Tip-off has been moved up to 5 p.m.

Monday’s selection was determined using a “wild-card” format that enables the network to broadcast one of the four Big West games of that day, says Mike Robles of the UCD Athletic Department.

“The program is really excited to hear that ESPN2 is coming back to UC Davis,” Aggie head coach Jim Les told the media. “The amount of support we received at last season’s televised game was phenomenal. Our fans deserve this opportunity to show the nation what makes this university special.”

On March 7, 2013, a capacity crowd packed The Pavilion for a matchup with Long Beach State — the first-ever nationally televised Aggie home game.

Fans can purchase tickets online at ucdavisaggies.com, in person at the UCD ticket office at Aggie Stadium or by phone at 530-752-AGS1.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.

Bruce Gallaudet

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