YOLO COUNTY NEWS

Aggies

Surprising loss for UCD women in Big West opener

By January 1, 2011

Enterprise staff writer

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The whole Aggie Nation is happy to see 2010 go.

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Not that a 10-3 start is a bad thing for the UC Davis women\’s basketball squad. But a New Year\’s Eve saw a poor ending to an otherwise good year for the defending Big West champs. So, good riddance.

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On Friday, it wasn\’t what Aggie head coach Sandy Simpson had in mind as his women kicked off the conference season at The Pavilion.

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While shooting an uncharacteristic 35 percent from the floor, UCD couldn\’t overcome an early 12-0 Cal State Fullerton run and dropped a surprising 58-56 decision to the Titans.

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Today, in a 2 p.m. showdown against Cal State Northridge at The Pavilion, UCD gets a chance to even its Big West slate.

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But reflecting on the loss, Simpson gave credit where credit was due:

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“Fullerton played an outstanding game, especially on defense. I thought we played well on defense, too, but we missed a lot of layups. One or two go in here or there … it\’s probably different.”

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But, as Simpson pointed out, the Titans (5-8) chose to play a physical game, jumped Aggie passing lanes and had two big scoring spurts, off of which Fullerton built nine- and 10-point leads.

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Tied at six as both teams tested each other\’s zone defenses, the Titans went to work.

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Ashley Richie, got the ball to Lauren Chow, who dished to Lyndsey Grove for a 3-pointer.

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After a UCD miscue (the Aggies had five turnovers and five missed lay-ins at this point), Fullerton\’s Megan Richardson assisted on Chow\’s trey.

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When Aggie Brianna Salvatore missed another point-blank shot — and Blair Shinoda suffered a steal by Fullerton after her offensive rebound — Richardson\’s long-range bomb made things 15-9. It also forced a UCD timeout with 13:59 left until intermission.

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After that, the Ags regrouped, brought their zone coverage a little farther out and started a long climb back.

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Two rebounds and two steals by UCD\’s Samantha Meggison, mixed with a couple of baskets from leading scorer Paige Mintun, put the halftime score at 28-25, still Fullerton\’s advantage.

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When Vicky Deely found Mintun for a short jumper 1:05 into the second half, it looked to the announced crowd of 465 that order had been restored — the locals had closed the gap to 30-29.

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However, it was not meant to be. Fullerton went on an 11-2 run, giving it a 41-31 lead that would allow the Titans to withstand two late Aggie surges. Even though UCD came back to take a 54-50 lead when Mintun scored with 1:25 left, Chow hit a jump shot and two free throws down the stretch to give the visitors the unexpected victory.

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Mintun led all scorers with 19 points, hitting 9-of-22 from the field, and Heidi Heintz added 16 on 7-of-15 shooting. The remainder of the Aggies hit less than 25 percent of their shots.

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UCD outrebounded Fullerton, 42-34, but the Titans hit 42 percent from the floor. The winners had four women in double digits — Grove (14 points), Richardson (13), Chow (12) and Richie (10). Turnovers were almost even with UCD committing 17 and Fullerton having one more.

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Kasey Riecks, for whom Deely got Friday\’s start, was limping around in street clothes, a walking boot on her leg. The extent of the injury will be assessed during the week.

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The loss snapped a four-game UCD win streak and broke a streak of 13 consecutive victories at home.

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Now, the Aggies get Northridge (1-12), a school which is coming off a 74-68 overtime victory at Pacific marking head coach Jason Flowers\’ first career win with the Matadors. UCD won both games last season, winning 62-53 and 82-56.

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“We all understand what kind of league this is,” Simpson explained. “Teams don\’t go through without (getting beat).”

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Just last season, UCD opened the Big West with a 68-57 loss to Fullerton. That was Jan. 2, 2010. Last year.

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Again, good riddance.

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