The UC Davis women’s basketball team saw just how far it has to go to get back to its 2010-2011 form on Friday night, when it fell to Stanford, 87-38, at The Pavilion.
Two years ago, the Aggies went 24-9 and made it to the NCAA Tournament, where they played better than expected as a 16-seed going against the then top-seeded Cardinal. With senior center Paige Mintun leading the way, the team held its own in an 86-59 loss at Stanford.
This season, however, has been a bit different — to say the least. Gone is the entire starting lineup from that March Madness run, and in are five freshmen. And nowhere in their 2-3 start did the Aggies look more green and inexperienced than against the best team in the nation.
UCD was outdone in nearly every area of the game by No. 1 Stanford (7-0). The Aggies connected on less than 20 percent of their field goal attempts, while allowing the Cardinal to shoot 55.7 percent from the floor, and looked timid in the paint throughout the game. They were outrebounded 62-24 by Stanford and gave up 20 offensive rebounds, which amounted to 25 second-chance points for the Cardinal.
The locals also couldn’t find a way to stop one of the best players in the country — though few teams have had much success against Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike. On Friday, the All-American tied a career-high with 27 points and added 13 rebounds and three blocks. Ogwumike recorded a double-double before the three-minute mark of the first half and, by intermission, had outrebounded UCD 11-9 by herself.
But rather than be discouraged, UCD head coach Jennifer Gross said the team will treat the loss as an opportunity to shore up weaknesses in its game.
“A lot of times, in this situation, you’ve got to throw the film out because it was a lopsided game,” Gross said. “But this is going to be great for us. We’re going to watch the film. We’re going to see things we did well. We’re going to see areas (Stanford) exposed for us and we’re going to get better.
“That’s the exciting thing about this team. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind, we are going to get better. Every single day. We have been getting better since the beginning and we’re going to continue to get better and if we continue to get better at the pace that I think we can, I think we’re going to be right where we need to be, come March.”
The Aggies showed flashes of potential against Stanford, but were unable to sustain any sizeable runs. Courtney French notched a pair of 3-pointers, Blair Shinoda made a short jumper, and freshman Heidi Johnson got inside for a layup to keep the Cardinal’s lead to single digits in the early going, but UCD began to sputter from there.
Led by Ogwumike, who had 19 points in the first half, Stanford closed out the period on a 27-7 run and led 46-19 at the break.
It was the same story in the second half, with the Cardinal outscoring UCD, 41-19.
For the Aggies, Sydnee Fipps scored 14 points and French, Shinoda, and Johnson each added six. Johnson and fellow freshman Alyson Doherty each grabbed four rebounds and another first-year player Molly Greubel hit a trey.
Notes: Stanford’s No. 1 ranking and proximity to UCD drew quite a crowd as 2,612 fans were in attendance, the ninth-largest crowd to watch an Aggie women’s home game. … Stanford got 33 points from its bench, while UCD got 12. … The Cardinal had 42 points in the paint. UCD had eight. … Stanford turned the ball over 17 times. The Aggies only had 10.
— Will Bellamy at firstname.lastname@example.org