SANTA CLARA — The UC Davis women’s basketball team got a much-needed win on Wednesday, snapping a three-game skid by beating Santa Clara, 75-70, at the Leavey Center.
Sydnee Fipps scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, while teammates Kelsey Harris (4-for-8) and Heidi Johnson (3-4) were hot from 3-point range as the Aggies improved to 3-7.
“It was a gritty win,” said UCD head coach Jennifer Gross. “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. I was really proud of our effort. We battled from start to finish.”
Johnson finished with 15 points — 13 of those in the second half — to go with five rebounds and three assists, while Harris scored 14 points, all of them in the first half.
“Heidi really stepped up to the challenge,” Gross said. “She not only got it done defensively, but also on the boards as well, and hit just some huge shots for us, offensively. Going with a smaller lineup, we’re able to move Heidi out to the perimeter and create some matchup problems out there where she can knock down the three, and she did that (Wednesday).”
Molly Greubel, the fourth Aggie in double figures with 11 points, made 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final 27 seconds to ice the game. Brianna Salvatore set a career mark with her game-high nine rebounds.
Guard Nici Gilday tallied a team-high 19 points for the Broncos (3-7), who fell to UCD for the fifth time in the past six meetings.
Fipps hit 7-of-13 from the floor and was nearly perfect from the line (8-for-9), while also contributing four rebounds and a career-high four assists. Wednesday marked her fourth 20-point performance of the year, her second straight and the 11th of her career.
The Aggies shot 47 percent the floor, including 43 percent (9-of-21) from beyond the arc, and closed the game by making just under 55 percent from the field in the second half.
Though the game was close throughout, Johnson nailed a 3-pointer to start a run of eight straight points by the sophomore to give UCD a 42-35 advantage early in the second half.
The Aggies wouldn’t trail again, but Santa Clara did tie the game at 56-56 with 6:28 left. On cue, Johnson scored the next five points to give UCD the lead for good.
“We felt like, a little bit, in the first half, we were taking whatever shot we could get,” Gross said. “In the second half we tried to direct the shots a little bit more toward the players’ strengths, trying to get Sydnee going driving, trying to get Heidi out on the perimeter a little bit more. In the end, the players have to go out and make plays and we definitely did that.”
Now, the Aggies return home to The Pavilion for the first time since Nov. 26 for a Saturday doubleheader with the UCD men’s team. The local women host Houston Baptist at noon before the Aggie men face Air Force at 2:30 p.m.