Not a bad way to end the program’s first double-overtime game in more than three decades.
Senior Sophia Song swished the go-ahead basket with 30 seconds remaining in the second overtime and host UC Davis survived a deep three-pointer at the buzzer, shading visiting Sacramento State, 77-75, on Tuesday night in a battle of Causeway rivals at The Pavilion.
“The funny thing is, Sophia makes that kind of shot,” Head Coach Jennifer Gross said. “She was nails and we needed that one. I feel like that shot meant we were going to end this thing and she did it for us.”
In a game in which the Aggies didn’t lead until the 2:11 mark of the second overtime period, UC Davis rallied from a 16-point second-quarter deficit to win their second straight contest, improving to 2-4 overall after tying the game with 3.8 seconds remaining in regulation and watching as the winning bucket lipped off the front of the rim with one-tenth of a second remaining in the first overtime.
The last time that UC Davis played a double overtime game was back during the 1986-87 season against Chico State, as the Wildcats defeated the Aggies, 65-61.
Four UC Davis players finished in double figures, led by 16 points from junior Cierra Hall and a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double from sophomore Kayla Konrad. Senior Katie Toole finished in double figures for the sixth consecutive game, ending the night with 15 points — 12 of those coming after halftime — while senior Nina Bessolo added 12 points off the bench.
Junior Mackenzie Trpcic added a UC Davis career-high 10 assists, becoming the first Aggie to finish in double digits in that category since Kourtney Eaton had 11 at SeattleU on Nov. 26, 2017.
A back-and-forth second overtime saw Hall give her team the lead with a pair of free throws at the 1:24 mark, only to have Camariah King drive to the basket to tie the game at 75-all with just over a minute to play. That set the stage for Song, who drove middle only to have the Hornets clog the lane, denying her a path to the basket.
That’s when Song stepped back and heaved a right-handed shot that line-drived its way through the net for a two-point lead.
“First I was looking to drive, but then that wasn’t open and time was running out and I just shot it, hoping we’d get a rebound,” Song said. “What people don’t see is that in practice we go over these last-minute situations and I try and get in as much of those as possible and, tonight, it went in.”
Sacramento State (1-4) then called timeout with 25.3 to play to set up the last shot, but King missed wide right on her last-second attempt as the horn sounded, giving UC Davis the victory.
The Hornets used a 13-4 run to close out the first quarter with a nine-point lead, and extended that advantage to 16 on a pair of free throws by Kennedy Nicholas — two of her game-high 30 points — with 4:16 left in the half.
The Aggies trailed by 12 at the break, but began to chip away to start the second half. Song drained a three-pointer to open the half and a 9-0 run later in the quarter brought UC Davis to within a pair at 46-44 with 5:18 to go.
Sacramento State answered with a 7-0 run of its own before back-to-back buckets by Konrad and sophomore Sage Stobbart made it a five-point game after three.
A three-pointer by Konrad tied things up at 57-all with 5:30 to play in the fourth only to have the Hornets answer with six straight points out of a time out. The Aggies weren’t done, however, as Toole converted a three-point play and Bessolo drained a right corner three-pointer after a Nicholas free throw to make it a one-point game.
After Nicholas made 1-of-2 from the line, Hall drove the left side of the lane to draw a foul with just under four seconds remaining and drained both free throws to force overtime.
The two teams traded three-pointers to open the first extra period and the Aggies trailed by a pair after two more free throws by Nicholas, before Bessolo came through with the tying basket, gliding through the lane and laying it up to make it 70-70.
“I felt like we had the momentum and our team still felt fresh heading into the second overtime period and we just said, ‘Hey, let’s keep pushing the ball, let’s keep the pressure on them, and let’s keep attacking,’ “ Gross said.
“I’m really proud of our team. We played pretty poorly in the first and, give Sacramento State credit, they came out firing. To be able to stick together and keep the belief in each other I think was really big for us.”
Both sides traded misses from long range and the Hornets called timeout with 41 seconds to play, but could not come up with the go-ahead basket as the Aggies’ defense forced a shot clock violation. UC Davis then called timeout to advance the ball, but also came up empty as its last-second attempt fell off the front of the rim just before the horn to force a second overtime.
“When we went to overtime, we came back to the huddle with the mentality that we were going to win this game,” Song said. “It was just a matter of playing loose and knocking down our shots. In our minds, we already knew that we were going to win. That’s what I love about this team, the confidence, we were just ready to go.”
UC Davis returns to the floor on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 2 p.m., hosting Portland State in game three of its four-game homestand.
– Jason Spencer