Senior biomedical engineering major Morgan Bertsch finished with a game-high 17 points, while sophomore cell biology major Cierra Hall and freshman Sage Stobbart combined for nearly half of the team’s 44 rebounds on the night, lifting host UC Davis to a 68-45 win over Southern Utah on Friday evening at The Pavilion.
The win was the second straight for the Aggies, who improved to 2-3 overall on the season, holding the Thunderbirds to just four first-quarter points and 29 percent shooting for the game. Southern Utah fell to 1-3 overall, getting a team-high 10 points from Rebecca Cardenas.
Bertsch, who finished in double figures for the 40th consecutive contest dating back to last year, was joined in double digits by junior communication major Nina Bessolo, who added 12 points to a balanced scoring performance that saw 10 different players finish in the scoring column — including the first-ever Aggie points for junior nutrition science major Katie Toole and sophomore computer engineering major Brittany Nguyen.
The 17-point night for Bertsch, moved her up two spots on the Big West Conference’s career scoring list with 1,785, passing Fresno State’s Yvette Roberts and Long Beach State’s Cindy Brown. The Santa Rosa, Calif., native stands just two points back of Cal State Fullerton’s Toni Thomas for a spot in the top 10.
Hall grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds to finish in double figures for the second time this season, finishing just one board shy of her career high while adding six points, three assists, and a pair of steals. Stobbart, who set her career high with four rebounds at Washington State on Nov. 18, nearly tripled that total on Friday night, grabbing 10 rebounds to go with six points in 18 minutes.
Senior psychology major Kourtney Eaton dished out a game-high seven assists — moving her to within 11 of Jennifer Gross’ all-time career record — while her sister, fellow psychology major Karley Eaton, added six more assists without a turnover. All told, UC Davis finished with 23 assists on 27 made baskets for the game, helping the Aggies shoot just under 46 percent from the field for the game.
The two teams traded baskets in the opening 90 seconds before UC Davis exploded to put the game away early. Kourtney Eaton drained a three to start a run of seven straight points, part of a larger 21-2 run that staked the Aggies to a 23-4 lead at the end of the first quarter — the fewest points allowed by a UC Davis defense since holding UC Irvine to the same number in the first quarter on Feb. 11, 2017.
The Aggies’ lead grew to as many as 22 points in the second quarter en route to a 40-18 halftime lead, and UC Davis led by as many as 31 points with 4:20 remaining in the third quarter.