The Big West Conference season opened on the road for the UC Davis women’s basketball team, with league play at UC Riverside on Jan. 9 before they return to The Pavilion to host Hawai’i on Saturday (Jan. 11) at 2 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s conference tournament championship contest.
Neither UC Davis, UC Riverside, nor Hawai’i, are ranked nationally entering this week’s conference openers.
UC Davis entered conference play with a 14-game winning streak in Big West play dating back to a 65-60 loss to Hawai’i in Honolulu in only the second game of the conference season – the only blemish in a 15-1 conference slate for 2018-19. Only three other Big West schools enter this season’s conference schedule with a winning streak in league games: Hawai’i won its final three Big West contests last year, while both UC Irvine and UC Riverside won its conference finales against Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton, respectively.
Hawai’i entered the week with a 6-7 overall record, having lost two straight following a 70-55 defeat against Penn on New Year’s Eve. The Rainbow Wahine are 4-4 at home this season, having won two of their last three – including a 73-60 upset of Texas on Dec. 1. Hawai’i travels to CSUN on Thursday before heading north to take on UC Davis... Junior Amy Atwell (11.3 points per game) and Senior Julissa Tago (11.2 ppg) are both in double figures this season, the former adding a team-high 5.3 rebounds per game and shooting .472 from the floor.
UC Davis leads the all-time series with Hawai’i by a 10-9 count, winning the last two meetings – including rallying from a 17-point deficit to post a 58-50 win in the Big West Tournament championship game. The Aggies are 5-2 at home against the Rainbow Wahine, winning the last four meetings at The Pavilion.
UC Davis’ 64-point win over William Jessup marked the program’s largest margin of victory in the Division I era and the ninth-largest all-time, posting its largest margin since an 84-point win over Patten College in 1996. Wednesday’s margin topped the Aggies’ 55-point win over Cal State Monterey Bay in 2015-16 for the best since officially becoming a Division I member in 2007-08.
The 96 points scored against William Jessup were the most since the Aggies scored 109 at Sacramento State last season, while the 32 points surrendered to the Warriors were the fewest since UC Irvine managed only 24 against UC Davis in 2009. The wire-to-wire win marked the first time that the Aggies reached the 90-point plateau since putting up 92 against Dominican on Dec. 29 of last season.
UC Davis limited William Jessup to just 11-of-56 (.196) shooting from the field for the game on Wednesday – the second time in the program’s Division I history that the Aggies have held an opponent to under 20 percent shooting, and the lowest since holding UC Irvine to 10-of-59 (.169) from the floor on Feb. 12, 2009.
The 29 points scored in the third and fourth quarters against the Warriors were a season high (previous best was 26 three times), and the most since the Aggies finished with 30 in the third quarter at Cal Poly on Feb. 9 last season. At the other end, UC Davis held William Jessup to fewer than 10 points in all four quarters – the first time that has happened since the NCAA returned to the quarter format in 2015-16. Meanwhile, the 11 field goals made in the third quarter tied the team’s season high, only to have that mark broken when the Aggies finished 12-of-18 (.667) in the fourth, also setting the mark for single-quarter field goal percentage. The five three’s in both the third and fourth quarters also tied a season high, as did the .714 (5-for-7) shooting percentage from beyond the arc in the fourth.
-Jason John Spencer