UC Irvine women’s basketball (3-21, 1-9) cut a 27-point deficit to nine late in the third quarter, but UC Davis’ (18-6, 9-2) early lead was too much to overcome as the ‘Eaters fell, 62-42 Saturday evening at the Pavillion.
Sophomore Andee Ritter played every single minute and led the ‘Eaters with her second consecutive 16-point outing, 12 of which came from the four threes she managed to knock down in nine attempts for the night. The Melford, Oregon native has now garnered 70 triples on the season thus far.
Freshman Brooke Bayman joined Ritter in marathoning the entire game, adding 10 points, six assists, and four rebounds.
UC Davis had three players score in double digits with junior guard Dani Nafekh leading the way with 20 points on 7-9 shooting from the floor.
Sophomore forward Morgan Bertsch recorded her third career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
As a team, UCI struggled offensively, connecting on just 22.2 percent of their shots on the night as compared to Davis’ 40 percent.
For the second straight night, UCI lost the battle on the glass and in the paint as the Aggies snagged 12 more boards than the ‘Eaters for a 48-36 advantage.
The ‘Eaters did not find their first basket until the 3:03 minute mark when senior forward Shereen Sutherland (four points and five rebounds) laid in a basket that snapped a 19-0 Aggie run.
Sutherland would score her second and final basket of the night on a following ‘Eater possession but the Aggies were unstoppable, answering back with a lay-up of their own, a triple, and a pair of free throws to end the quarter with a 29-4 lead.
With a basket by Aggies junior center Marly Anderson to crack open the second period, Davis possessed their greatest lead of the night at 27.
UCI then found some rare momentum to go on a 13-2 run with nine points coming from a succession of triples from Ritter, senior guard Irene Chavez (eight points and four rebounds), and Bayman.
Although the Aggies managed to keep the ‘Eaters at bay with a few lay-ups, Ritter hit two more triples within the last minute of period to cut the deficit to 14, 37-23.
In the third period, Ritter and Bayman combined to score 10 of UCI’s 12 points. With 55 seconds left in the frame, Ritter’s final triple of the night brought the ‘Eaters within nine.
The rest of the ‘Eaters, however, continued to struggle to find their offensive rhythm as the team’s overall shooting dipped to 16.7 percent for the second half. Reminiscent of the opening quarter, UCI was iced and did not find a basket until the 5:37 mark of the final period of action.
Meanwhile, Nafekh caught fire, putting up 10 of her 20 points, in the quarter alone to torch the ‘Eaters and seal the game at 62-42.
Caught on a seven game drought, the ‘Eaters will be searching for their second conference victory when they travel to CSUN next Thursday.