2018-19 Women's Basketball huddle vs. CSUEB
Wayne Tilcock/AggiePhoto.com

Women's Basketball Jason Spencer, Assistant Director

No. 7 Stanford provides stiff season-opening test

Aggies open 2018-19 season on the road against nationally ranked Cardinal

UC Davis (0-0, 0-0 Big West) at No. 7 Stanford (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12)

Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 | 7:00 p.m. | Maples Pavilion | Stanford, Calif.
RADIO: KDVS 90.3 FM (PxP: Greg Wong… Color: Myles Roach)
TV: None
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OPENING TIP: Coming off one of the finest seasons in school history, the two-time defending Big West Conference champion UC Davis women's basketball team officially opens it's 12th Division I campaign this week on the road, taking on No. 7 Stanford on Wednesday night (Nov. 7) at Maples Pavilion. Tip off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in UC Davis athletics by "liking" us on Facebook (facebook.com/UCDavisAggies) and following us on Twitter (@UCDavisAggies). You can also "like" women's basketball (facebook.com/UCDavisWomensBasketball) as well as follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@ UCDavisWBB). In-game updates on game day are also available on Twitter by following @UCDavisWBB.

IN THE POLLS: Stanford enters the season ranked No. 7 in the preseason Associated Press top 25 and No. 7 according to the USA Today coaches' poll... UC Davis is No. 19 in the nation according to the College Insider preseason mid-major poll released on Nov. 1, and is scheduled to face four teams either ranked (No. 18 Saint Mary's and No. 25 CSUN) or receiving votes (Portland State and Loyola Marymount) in that poll.

IT'S A START: UC Davis' preseason No. 19 ranking in the College Insider mid-major poll continues a run that saw the Aggies stand among the top 25 in that ranking during every week of the 2017-18 season. UC Davis, which opened at No. 20 last year, reached as high as No. 5 in the nation before ending the season at No. 12 in the country.

VERSUS THE TOP 25: Since 2007-08, UC Davis has played 17 games against teams ranked in one, or both, of the national polls, including the top-ranked team in the nation in three straight seasons: 2012-13 (Stanford), 2013-14 (UConn), and 2014-15 (UConn). The Aggies, however, have yet to post a victory in any of those contests against nationally ranked foes, coming no closer than 12 points vs. No. 22 South Dakota State on Dec. 17, 2008. UC Davis did, however, post a win over Washington State to start the 2017-18 season, which was receiving votes in the preseason Associated Press poll at the time.

UC Davis vs. the Top 25 (Division I results only)
Dec. 2, 2007 - at #6 Stanford (L, 62-41)
Dec. 9, 2007 - at #18 Arizona State (L, 77-56)
Dec. 3, 2008 - vs. #25 Arizona State (L, 73-59)
Dec. 17, 2008 - at #22 South Dakota State (L, 59-47)
Dec. 28, 2008 - at #11 Stanford (L, 84-49)
Nov. 22, 2009 - vs. #2 Stanford (L, 76-51)
March 19, 2010 - at #2 Stanford (L, 86-59... NCAA 1st Rd.)
Nov. 21, 2010 - at #15 UCLA (L, 65-49)
Nov. 30, 2011 - at #5 Stanford (L, 93-44)
Nov. 30, 2012 - vs. #1 Stanford (L, 87-37)
Nov. 17, 2013 - at #2 Stanford (L, 66-48)
Dec. 5, 2013 - at #1 UConn (L, 97-37)
Nov. 14, 2014 - vs. #1 UConn (L, 102-43)
Nov. 13, 2015 - vs. #16 Stanford (L, 74-43)
Dec. 4, 2016 - at #11 Stanford (L, 68-42)
Dec. 14, 2016 - at #15 Oregon State (L, 93-52)
Dec. 20, 2017 - at #17 Oregon State (L, 61-47)

AGGIES EARN SPLIT IN BIG WEST PRESEASON POLLS: UC Davis was picked to claim its third consecutive league crown in a media vote, and finish a close second by the conference's head coaches, according to preseason polls released by the Big West office on Oct. 24. The Aggies received 12 of a possible 20 first-place votes in the media poll and 171 points overall to shade second-place CSUN for the top spot, as the Matadors picked up the remaining eight first-place nods and 166 points overall. In the coaches poll, CSUN received six of the nine first-place votes and 77 points overall — just two ahead of UC Davis, which picked up the remaining three first-place votes and 75 points.

PRESEASON LOVE FOR BERTSCH: Senior biomedical engineering major Morgan Bertsch was one of six players unanimously selected to both the media and coaches' preseason All-Big West squad – picking up the honor for the third consecutive season. A three-time All-Big West selection – including first-team honors in each of the last two years – Bertsch joins CSUN's Channon Fluker and Serafina Maulupe, Cal State Fullerton's Daeja Smith, UC Irvine's Jordan Sanders, and Long Beach State's Shanajiah Davison.

ABOUT THE CARDINAL: The Cardinal, who ranked No. 15 in the nation according to the final Associated Press poll and No. 13 by the coaches at the end of the 2017-18 season, returns 12 letter winners off last year's squad that finished 24-11 overall and advanced to its 11th consecutive "Sweet 16"… Stanford, which defeated Vanguard, 87-36, in an exhibition on Nov. 1, returns four of its top five scorers from last season, led by senior forward Alanna Smith, who averaged 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, while standing as the only Cardinal player to start all 35 games.

SERIES NOTES: Stanford leads the all-time series with UC Davis, 12-10, with the Cardinal winning the last 11 consecutive meetings with the Aggies dating back to the 1979-80 season... UC Davis' last win in the history of the series came on Feb. 7, 1978, with a 61-54 victory at home -- the last in a run that saw the Aggies win 10 of the first 11 meetings with Stanford from 1971-78... The two programs last met in 2016, with the Cardinal posting a 68-42 victory at Maples Pavilion... UC Davis has come no closer during Stanford's recent run than 12 points in a 71-59 loss back in 2014... With the site of three games unknown, the Aggies are 3-9 on the Cardinal's home floor, falling in the last nine trips since a 71-35 victory on Jan. 15, 1977.

CONFERENCE CALL: UC Davis is a combined 23-29 (.442) against the current Pacific-12 Conference alignment, having faced nine of the 12 current members... The 10 wins against Stanford are the most by the Aggies against any Pac-12 team... UC Davis has split its last four meetings with Pac-12 schools, posting wins over Utah (2017) and Washington State (2018) in the last two years – the former coming in the first round of the WNIT that ended an nine-game skid against league members.

SO... HOW 'BOUT THOSE AGGIES?: UC Davis returns two starters and eight letter winners overall off of last season's squad that finished 28-7 overall (the second-most wins in a single season in the program's history), 14-2 in Big West play (for the second straight season), and advanced to the "Elite Eight" of the Women's National Invitation Tournament with wins over Idaho, Wyoming, and Kansas State, before falling to eventual tournament champion Indiana in the quarterfinals... Redshirt senior biomedical engineering major – and three-time All-Big West selection – Morgan Bertsch leads the way offensively after setting six single-season school record, averaging 20.1 points per game, and shooting 56 percent from the floor last season. Meanwhile, senior psychology major Kourtney Eaton returns to run the offense in the backcourt, coming off a season that saw her set a program Division I single season record for assists with 154 (which also ranks second on the all-time single-season list), and ranked among the top 100 players in the nation in assists per game (No. 83), assist-to-turnover ratio (No. 40), and overall assists (No. 62).

Junior communication major Nina Bessolo scored a game-high 21 points -- including six three-pointers -- and the host Aggies shot 54 percent from beyond the arc en route to the exhibition win. Sophomore cell biology major Cierra Hall (16), redshirt biomedical engineering major Morgan Bertsch (15), and redshirt freshman Sage Stobbart (12), each finished in double figures, while Bertsch and senior psychology major Kourtney Eaton chipped in eight assists apiece. A 14-2 run turned a 2-2 tie into a 16-4 lead, as UC Davis led, 52-18, at the break en route to the victory.

SUCH AN EXHIBITIONIST: With their win last week against Cal State East Bay, UC Davis has won its last 16 consecutive exhibition games dating back to a, 43-41, loss to Sonoma State on Nov. 6, 2006. During their recent run, the Aggies have posted wins over the Melbourne Roos, Concordia (Ore.), Humboldt State (five times), Sonoma State (twice), Australian Showcase, San Francisco State, Redlands, Oregon Tech, Stanislaus State, and Academy of Art, in addition to the Pioneers.

LID LIFTERS: Wednesday's contest at Stanford marks the first time since the 2011-12 season that the Aggies will open the season on the road, ending a run of six-straight years of opening a campaign at The Pavilion... UC Davis has won its last two season openers after a, 91-76, win over Washington State last season... The Aggies are 25-19 all-time in season-openers dating back to the 1974-75 campaign, including an 7-5 mark on the road in that span with the locations of some games unknown... The Aggies are 6-4 in their last 10 season openers... UC Davis has opened a season against Stanford on only one other occassion, a 74-45 loss to open the 2015-16 campaign.

#PROTECTTHEPAV: Although the Aggies don't open the home portion of their schedule until Nov. 11 against Pacific, The Pavilion will be a welcome sight. UC Davis is a combined 26-3 at home over the last two seasons, collecting its fifth consecutive winning season at home and posting the most wins on its home court in a single season since the 1996-97 squad finished 16-0 en route to a 29-3 overall record. The Aggies enter the 2018-19 campaign having won nine straight on Bob Hamilton Court, having not lost since a, 62-55, setback againsst UCF on Dec. 17, 2017.

BERTSCH ON A ROLL: Hold the mayo. The senior biomedical engineering major enters her final season as an Aggie on a bit of a roll, having scored in double figures in all 35 contests last season – and 85 of 100 games overall in her career. The high-scoring Santa Rosa, Calif., native has not been held to single digits since March 23, 2017, in a WNIT "Sweet 16" match-up against Washington State (six points), and has been held without a point in a game only once – at Colorado State on March 19, 2017, in the second round of the WNIT.

WHEN YOU'RE HERE, YOU'RE FAMILY: Head Coach Jennifer Gross has steadily built a winner at UC Davis during her time at the helm, thanks, in part, to a supporting cast of assistants that make up one of the longest-tenured coaching staffs in the country. Entering its eighth season together, Gross, associate head coaches Joe Teramoto and Des Abeyta, and assistant coach Matt Klemin, are tied with Oklahoma for the longest-tenured coaching staff in the country and one of only six (along with Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Tulane, and Iowa State) that have been together for at least seven seasons.

POSTSEASON PREPARED: The Aggies are scheduled to face six teams that reached some sort of postseason a year ago: three NCAA Tournament qualifiers (Stanford, Seattle, and CSUN), postseason WNIT participant Saint Mary's, and two more to advanced to the Women's Basketball Invitational (Nevada and UC Irvine).

TRANSFER ORDERS: Although she has to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, junior biochemistry and molecular biology major Mackenzie Trpcic becomes only the seventh player to transfer into the program from another Division I school in UC Davis' Division I history, following in the footsteps of junior nutrition science major Katie Toole, who sat out last season after joining the Aggies from Utah State. In addition, junior human development major Cierra McKeown is officially the first junior college transfer in the program's Division I history and the first since Tatiana Armstrong joined UC Davis from the College of San Mateo in 2006-07.

OH, CANADA!: Now officially in the mix after taking a redshirt year in 2017-18, freshman Sage Stobbart (North Vancouver, B.C.) joins Canadian country mate Mackenzie Trpcic (Hamilton, Ontario) on the Aggies' roster – only the third and fourth international players to suit up for UC Davis in the program's Division I history. The duo joins recently graduated Dani Nafekh (Oakville, Ontario), who is currently attending law school at Pepperdine, and Idit Oryon, a native of Israel and a four-year letter winner from 2011-14, as international Aggies.

OUT OF STATE SUCCESS: Not counting international players, UC Davis features five players from outside the state of California for the 2018-19 season – tied for the most in the program's Division I history with the 2016-17 and 2017-18 squads. In addition to Washington natives Karley and Kourtney Eaton (Longview) and Cierra McKeown (Touchet), Oregonian Emma Gibb (McMinnville) is joined by the Aggies' first-ever Utah native in Katie Toole (Farmington).

WORKING BEYOND THE ARC: UC Davis has made a three-pointer in 465 consecutive games dating back to Feb. 15, 2003, at Cal State San Bernardino. Since then, UC Davis has hit .347 from beyond the arc (3,144-for-9,051).

WINNING IN THE WEST: One of the most successful programs on the West Coast over the last three seasons, UC Davis has posted a 72-28 (.720) record over the last three seasons, tying them with Gonzaga for the fifth-most in that span behind only Oregon State (86), Stanford (84), Colorado State (77), and UCLA (75), while the team's 53 victories in the last two years are tied with the Bulldogs and trail only the Beavers (57) in that time frame. Among their Big West sistren, the Aggies' 72 wins are 17 better than second-place Long Beach State (55) in the last three seasons, while the 53 wins in the last two years are 16 better than second-place CSUN (37).

BY THE NUMBERS: After losing four key contributors off last season's squad means there is plenty of room for new faces to step up and power the Aggies' attack. UC Davis, statistically, returns just over half of its offense from the 2017-18 campaign: 54 percent of its points (1,354), 57 percent of its rebounds (691), 53 percent of its assists (321), 55 percent of its field goals made (521), 37 percent of its three-pointers (106), and 60 percent of its makes from the line (206). What does it all mean? We don't know, but numbers are fun.

PUTTING THE "W" IN WNIT: Last year's run into the "Elite Eight" of the WNIT was the furthest that the program has advanced in the postseason in its Division I history and the furthest any Big West Conference school has advanced under the tournament's current format. Prior to last season, only the 2016-17 UC Davis squad, Long Beach State in 2000, and former league member Pacific in 2013, had reached the "Sweet 16." In addition, the Aggies' five WNIT wins are the most of any Big West school.

20-20 VISION: UC Davis goes in search of its third consecutive 20-win season in 2018-19 – something that hasn't happened in the program's Division I history and a feat that would be the longest since a run of six consecutive 20-win seasons from 1993-99. According to records that date back to the 1974-75 season, the Aggies have won 20-or-more games 16 times in a season.

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!: The Aggies clinched their second consecutive Big West regular season title -- and the program's third overall -- claiming the first back-to-back titles for UC Davis since it ended a run of five consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Association crowns from 1995-99, and the 15th overall regular season conference title dating back to 1978. The Aggies are the first Big West school to win outright consecutive regular season titles since UC Santa Barbara did the same from 2007-09.

TWIN TITLES: Move over Green Bay. When the UC Davis men's team clinched its third Big West title in four years last season to join the women atop the podium, it marked the first time that both men's and women's regular season champions hailed from the same school since 2008 when UC Santa Barbara swept the titles, and it is the seventh time since 1984 that the same school sports both regular season champions along with the 1984 (UNLV), 1985 (UNLV), 1990 (UNLV), 1991 (UNLV), and 2003 (UCSB), seasons.

Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 5-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.

Launched in 2017-18, the Aggie EVO System is UC Davis Athletics' investment in the primary mission of preparing student-athletes for a successful "launch" after graduation. Thanks to a collaboration of alumni, university resources, corporate partners, coaches and Student-Athlete Outcomes staff, all Aggies are guided over four years to acquire the skills, knowledge, opportunities and tools to better know and navigate the "World of Work" after graduating from UC Davis. Follow the Aggie EVO system on Twitter and Instagram at @AggieEVO.

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