RIVERSIDE, Calif. —
Senior biomedical engineering Morgan Bertsch
become the eighth player in the history of the Big West Conference to reach 2,000 career points, finishing with a game-high 31 points to help lift UC Davis to a 67-59 victory over host UC Riverside on Saturday afternoon in front of an ESPN3 audience at the SRC Arena.
The Aggies won their fifth consecutive Big West Conference opener, and extended their overall winning streak to six straight, improving to 9-5 overall and 1-0 in league play.
Led by 22 points from reigning league player of the week Jannon Otto, the Highlanders fell to 6-9 overall and 0-1 in conference action.
Bertsch, who finished 11-of-19 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the line to go with eight rebounds in 29 minutes, reached the milestone at the free throw line with 4:32 remaining in the game, sinking both attempts to give her 2,001 points in her stellar four seasons as an Aggie, becoming the first in league history to do so since the Highlanders' Brittany Crain accomplished the feat in 2016.
The Santa Rosa, Calif., native, who recorded her ninth game of at least 20 points this season and her sixth career game of at least 30 points, now needs 62 points to pass another UC Riverside great, Kemie Nkele, for seventh on the all-time chart. Nkele amassed 2,062 points from 2004-09 for the Highlanders.
Sophomore cell biology major Cierra Hall
narrowly missed out on a double-double with nine points and a team-high nine rebounds, while senior psychology major Kourtney Eaton
finished with seven assists.
UC Davis led wire-to-wire for the second straight contest and the fifth time overall this season, leading by as many as 16 points in the game following Bertsch's milestone free throws, using an 11-1 run to that point after Riverside had cut a 15-point deficit down to just six with 7:38 to play.
The Aggies shot 45 percent overall from the floor for the game — including a 62 percent clip in the third quarter — en route to the win. Meanwhile, the UC Davis defense was stout, limiting the Highlanders to under 31 percent for the game and only four field goals in three of the four quarters.
Now off for a week, the Aggies return to the court on Saturday (Jan. 11) in Honolulu, as they take on Hawai'i at 1 p.m. HT at the Stan Sheriff Center.
ABOUT UC DAVIS
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.