DAVIS, Calif. — Rachel Nagel threw up a floating jumper with a defender right on top of her and the ball went through the net as the buzzer sounded, allowing UC Davis to escape a comeback effort Sunday by the Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team, winning 68-66 in a non-conference game at The Pavilion.
Saint Mary’s (4-5) had its own chance to win the game late. The Gaels had possession with 34.5 seconds left in a tie game, 66-66. After a timeout advanced the ball to half court and a tip out-of-bounds by UCD, they were set to inbound the ball on the baseline underneath the basket. But a costly turnover on the inbounds pass gave UC Davis the ball with 9.2 seconds to play.
SMC used all the fouls it had to give, whittling the clock down to just 4.0 seconds. The Aggies (6-2) first went down low to their leading scorer Morgan Bertsch, but she passed it back across the key to find Nagel, who lofted up the game-winning shot.
Carly Turner hit a career-high four 3-pointers to finish with a team-leading 18 points. She (eight rebounds), along with three other Gaels, were just a few rebounds short of a double-double as SMC won the rebounding battle 44-27. McKay had her fourth double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Sydney Raggio had 12 points and eight boards, and Stella Beck had 12 points and six rebounds.
A barrage of long-distance shots and an inside game that developed late helped UC Davis hold off a strong effort by Saint Mary’s. UC Davis attempted 23 3-pointers Sunday, making nine of them (39.1 percent). Saint Mary’s entered the game with a top-50 in the country 3-point field goal defense at 26.8 percent.
Nagel scored 18 points with four 3-pointers for UC Davis. Pele Gianotti and Dani Nafekh had 10 points each. UCD outshot SMC 45.6 to 43.3 percent. The Gaels were held to 26.7 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
Bertsch, who finished with a game-high 19 points, was held to just five points on 2 for 7 shooting through the first 15 minutes of the game. But she finally warmed up and became a big part of the Aggies’ inside-out game, finishing 6 for 8 from the floor in the final 25 minutes.
Saint Mary’s took its biggest lead with a 15-3 run in the second quarter. Turner made two 3-pointers during the run and three other Gaels contributed points. SMC went from being four points down to leading 34-26 with 4:56 left before halftime.
But UC Davis answered SMC’s run with a 12-1 run of their own to take a 38-35 lead into the break. Bertsch scored the last five points of the run. She also had two blocks and a rebound to help shut down Saint Mary’s.
The Gaels return home for a three-game home stand beginning Friday versus Northern Colorado. Tickets for all home games can be purchased online via the Gaels’ tickets website or by calling the SMC ticket office at (925) 631-GoTx.
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