Tied at 24 apiece at halftime of Friday’s semifinal at the Air Force Reserve Big West Women’s Basketball Championship, presented by the Hawaiian Islands, top-seeded UC Davis scored 22 of the first 30 points in the third quarter to take the lead for good and defeat No. 5 Hawaii, 64-52.
The Aggies will battle for the league’s NCAA Tournament automatic bid in Saturday’s championship game at 5 p.m.
The five-time Big West champions will face either No. 2 UC Irvine or No. 6 Cal Poly.
By defeating the Rainbow Wahine in the third head-to-head game within a week, the Aggies will enter that battle for a Big West Championship crown with a 12-2 overall record. UC Davis basketball fans can watch Saturday’s contest at https://www.espn.com/watch (search UC Davis), or by listening to Greg Wong’s call on KDVS 90.3 FM radio.
Not including last season’s league tournament, which was canceled due to COVID, UC Davis has now advanced to the league’s championship game in four of the last five postseason tournaments (2021, 2019, 2018, 2016), and will make its seventh appearance in the Big West’s championship game in program history when it returns to the Michelob ULTRA Arena for the final time this week.
The Aggies won the league’s tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and 2019.
Mackenzie Trpcic led the Aggies’s balanced attack — eight of 10 players who competed against UH scored at least three points — by finishing with 13 in addition to four rebounds. Sage Stobbart recorded a double-double that included 12 points and 11 rebounds, and as a team, UC Davis shot 45 percent overall (22 of 49) and 88 percent at the line (15-of-17) where it scored the final eight points of the game.
UC Davis quickly turned a low-scoring matchup into a double-digit lead, thanks to its 10-0 run, combined with a four-minute scoring drought and 1 of 13 shooting from the floor by Hawaii.
Leading by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter, the Rainbow Wahine made things interesting by scoring 10 unanswered points, on a pair of desperation threes and four free throws, but quickly saw their four-point deficit triple in size when Trpcic and Bria Shine each hit four free throws over the final 55 seconds of the game.
UC Davis’ defense also shut down the Rainbow Wahine in the final minutes, as Hawaii went 2-for-11 down the stretch.
Davis men downed by UCSB
The UC Davis men’s basketball team fell to top-seeded UC Santa Barbara, 71-55 in Friday’s Big West tournament semifinal.
The Aggies end the season at 10-8.