UC Davis women take positives from Stanford loss

UC Davis began the process of becoming a Division I program 10

years ago. The Aggies have played No. 3 Stanford every year since

2007. The program is about to take the next big step.

”There’s no better way to measure ourselves than to play the

best,” Aggies coach Jennifer Gross said after the Cardinal beat UC

Davis 66-48 on Sunday. ”As a program we are striving to get

better. These are chances to see who we are and where we are.”

The Aggies added top-ranked and defending national champion

UConn to the schedule and will travel to Storrs in early

December.

Gross met Huskies’ associate head coach Chris Dailey, who has

been with Geno Auriemma for 28 years, on the recruiting trail and

discovered they had mutual friends.

”She had a niece who went to Davis,” Gross said. ”She brought

the idea to Geno and we met to talk it other. Coaches like Geno and

Tara are willing to come to UC Davis occasionally and that’s great

for women’s basketball and tremendous for Northern California. They

recognize that.”

UConn is slated to play at UC Davis next year as part of the

Huskies trip to Stanford.

”That will create an amazing atmosphere for our players, the

fans and the students,” said Gross, who was an assistant coach at

Davis when the Cardinal came to town in 2009 and played before a

sellout crowd.

The Aggies dropped their eighth straight to Stanford, though

Gross said there were things her players could take away from the

game.

”Stanford has weapons at every position but there were times we

played the best basketball of the season,” she said. ”The kids

really battled and made some big plays.”

The Aggies had a difficult time dealing with Stanford’s

All-America Chiney Ogwumike, who had 28 points and 15 rebounds.

”We’ve been spoiled with Chiney,” Cardinal coach Tara

VanDerveer said. ”We need more help and more people doing it. We

need to see what we can do to help her.”

Ogwumike, who missed her first two shots, recorded her fourth

double-double of the year and has 62 for her career. The senior had

her way with the shorter Aggies. Stanford missed its first five

shots, though the Aggies were only slightly more successful.

Amber Orrange added 10 points for the Cardinal (3-1), who evened

the series with UC Davis, dating to 1971, at 9-9.

VanDerveer continues to search for a supporting cast around

Ogwumike and Orrange, inserting Erica McCall into the starting

lineup for the first time. McCall became the third freshman to get

a start. Karlie Samuelson, the younger sister of junior Bonnie

Samuelson, may become the fourth. She was the first off the bench

and played 33 minutes.

”She did a great job defensively and we can play her at the 2

or 3,” VanDerveer said. ”Whoever gets the job done, I don’t know

who it is, we need more help.”

Karlie Samuelson had eight points and six assists and defended

Aggies’ top scorer Sydnee Fipps, who had 13 of her 14 points for

the Aggies (0-3) in the first half.

Fipps was 5 of 9 from the field in the first half and 0 of 5 in

the second half.

”They clogged up the paint on her drives,” Gross said.

”Sydnee usually does a good job of finding the open player but we

needed her to get us going. They keyed on her a little more.”

VanDerveer, in her 35th season and 28th at Stanford, earned her

897th career win, three shy of becoming the fifth women’s

basketball coach to record at least 900 victories.

Stanford led 34-20 at the half.

”We try to focus on the improvement,” Gross said. ”Every game

has provided a different challenge. We started with a difficult

schedule and we feel like we can get some momentum.”

UC Davis’ Brianna Salvatore made her second start since

returning from last year’s season-ending injury. She hit both of

her 3-point attempts and is 6 of 7 from long range for her career.

Kelsey Harris had nine points and seven rebounds.