UC Riverside 71, UC Davis 67
UC Riverside’s Amber Cox and Alyssa Morris proved to be too much
for UC Davis to handle and the pair vaulted the Highlanders to the
Cox scored a career-high 27 points and Morris added 19 to lead
UC Riverside to a 71-67 victory over UC Davis for the championship
of the Big West Conference women’s basketball tournament
Cox made all five of her 3-point shots and was named the
tournament’s most valuable player.
“I definitely feel like I’m in a zone,” Cox said. “Each shot
that I put up counts. But it’s really about being ready whenever
the ball does come to you.”
The third-seeded Highlanders (17-15) have won 14 of their past
17 games after a rough start.
“It really came down to too much Amber Cox and too much Alyssa
Morris,” Davis coach Sandy Simpson said. “We were right into them
(defensively) and they’re still knocking it down. They were just
Riverside coach John Margaritis said his team’s 3-12 start
reflected numerous injuries.
“I was deciding what drills to run with six people,”
Margaritis said. “We were just not developing. But we got healthy
and we went home for four games. We won those four and that gave us
“Down the stretch, we had enough weapons and enough trust in
each other to compete.”
Heidi Heintz scored a career-best 22 points and made 12 of 14
free throws for the top-seeded Aggies (21-10), who would have
qualified for their first NCAA tournament with a victory. Paige
Mintun added 18 points.
Riverside held a 67-55 lead with 5:37 to play but Heintz scored
six points during an 11-0 surge that narrowed Davis’ deficit to
67-66 with 1:38 remaining.
“We knew at that point just to take an aggressive mindset, and
just attack them and attack the rim,” Heintz said. “They were
fouling us every time we drove.”
Haylee Donaghe had a chance to put the Aggies ahead after making
a steal but missed her layup and the Highlanders’ Brittany Waddell
grabbed the rebound with 48 seconds left.
Riverside freshman Tre’shonti Nottingham made two free throws
with 15 seconds left to create a 69-66 lead. Minton converted the
first of two free throws with 4.5 seconds left but Nottingham
responded with two free throws with 1.9 seconds to play.
“It was very overwhelming because I had never been in a
position like that,” Nottingham said. “I was more nervous than
ever at that point. But after I hit the first one, I was
In the second half, Riverside shot 68.4 percent from the field
and 72.7 percent from 3-point range.