UC Riverside beats UC Davis for Big West titleMar 14, 2010 - 12:28 AM ANAHEIM, Calif.(AP) -- 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 NCAA tournament.
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 Saturday.
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 lights out."
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 some momentum.
"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 fine."
In the second half, Riverside shot 68.4 percent from the field and 72.7 percent from 3-point range.
- Karaitiana leads Hawaii women by UC Davis for Big West title Mar 12
- Billings, Swain lead No. 21 UCLA women past UC Riverside Dec 29
- No. 9 Oregon State beats UC Riverside 86-65 Nov 22
- No. 21 California women beat UC Riverside 64-58 Nov 20
- Stanford has little trouble advancing to the next round Mar 19
- No. 1 Stanford rolls past Riverside in NCAAs Mar 21
- UC Riverside-Stanford Preview Mar 19
- No. 22 Kansas puts away UC Riverside 75-60 Dec 20
- Pedersen leads No. 2 Stanford to victory. Nov 22
- Vanderbilt beat UC Riverside Nov 20
- Moore leads Washington State past UC Davis 64-54 Nov 15