UC Davis Adds To Record-Breaking Season With Major Awards
Big West Women's Basketball All-Conference Release
UC Davis dominated the Big West regular season and received the spoils as the Aggies claimed two of the major season-ending awards it was announced today.
UCD’s Morgan Bertsch added to her record breaking senior season with the Player of the Year award, while her coach Jennifer Gross won the Coach of the Year honor. The final major award went to Long Beach State’s Justina King as she claimed the Freshman of the Year award.
Bertsch, a native of Santa Rosa, made history as the first Aggie to claim the league’s top individual honor. The senior forward leads the league and ranks sixth in the NCAA in scoring at 23.4 points per game, having scored in double figures in every game this season and her last 62 overall. The versatile forward is also averaging 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting 50.5% from the floor, 52.5% from three and 82.8% from the foul line. Bertsch reached the 2,000-career point plateau this season, having reached that magical number as part of a 31-point performance on the road against UC Riverside on January 5. Bertsch has also scored more points (2,348 and counting) than any other UC Davis men’s or women’s basketball player and set the women’s program single-game record with 40 points against rival Sacramento State on December 7. Bertsch, who won the Big West Player of the Week award a record-tying six times this season, also ranks in the top 20 in the NCAA in field goals made (7th - 250), free throws made (11th - 159) and free throws attempted (16th - 192).
King, who hails from Scarborough, Canada, was a starter for Long Beach State from day one of the 2018-19 campaign, leading to the first Freshman of the Year award for the Beach since 2011 and just the third honoree overall. King is averaging 9.6 points, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals in 35.0 minutes per game. The guard had a knack of providing exactly what the Beach needs in a given game, whether it be a 29-point performance on the road against Montana State, five steals in the season opener against Cal Baptist or seven assists in road games against Utah and Cal Poly. King proved to be tireless throughout her first year for LBSU, playing at least 30 minutes in all but three of her 29 games and recording 44 minutes on the road against Cal Poly on February 6. King recorded seven contests with at least five assists and put up double figures in points on 14 occasions.
Gross has led UC Davis to its most successful three-year run as a member of the Big West, having won three consecutive regular season titles and a 43-5 record in league play over the past three campaigns. She is also just the second coach to win the league’s Coach of the Year honor in three consecutive campaigns, joining UC Santa Barbara’s Mark French who claimed the award from 1996-98. The Aggies are in the midst of a 14-game win streak, the longest winning streak for the program in Division I, and posted a program-best 15-1 record in conference play this season. UCD also reached 20 wins in 26 games, tied for the second-fastest to 20 victories in school history, matching the 2016-17 team. UCD will also make its third national postseason appearance in a row this season, having been assured a least a spot in the WNIT.
History continued to be a theme in the All-Conference teams as CSUN’s Channon Fluker was named first team All-Big West for the fourth consecutive season. She becomes just the fifth player in league history to earn a spot on the league’s first team on four occasions. Bertsch earned her third straight first team accolade, joined by teammate Kourtney Eaton. Joining Eaton as first time first team all-stars are Cal State Fullerton’s Daeja Smith, UC Irvine’s Jordan Sanders and UC Riverside’s Jannon Otto. For a complete breakdown of all the All-Conference lists, refer to the link above.
2018-19 Big West Player of the Year
Morgan Bertsch, UC Davis
2018-19 Big West Freshman of the Year
Justina King, Long Beach State
2018-19 Big West Coach of the Year
Jennifer Gross, UC Davis