#3 UC Riverside Claims 2010 Big West Tournament Title
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2010 Big West Basketball Tournament Page
Tre'Shonti Nottingham made all four of her free throws in the final 15 seconds as No. 3 UC Riverside upset top-seeded UC Davis, 71-67, to win the Big West Women’s Tournament Championship and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
UC Riverside (17-15) won its first conference championship since 2007 and third overall (2006). Amber Cox was named the Most Valuable Player for the tournament.
UC Davis (21-10) fell short of its first-ever Big West championship.
The Highlanders were led by Cox who scored a game-high 27 points on 10 of 12 field goals and 5 of 5 three-pointers. Alyssa Morris scored 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting and 5 of 7 three-point field goals. Morris also had a game-high six assists along with teammate Rheya Neabors.
Heidi Heintz led the Aggies with 22 points on 5 of 8 shooting and 12 of 14 from the foul line. Paige Mintun added 18 points for UC Davis.
UC Riverside put on a shooting clinic for all the fans in attendance as they shot the lights out in all three phases of the game. The Highlanders made 58% of their shots (25-43), 55% of their three-pointers (11-20) and were a perfect 10 for 10 from the free throw line. Their unselfish passing to the open teammate gave UC Riverside a 21-9 advantage in assists for the game.
UC Davis made a respectable 47 % of their shots (18-38). Remarkably, the Aggies made more free throws in the game (28 of 34; 82%) than actual field goals (18).
Trailing 67-55 with six minutes left, the Aggies rallied behind their aggressive play and accurate free throw shooting. They made seven of nine free throws and two layups as part of an 11-0 run to climb within one, 67-66, of UC Riverside with 1:38 left. Both Cox and Morris fouled out of the game for the Highlanders during the run.
UC Davis had a chance to take the lead but Haylee Donaghe missed a breakaway layup and UC Riverside regained possession with less than 45 seconds left. After a missed three-pointer by Riverside’s Brittany Waddell, Nottingham grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled with 15 seconds left. She converted both free throws.
Mintun made one of two free throws on the ensuing possession for the Aggies. After a quick foul, Nottingham secured the championship with two more free throws with a second remaining.
Both teams began the game in uncharacteristic fashion. Nerves were evident in this championship matchup as turnovers were abundant and shots weren’t falling for either team. As a matter of fact, each team had an air ball in the first two minutes of the contest.
After the first 10 minutes of the game, both teams had combined for 16 points with the score tied at 8 apiece. With less than five minutes remaining in the first half, both teams were still stuck in neutral at 14-14. Then the real game began.
So who would step up and take control of their destiny for a ticket to the Big Dance? First, UC Davis took its shot by going on an 8-0 run. A layup by Lauren Juric gave the Aggies some breathing room at 22-14.
Then it was time for the Highlanders to take their stand. Beginning with a layup by Rhaya Neabors with 3:07 remaining, UC Riverside followed with three consecutive three-pointers, two by Cox, amidst a 15-6 run. Cox’s baseline jumper with three seconds left gave the Highlanders a 29-28 lead going into the break. She scored 12 of the team’s 29 points.
UC Riverside had scored 14 points through the first 17 minutes of the game only to exceed that total the final three minutes of the first half.
Both teams combined for 22 of their 37 total turnovers in the first half. UC Davis actually made more free throws (14) than field goals (7) in the first 20 minutes of the game while UC Riverside came alive and made 50% of their shots (12-24).
The second half proved to be worthy of a championship fight. Heintz scored four of the Aggies’ first seven points while the Highlanders started lighting up the Anaheim Convention Center with a flurry of threes.
Morris drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key, the Highlanders’ sixth three-pointer in their last eight made baskets and third in a row to begin the second half. It gave them a 38-35 advantage.
The wave of three-pointers continued as Rhaya Neabors, Cox and Morris all connected from downtown to give UC Riverside a 55-44 lead with 9:23 left in the game. Morris and Cox would do it again making a three-pointer each to give the Highlanders a 67-55 lead with 5:31 remaining. It was UC Riverside’s eighth three-pointer of the second half alone.
The barrage of three-pointers would stop there as UC Davis mounted its improbable comeback only to fall short at the end.
2010 Big West Women's Basketball Tournament All-Tournament Team
Amber Cox, UC Riverside (MVP)
Paige Mintun, UC Davis
Alyssa Morris, UC Riverside
Heidi Heintz, UC Davis
Mekia Valentine, UC Santa Barbara
Mikah Maly-Karros, UC Irvine