This Team: Marvelous and Memorable

Morgan Bertsch runs through the spirit squad lineup, with spotlight on her.
<strong>Morgan Bertsch flies onto the Maples Pavilion court for NCAA Round 1 game against Stanford, last Saturday (March 23).</strong>

UC Davis women’s basketball closed out March Madness with a first-round loss at Stanford last Saturday (March 23), but there’s no taking away …

  • The Marvelous Madness of a 25-8 season.
  • A 15-1 Big West Conference record and third consecutive regular-season title.
  • The conference tournament title, earning UC Davis its second trip to the NCAAs as a Division I program.
  • A 16-game winning streak leading into the Stanford game.

And, last but not least, the Morgan Madness that permeated the entire season. Morgan as in senior Morgan Bertsch, who finished her Aggie career with 2,422 points, the most for any player in UC Davis men’s and women’s basketball history (and, who, during Saturday’s game, moved into third place on the list of all-time scorers in the Big West).

But it wasn’t all about Morgan. It was also about Nina Bessolo; Karley Eaton and Kourtney Eaton, the twins; Emma Gibb; Cierra Hall; Kaitlyn Hsu; Kayla Konrad; Cierra McKeown; Brittany Nguyen; Makaila Sanders; Sophia Song; Sage Stobbart; Katie Toole; and Mackenzie Trpcic.

“Sometimes you get lucky because you get a group of people that are selfless and that care more about the team than they do themselves, and that’s what we have in our group this year,” Jennifer Gross, Big West coach of the year three years running, told the media after the Stanford game, as quoted by The Davis Enterprise. “They’re a really special group of individuals who compete for each other.”

Players move to the music, on bus.
Roommates, from left, Bertsch, Kourtney and Karley Eaton, all seniors, keep things lively en route to Stanford.

“This has been one of the most rewarding, richest coaching experiences that I’ve had — and it’s all because of Kourtney (Eaton) and Karley (Eaton) and Morgan and all the other student-athletes that we’ve had,” Coach Gross said.

So, here’s a last look at those student-athletes and their memorable season: studying, preparing, competing until the end, and celebrating with their heads (and arms) held high.

Photos by Karin Higgins/UC Davis

Player with headphones on, staring at laptop screen.
Freshman Sage Stobbart studies for finals in hotel lobby the day before the Aggies’ Round 1 game in the NCAA Tournament at Stanford.
Coach gives instructions at practice.
Head coach Jennifer Gross instructs her team during practice in Maples Pavilion the day before Round 1 game.
Players on phones; one player is having her ankle taped by a trainer.
In their hotel room near Stanford, Makaila Sanders, left, and Cierra Hall keep tabs on other tournament games while Hall gets her ankle taped prior to the team’s departure for Round 1 game.
Head coach addresses team, seated in circle, in locker room.
One last pep talk before the game.
Kourtney Eaton goes in for a layup.
Kourtney Eaton goes for the hoop.
Players embrace on the court.
Stobbart and Bertsch embrace after the final buzzer. Stanford, 79, UC Davis, 54.
Player exits court with arms held high.
Game over, but a season worth celebrating.

See more photos in this gallery.

Media Resources

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