Starting off the two-game double-header during UCI’s Homecoming Week, the UC Irvine Women’s Basketball team kept a lead against Cal State Northridge to gain a phenomenal win with a final score of 63-48 on Feb. 7 at the Bren Events Center.
During the first half, Irvine held a seven-point lead with 7:51 remaining until the Matadors, with aggression and quickness, gained a small lead at the end of the half, 26-24.
Proving that the lead meant little, at the second half the Anteaters cranked up their defense. Keeping a 10-point lead ahead of the Matadors, Cal State Northridge had no chance to catch up as the Anteaters won with 15 points to spare at the end of the second half.
Hungry and ready for a win would describe UCI’s effort against Cal State Northridge. After a disappointing loss for the Anteaters against Pacific on the previous Thursday, a win against Northridge was much needed.
‘I was very pleased with the effort today,’ said Head Coach Mark Adams. ‘We started off a bit slow but we started to play smarter.’
The first half started with a quick pace, as Northridge guard Kim Gildersleeve was quick on her feet and worked a sweat on the Irvine defense.
‘The quickness bothered us at first,’ Adams said. ‘But then we just got more patient with their offense.’
With that patience, the Anteaters fired up after halftime. With the score tied at 33-33 with 12:19 remaining in the second half, UCI fought to a 45-35 lead with a three-pointer by senior guard Kristen Green with 8:19 remaining on the clock. This lead proved beneficial as the Matadors could only gain 13 more points at the end of the second half and Irvine cashed in a total of 63 points in the game.
Green led the team with a total of 19 points and six assists.
‘Tonight we played together, we read each other well and we came together as a team,’ Green said.
Green was surprised that she led the team with total points in this game.
‘I don’t keep track of my points,’ Green said. ‘I’d rather get a ball to a player. Whatever it takes to get a win.’
Following Green in points was senior forward Christina Callaway with 17 points and one assist. Even with a cold, Callaway played with resilience and aggression.
‘This game we passed the ball around and did well seeing open players,’ Callaway said. ‘We played more competitively and made up for the game against Pacific.’
Trying not to focus on the fact that freshman guard Shayna Stanley is one of the youngest players on the team, Stanley stepped up and effortlessly assisted the Irvine team to a win.
‘We kept our composure in this game and we played smarter,’ Stanley said. ‘Now we’re just going to try to go on a winning streak, and hopefully we can do it.’
Even with a solid effort, the Matadors just could not gain a win against Irvine. Defense and composure kept the Irvine team ahead and together against Cal State Northridge.
‘Irvine just wanted it more than us,’ said Matador Head Coach Tammy Holder. ‘Irvine’s defense caused a problem to us. We tried to use our pressure to score but they worked a little better and were much more patient than we were.’
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