Coming off a win against Pacific, the UC Irvine Women’s Basketball team (3-16, 2-9) was defeated at home on Feb. 5 by Cal State Northridge (11-7, 7-4) 68-58 in a Big West Conference game.
Junior guard Melissa Jacob led the Anteaters with 16 points, nine of which were off three-pointers. Sophomore guard Angie Ned had 10 points and a team high seven rebounds.
The Anteaters started out slow early in the first half, but picked up their game in a worthy effort. ‘Slow starts make us have to fight back twice as hard,’ stated UCI Interim Head Coach Molly Tuter.
Jacob agreed, saying, ‘We come out flat, then pick it up. We need a sense of urgency at the beginning.’
In addition to the slow start, free-throw attempts swayed the game.
CSUN was 22-27 from the free-throw line; UCI was 7-10.
Freshman guard Annie Mai thinks something the team could improve upon for the remaining eight games of the season is to ‘be more aggressive and attack. We need to get to the free-throw line.’
UCI was aggressive behind the arc though, making seven three- pointers. They also attacked on offensive rebounds, scoring 16 second-chance points.
Tuter admitted that ‘as well as we did offensively, we did just as bad defensively.’
Junior forward Lauren Yadon felt that the team ‘overall played pretty strongly … [and] played with a lot of hustle and heart.’
The UCI bench outscored CSUN 14-7, and a talented bench is much needed right now. As of Feb. 5 there were five UCI players inactive due to injury.
‘We miss everyone who can’t play right now. But it makes us want to play harder for those who cannot play,’ explained Yadon.
The Matadors controlled the tip-off, scored first, and got off to an early lead of 2-8 only 3:54 into the game and steadily improved their lead. The score was 12-15 CSUN with 11:14 left in the first half when the Matadors went on a 9-0 run to bring their lead to 12-24. UCI then went on their own run, outscoring CSUN 9-1 and bringing the score to 21-25 with 4:03 left in the first half.
A three pointer by Jacob was the last basket in the run which was ended by a CSUN free-throw. CSUN scored last in the half, bringing the halftime score to 25-30. UCI scored the first points of the second half with a layup by Ned, bringing the score to 27-30 and bringing UCI to within three. CSUN retaliated with three field goals in a row to lead 27-36 with 17:00 left in the game. That was the beginning of a 20-2 run that ended with CSUN leading 29-50 with 10:42 left in the game.
UCI stepped up at that point, with Jacob and freshman guard Miranda Forry hitting back-to-back three pointers. With 6:31 remaining, Yadon was fouled and converted one of two free throws. CSUN then struck back with a three pointer of its own.
UCI was able to cut the lead to 51-56 with 2:28 to go with a three-point basket by freshman forward Haley Tull. In an effort to take control of the game, UCI fouled four times in the last 1:55.
Yadon scored the last basket for UCI with 30 seconds left on the clock as CSUN was only ahead by five points. Those five points increased to 10, and made the final score 58-68 in favor of the Matadors.
The Anteater’s next two games are away at Cal State Fullerton Feb. 10 and UC Riverside Feb. 12. Their next home game is Feb. 17 against Long Beach State.
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