The ’Eaters struggle in their second exhibition game of the season, but it is not a cause for deep concern.
The UCI women’s basketball team took the floor on Tuesday, November 6, in a cross-town friendly versus Concordia. Led by juniors Jennifer Tsurumoto and Jasmine Bernard, the Anteaters defeated the Eagles, 68-41.
Coach Doug Oliver used a different starting lineup this game after emphasizing beforehand that he really wanted to use both exhibition games to see how different players would play with one other.
In the first game, Camille Buckley, Bernard, Methlyn Onogomuho, PJ Hanson and Kelly Meggs got the start, as expected. With this lineup, Oliver was watching to see how his two post playerson the court at the same time – each scored 12 points.
In the game versus Concordia, Oliver went with a smaller lineup. Bernard maintained her spot and was joined by Cheyenne Cathey, Lauren Spinazze, Anette Klintsone and Tsurumoto. Oliver wanted to see how Bernard would play with shooters Cathey and Spinazze on the court. Bernard finished with a team-high 14 points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes of action.
Despite the victory, the Anteaters had their issues. They struggled to take care of the ball and turned it over 17 times. They had trouble shooting from beyond the arc, making only two of their 14 attempted three-pointers in their final dress rehearsal before the regular season.
In their play thus far as a team, prior to their regular season-opener on Friday, November 9, the Anteaters averaged 67 points per game on 35.8 percent and outscored their opponents by a combined 61 points on their way to a 2-0 preseason.
On Friday, the Anteaters were on the other side of the fence.
The women kicked off their regular season with an ugly, 77-54 loss on the road against Santa Clara.
The Anteaters, who played confidently in their two preseason games, shot just 28.8 percent from the field and allowed Santa Clara to shoot for a high percentage of 50.9 percent. Their issues with ball security in their two exhibition games hurt them in their first game, as they turned the ball over 20 times in the while only accounting for five assists as a team.
Tsurumoto and sophomore forward Buckley led the Anteaters in scoring with 17 and 14 points respectively. They were the only Anteaters to reach double digits in scoring and combined for more than half of the Anteaters points. Bernard, who was named the ESPN Zone Anaheim Anteater of the Week for her performance in the preseason, was neutralized by Santa Clara and contributed four points in 11 minutes of action.
The Anteaters’ struggle in their first game is a result of unfamiliarity with one another, which is evident in their turnover numbers. With a new coach, new system and new players, struggles like this are inevitable. Expect the Anteaters to bounce back once players understand one another and understand the roles they must play.