In the home opener, the UC Irvine Women’s Basketball team lost to the Eastern Washington Eagles 81-67 at the Bren Events Center on Nov. 21.
The Anteaters started the game with impressive defensive intensity while the Eagles offense looked sloppy, drawing many traveling violations.
With Irvine constantly getting in the passing lanes, they forced 14 turnovers in the first half. Senior guard Kristen Green finished the game with four steals.
On the offensive end, things started well for Irvine, highlighted by Green dribbling under the hoop and hitting a turn around 10-foot jumper.
However, Eastern Washington started to set up with a zone defense and the complexion of the game changed. The Anteaters gave up 13 turnovers in the first half, which led to fast-break opportunities for the Eagles. Eastern Washington scored 21 points off Irvine turnovers and had 10 fast-break points while Irvine had none in the game.
Despite the turnovers, Irvine worked against the zone and found senior forward Christina Callaway and sophomore forward Lauren Yadon down low as each had 10 points at the end of the half. UCI only trailed 37-36 as the first half expired.
After halftime, Irvine could not get their offense started. After two scoreless minutes Head Coach Mark Adams called a time-out in hopes of getting his team back on track. After a 10-3 Eagles run, the Anteaters closed the gap to three before the Eagles scored eight unanswered points. Irvine would never get closer than within nine points for the remainder of the game. Irvine was frustrated by Eastern Washington’s switch to man-to-man defense.
‘The zone helped us control the tempo early on and set up our up-and-down game, but Irvine started to adjust to it by the end of the half,’ said Eagles Head Coach Wendy Schuller.
Irvine would go on to shoot 37 percent from the field in the second half. Adams stressed that the Anteaters did not box out enough and get offensive rebounds, with Eastern Washington earning 18 second chance points to Irvine’s nine and scoring 34 points in the paint to Irvine’s 24.
Christina Callaway finished with two rebounds after averaging 7.8 last season. Callaway was concerned about the team getting into foul trouble, herself in particular as she fouled out late in the second half, leaving the game with 14 points.
For the Eagles, Schuller had them go to their bread and butter, senior forward Kathleen Nygaard. After scoring six points in the first half, the Eagles consistently found Nygaard in the paint as she scored 16 points in the second half and finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds.
All four of Irvine’s freshman saw action on Friday night.
‘They all played well and none of them looked nervous,’ Adams said.
Freshman guard Shayna Stanley started the game for injured sophomore guard Jackie Lord and finished with six points in 30 minutes of playing time, the most game time of any freshman in the game.
‘Coach just told me to be ready. We only have two point guards right now. I know I’m only a freshman and nervousness isn’t an excuse, but I know I have to be more vocal on court as a leader,’ Stanley said.
Forward Katie Urban had five points in 11 minutes, and freshman guard Angie Ned and freshman forward Stephanie Duda finished with two points each.
Coming off of a freshman season where she was an All-Big West Freshman team honoree, sophomore forward Lauren Yadon scored 14 points along with Christina Callaway to lead the team in scoring as well as rebounds, finishing with seven.