The Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball team had three players put up 16 points each to lead the Titans to a 69-66 victory over UC Irvine in the Big West opener Friday at the Bren Center.
UCI’s Annie Mai hit a layup with 10:17 remaining in the game to knot the score at 58-58. Cal State Fullerton’s Jasmine Scott knocked down a three-pointer on the next possession (9:47) giving the Titans a lead they would never surrender. UCI came within one point (65-64) on a jumper by senior forward Miranda Forry with 5:20 to go, but Fullerton answered with two points from Ashley Richie and Alison Bennett respectively, giving them a 69-64 cushion with 2:07 remaining.
Senior forward Stephanie Duda scored what would be the final basket with 47 seconds left to bring UCI within three points (69-66). Duda gave the Anteaters one last opportunity to finally tie the Titans with a defensive rebound. It gave UCI one last shot with 17 seconds remaining, but the Anteaters failed to hit the shot at the buzzer.
Toni Thomas, Lauren Chow and Ashley Richie all recorded 16 points to lead Cal State Fullerton. Alison Bennett grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, while Jasmine Scott went 3-3 from the field, finishing with the night with eight points.
Four UCI players scored at least 10 points. Sophomore forward Kelly Cochran’s led the squad with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, her fifth double-double of the year. Cochran also added three blocks.
Duda finished the game with a league-leading ninth double-double, 10 points and 10 rebounds. Forry was 5 of 10 from the field, including 2 of 4 from three-point range; she had 12 points total on the night. Senior guard Annie Mai scored 10 points and finished with a season-high five rebounds. Senior forward Haley Tull recorded eight points while sophomore transfer Mary Has scored seven points, her highest as an Anteater.
UCI’s lack of scoring efficiency was ultimately its downfall. The Anteaters shot just 11-19 from the free throw line and just 3-13 from three-point range.
Cal State Fullerton snaps a nine-game losing streak and goes to 2-10 overall and 1-0 in conference play.
The Anteaters weren’t much more fortunate versus the University of San Diego in a non-conference match-up on Sunday. Once again UCI was able to keep the game close, but they were unable to finish with the victory.
After San Diego’s Morgan Henderson hit a three-pointer and two free throws to give USD the 83-80 advantage to begin the overtime period, UCI’s Mary Has tied the game at 83 with a three point shot with 1:18 to play. Unfortunately, that would be the last time UCI would score as the Toreros scored the six unanswered points to lock up the victory.
UCI struggled early on, committing nine of their 13 first half turnovers within the first five minutes as San Diego jumped out to a 15-5 lead. The Anteaters kept the game within reach, shooting 52 percent in the first half (14-27) to close the gap 45-35 at halftime. UCI’s reserves were crucial in the first half. They combined to score 21 of the team’s 35 points off the bench.
San Diego led by nine (62-53) with 11:51 remaining in the game before UCI tied the game at 68 thanks to a late 15-6 run.
The Anteaters finally earned their first lead of the game with 4:03 remaining after Christina Zdenek sank a five-foot bank followed by a Cochran jumper to give UCI the 76-72 advantage with just over three minutes left.
But San Diego put an end to UCI’s momentum as Amanda Rego hit a pair of free throws and Kiva Herman made a basket on either side of a Rebecca Maessen free throw, narrowing UCI’s margin to 77-76. USD’s Amber Sprague finally tied the game at 78 with a free throw line jumper.
A UCI turnover gave San Diego the ball with 20.5 seconds left but USD lost the ball out of bounds, giving UCI the last shot with 12 seconds remaining, but much like Friday’s game, the final attempt fell short with 0.2 on the clock, sending the game into what would be a forgettable overtime.
Maessen led UCI with a career-high 18 points and had a career-high four assists. Zdenek also posted a career-high with 16 points in just 20 minutes of action off the bench. Cochran recorded her sixth double-double of the year with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while Duda buried 13 points and nine rebounds. Mary Has made her first start as an Anteater, scoring six points and grabbing a career-high five rebounds.