The Lady Anteaters hardly had time to relax during winter break. They played six games in December and wound up winning two games. The wins came against Seattle University on 12/5 and Eastern Washington on 12/19. Coach Molly Goodenbour’s tough schedule for the team continued to challenge the young Lady Anteaters, with tough match-ups against several power conference teams.
Although the team record doesn’t quite show it, the UCI Anteaters played exceptionally well and tough. There were some individual standouts during the break. Sophomore transfer Mikah Maly-Karros was named Big West Player of the Week on Dec. 21. Remarkably, she earned the honor after only playing in her first two official games as an Anteater. In her first game, which was against Pac-10 opponent Oregon State, she scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds in only 20 minutes of floor action. In the next game against Eastern Washington, she made her name known to all Anteaters. Maly-Karros dropped a career-high 28 points and added 11 boards. Kirian Ishizaki was the last Anteater to receive the award back in December of 2007.
Maly-Karros did not slow down after the award, as Maly-Karros racked up another 28 points and 14 rebounds against Pepperdine on 10-23 shooting from the field and 8-10 free throws.
Statistics calculated before the UCSB game show that Maly-Karros leads the Anteaters in both scoring and rebounding average per game. That is with only five official games under her belt. Jade Smith-Williams is second on the team with 12.4 points scored a game and leads the team in assists. Mary Has is shooting 45.5 percent from behind the three point line. The Anteaters are scoring an average of 61.2 points a game, while their opponents are managing 71.7 points a game up to this point in the season.
In the win against Eastern Washington, the UC Irvine women’s team converted 45 of 55 free throws, which was a school record for both makes and attempts. The old record of 33 makes was accomplished against Pacific on Jan. 15, 2006. The old attempts record was achieved on Jan. 14, 1993 against San Jose State.
UCI ended its non-conference schedule with a loss to Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington on December 27. Gonzaga improved its overall record to 10-4. The Anteaters allowed a season high 96 points to the Bulldogs. Every game from now on will be against Big West opponents. The Anteaters record pre-league play is three wins compared to 9 losses. The Anteaters were picked to finish ninth in the pre-season media poll, while UC Santa Barbara is picked to finish first. No need to worry about the record though — there is plenty of basketball to be played and league play counts more than non-conference games.
However, UC Santa Barbara handed UCI its first conference loss in its first conference match-up of the year. The Gauchos managed to come out on top of a 54-48 decision in the Thunderdome on Saturday. The loss was UCI’s tenth of the season.
Maly-Karros scored a game-high 20 points and recorded a career-high 17 rebounds. Junior guard Smith-Williams scored 13 points, shooting 3-4 from three-point land. Rebecca Maessen had six points and a team-high four assists. UCSB’s Mekia Valentine totaled a team-high 16 points, eight rebounds and really dominated the Anteaters down low with an astonishing 11 blocks. UCI out-rebounded UCSB, but shot only 29 percent from the field and committed 26 turnovers.
The Lady Anteaters will play Cal Poly next on Monday, Jan. 4, 2009 in San Luis Obispo at 7 p.m before returning home to the Bren Events Center on Jan. 7 to face Cal State Northridge.