Smith-Williams, Maly-Karros Shine

UCI 68, LB St. 61

The women of Irvine played against the rival Long Beach State 49ers Thursday, Jan. 21, winning the contest by a final score of 68-61. Irvine picked up two points in the Black and Blue Series as well as a second straight victory, three overall, in conference play.

Jade Smith-Williams had a tremendous all-around game knocking down 9-14 shots from the field, including five three point baskets. Not to mention, Smith-Williams also made a perfect ten for ten from the charity stripe, totaling a career high 33 points. Her 33 point effort, also a game high, was the second-best shooting performance in Big West play this year.

“I was happy we were able to close out the game,” Smith-Williams said after her spectacular effort. “We have had leads blown which we should have won, but today we made plays at the end of the game. We were confident out there today.”

Coach Goodenbour’s team played aggressively from the start of the game, which set the tempo for the victory. The Lady ’Eaters held the lead for most of the game, limiting the 49ers to a two point lead in the first five minutes, which proved to be their only lead of the game.

“I was pleased with our ability to respond to their streak against us,” Goodenbour said. “We handled the press well and made good decisions which helped to run our offense.”

Mikah Maly-Karros’ outstanding effort was overshadowed by Smith-Williams’ career night, as she finished with another double-double: 15 points and 13 rebounds. Maly-Karros continues to be a force in the paint for the Lady Anteaters, showing consistency by recording her conference-best six double-doubles on the season.

“We were all motivated tonight, and we have been working hard for this,” Maly-Karros said of the Lady Anteaters’ victory. “Everyone was fired up at the end of the game which really helped us.”

There was a real sense of unity displayed by the Irvine women’s basketball team against the 49ers. Teammates applauded each other during big plays, on the sideline and on the court, which proved to be advantageous to the ’Eaters who shot an astonishing 87.5 percent from the free-throw line the entire game. The Lady Anteaters out-rebounded Long Beach State as well, totaling 39 boards in all.

The 49ers were led by Karina Figueroa with 18 points, followed by Ally Wood who added 11 of her own.

“We are going to enjoy our victory tonight,” added Goodenbour. “We have developed some maturity with this win.”

UCI 53, UCR 64

After an emotional victory against rival Long Beach State, the Lady Anteaters were unable to finish off the victory Saturday evening in Riverside, allowing the Highlanders to end with a 17-2 run in the last eight minutes of the game.

Irvine was held without a three point basket the entire game (0-8), a first time this season. The ladies are now 1-9 on the road.

Mikah Maly-Karros had a tremendous effort in the loss, adding to her league-leading double-double count to seven total games this season. She finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds, 11 of those points coming from free throw attempts. Rebecca Maessan had a terrific game in the second half with 13 points, and went a perfect seven for seven from the line. Jade Smith-Williams went a bit cold in the game, finishing with a total of six points.

The Anteaters shot better than the Highlanders from the line, 83 percent to 57 percent, and out-rebounded them 33 to 29.

Irvine had a nine point lead approaching the eight minute mark of the second half, but were ousted by Riverside who finished the game with an 11 point lead of their own, 74-63.

The Lady Anteaters fall to 3-5 in Big West play, and 6-14 overall. They travel on the road to face Pacific Jan. 27, and come back home against Cal State Fullerton to play Saturday, Jan. 30, 4 p.m. at the Bren Events Center.