Not Just Pretending: UCI Contending

Alex Yee | Staff Photographer

UCI 70, CSUF 65

Junior forward Mikah Maly-Karros posted a season-high 26 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and recorded her ninth double-double of the season as the Lady Anteaters escaped with a 70-65 victory against Orange County rival, CSU Fullerton on Jan. 5.

Senior guard Jade Smith-Williams added 10 points and redshirt freshman Jacquelyn Marshall helped the cause, notching nine points and a career-high eight rebounds.

The Anteaters and the Titans were tied on seven different occasions in the first half. As the first half came to a close, both teams were knotted up at 31 apiece, but with 56 seconds left both Maly-Karros and Smith-Williams recorded a basket to give the ’Eaters a 35-31 advantage heading into the locker room.

In the second half, the Lady Anteaters’ shooting led the way, hitting 10 of 19 shots for a 52.6 shooting percentage. As the Anteaters’ shooting percentage improved, their stifling defense began to fluster Fullerton. CSUF shot 38 percent from the field, including 5 for 21 from the 3-point line.

Long Beach 59 UCI 77

The UCI women’s basketball team is on fire. On Saturday, it was their outside shooting that was hot, as the Lady Anteaters made a season-high 11 3-pointers against Long Beach State in a 77-59 victory.

“I thought we shot the ball well, we shared the ball well and I believe we had a good team effort, and handled the other team’s defense pretty well,” Head Coach Molly Goodenbour said.

Forward Mikah Maly-Karros shined with her league-leading 10th double-double, scoring 25 points and grabbing 11 rebounds along with two blocks. Guard Jade Smith-Williams delivered a strong performance, scoring 16 points and shooting 4-5 from the 3-point line. Forward Jacquelyn Marshall added 16 points and nabbed 4 steals.

The Anteaters began the game with a marvelous shooting display, going on a 13-0 run, including three 3-point baskets in the first five minutes. LBSU eventually scored in the paint after calling a timeout within the sixth minute, but it didn’t hold off the Anteaters from scoring more baskets. By the end of the 10th minute, UCI led LBSU 21-7. UCI controlled the game in the entire first half, scoring off turnovers and making open shots. The team’s momentum was slowed down by traveling calls, cooling down the team’s shooting in the last five minutes of the first half. Still, UCI went into the half leading 38-23.

The second half was more evenly matched, as the Anteaters found themselves trading baskets in the first nine minutes of the second half, matching the 49ers 12-12. Although the ’Eaters found their stroke beyond the arc, they allowed some easy baskets from inside the paint. In addition, LBSU’s defense played a major role in frustrating the Anteaters into making turnovers.

“I think that was a function of the style in which they play, because they tried to pressure and push up the full court,” Goodenbour said. “We’re not used to seeing that very much. So we saw our players become very indecisive because of the trap.”

Nevertheless, the ’Eaters were able to hold off the 49ers and maintain their large lead to remain undefeated at home (7-0), improving their record to 11-4 (3-0 Big West).

The team’s focus plays a crucial factor in their strong season as the Lady Anteaters are becoming serious contenders for the Big West title.

“I think we need to keep playing and practicing hard,” Marshall said. “It is hard to keep our focus. We kind of let down a little bit because we thought we were going to win it, but we have to play the game like [the score is] 0-0 all the time, and that’s what the coach stresses.”

The Lady Anteaters will continue their home stand against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 13 and will face Cal Poly on Jan. 15.