UCI 81, CSUF 77
The Lady Anteaters put on a show on Feb. 3 in a hard-fought battle. Mikah Maly-Karros, who ranks seventh in the country with 13 double-doubles, had a season high of 29 points. Jade Smith-Williams, who leads the Big West in assists, had a phenomenal night as well, recording 26 points and 10 assists.
“Focus,” Maly-Karros said, when asked what to attribute to her season high. “The team was coming off of a slump. We had a really good practice this week; everyone contributed to the win and we all played really well.”
Ball movement and scoring helped the Anteaters put a halt to Fullerton’s early success. The Anteaters made 57 percent of their field goals and shot a remarkable 88 percent from the free-throw line.
“It was a team effort,” Head Coach Molly Goodenbour said. “The ladies shot well, they made crucial free throws, and we played enough defense to stay in the game through our offence.”
Defense was vital in the win over Cal State Fullerton as both teams played extremely aggressively. The Titans led for most of the first half, pressing UCI to commit five turnovers after only eight minutes of play. However, UCI regrouped and took the lead by halftime, 42-35.
After the Anteaters took over for most of the second half, CSUF was able to make a comeback, forcing the Lady Anteaters to hustle on defense. Jazmyne White made a crucial block with 10 seconds left to play, closing out any hope the Titans may have had for a win. Junior guard Megan Richardson led the charge for Cal State Fullerton, scoring 21 points and four assists.
“Big West games are different because we play these teams twice a year. They’re familiar with our team and how we play, so they always come harder the second time around,” Maly-Karros said.
UCI 72, CSUN 82
After winning 11 of 12 games in the months of November, December and the early part of January, Head Coach Molly Goodenbour, Mikah Maly-Karros and the rest of the Lady Anteaters have limped through the middle portion of their schedule.
The Lady Anteaters entered the game against Cal State Northridge having lost four out of their last six games, and were in search for a much needed momentum boost. However, the women’s basketball team hit rock bottom when they lost 82-72 to the last place team in the Big West.
Maly-Karros scored 27 points and grabbed five rebounds, senior guard Jade Smith-Williams added 26 points and the Lady Anteaters forced 26 turnovers, but these efforts went for naught. The Matadors overcame two offensive explosions and an opportunistic defense by shooting 64 percent for the game, including 70 percent in the second half.
With the loss against the Matadors, the Lady Anteaters fall to 5-5 in Big West play and 13-9 overall. CSUN records only their second win of their season and in Big West play.
The Lady Anteaters now head out to a central coast swing against UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly on Feb. 10 and Feb. 12. With only five games left on their schedule, only one of them being at home, the Lady Anteaters will need to find a quick fix if they expect to make a run in the Big West Tournament.