UCI 60, UCD 54
Coming off a close victory over University of Pacific, the UC Irvine women’s basketball team came out on top again over UC Davis with a 60-54 victory. The team is currently 2-2 in the Big West Conference and 6-10 overall.
Junior Anete Klintsone again stepped up as the lead scorer, compiling 16 points and eight rebounds while sophomore Jacquelyn Marshall had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Marshall also gave a solid defensive effort, recording two steals and a block. Head Coach Molly Goodenbauer placed senior point guard Kassandra McCalister at the small forward position due to her athleticism and ability to make good passes from the high post, and the switch paid off as she scored 12 points and dished out seven assists.
The game was kept close in the first half as both teams battled hard to make baskets in this low-scoring affair. The Anteaters never allowed the Aggies to take a significant lead, trailing only three times by a small amount. After the Aggies led 15-13, the Anteaters never fell behind throughout the entire contest from that point as they took the lead on a 10-3 run.
Although UCI held onto a five-point lead with three minutes left in the half, Davis went on a 7-2 run to tie the game at 25 with nearly a minute left in the half thanks to a 3-pointer, a layup and two free throws. With 30 seconds left, freshman Methlyn Onogomuho went for a jumper. The shot missed, but junior Cheyenne Cathey grabbed the offensive board and tried to put up a shot. Cathey missed, but drew the foul and converted both her free throws to give UCI a two-point lead at the end of the half.
The Anteaters came out of the locker room playing solid defense in the second half and halting the Aggies’ tempo with full court pressure. Not only were they able to convert several turnovers into easy shots, the Anteaters did a better job spreading the floor and moving the ball around on the offensive end. UCI went on a 17-6 run in the opening 10 minutes, with eight points coming from McCalister to take a 44-33 lead. Although the Aggies were able to score a chain of baskets throughout the rest of the game, they never came close to threatening UCI’s lead.
“She’s [Anete Klintsone] been playing with a lot of confidence, playing under control and making shots,” said Goodenbauer on her leading scorer. “It feels good to get this one over Davis. Davis has been a very good team and tends to be the best in the league. It just feels fortunate to win.”
UCI 77, UoP 75 (OT)
The UC Irvine women’s basketball team broke out of a four-game skid and earned their first victory in the Big West conference with a 77-75 overtime victory over University of Pacific. The Pacific Tigers often caught the Anteaters’ defense off-guard with their quick, aggressive runs to the basket, but Irvine showed they had plenty of offense to barely outplay the Tigers thanks to a 21-point effort from junior Anete Klintsone.
The former member of the U-20 Latvian national basketball team has shown confidence against her opponents, cutting to the basket and finding space for open shots. She finished 9 for 15 from the floor, including 2 of 5 3-pointers.
Freshman Methlyn Onogomuho had an efficient performance, grabbing eight rebounds and scoring 15 points while committing only one turnover.
Senior Kassandra McCalister dished out eight assists, but gave up an alarming nine turnovers.
The two teams continually traded baskets throughout the first half. It wasn’t until there was 8 minutes, 51 seconds left in the half when Pacific had its largest lead over UCI with a 24-19 advantage. However, with 8:23 left in the game, Junior Jazmyne White forced a turnover and found sophomore Jacquelyn Marshall who converted the layup and drew the foul for a 3-point play.
After Senior Kiara Belen converted only one free throw, Klintsone scored a layup off a pass from McCalister to help UCI lead 25-24. The game remained a back-and-forth exchange, and at the end of the first half, the Anteaters found themselves behind 36-35.
The second half provided similar results, but with 13:55 left in the half, things turned for the worse when Jazmyne White injured her knee. She sat out for the rest of the game and will be out indefinitely for the season.
With two minutes left in the second half, the Anteaters sparked a 6-1 run to grab a 71-66 lead thanks to field goals made by McCalister, Onogomuho and Marshall. But with one minute left in the second half, the Anteaters failed to make successful transitions on the defensive end and allowed a 3-pointer. With four seconds left in the clock, McCalister committed a costly error as she fouled Pacific’s Kendall Rodriguez beyond the 3-point line, giving Rodriguez three free-throw attempts. Irvine came away lucky as Rodriguez only converted two to tie the game at 71 apiece and send the game to overtime.
Belen served as the star of overtime as she drew first blood with a jumper to give Irvine a 73-71 lead. Klintsone extended the Anteater’s lead with a layup, but with two minutes left on the clock, the Tigers struck back with two baskets to tie the game. Belen responded quickly to regain the lead by hitting the game-winning shot with 54 seconds to go.
The Tigers pushed for another game-tying basket, and the final five seconds of regulation nearly repeated itself as Belen fouled Pacific’s Gena Johnson to send her to the line for two free-throws. Fortunately Johnson missed both shots and Irvine came away with the victory.
“To get a victory tonight was the best thing ever,” said Klintsone after snapping the four-game skid. “In all the games we were close but we ended up losing it in the end and it wasn’t the lack of focus. It just didn’t go our way.”