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Climbing to Second Place

David Conley/New University

SU 86, UCI 58

The UC Irvine women’s basketball team saw it’s five-game win streak before 1,300 fans at the Bren Event Center after losing to Seattle University 86-58 on Jan. 22. UCI is now 9-11 overall.

Freshman Methlyn Onogomuho led in scoring for UCI with 14 points off of 7 of 17 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. Senior Kassandra McCalister scored 13 points and dished four assists, but struggled to protect the ball with six turnovers. The team did a poor job on the offensive end, shooting 34.4 percent from the field while Seattle had a hot shooting night, making 55 percent of their field goals.

The Anteaters battled to keep the game close, but Seattle went on a 12-0 run in the first half to pull away with a giant 35-18 lead with four minutes and 23 seconds left in the half. Seattle led 43-25 in the end of the first half after shooting 54.5 percent from the floor.

Seattle opened up the scoring in the second half to take a 20-point lead. Throughout the rest of the game, Seattle pulled away and never saw their advantage dip below 20 points.

UCI will play their next game on Thursday, Jan. 26, as they host UC Riverside at 7 p.m in the Bren Event Center.

UCI 73, CSUF 68

After two impressive road victories at Santa Barbara and Cal Poly, the UC Irvine women’s basketball team returned home and extended their win streak to five games by defeating the Cal State Fullerton Titans, 73-68. The Lady Anteaters are now 5-0 in 2012 and have improved their record to 5-2 for second place in the Big West Conference and 9-10 for the overall season.

Once again the Anteaters were led by the backcourt duo of junior Anete Klintsone and senior Kassandra McCalister, who both scored 14 points and tallied four assists. The Anteaters displayed a remarkable team effort Wednesday, as five Anteaters reached double-digits in scoring.

As a team, UCI outplayed Fullerton on both sides of the ball.  When asked about the effort, Coach Molly Goodenbour praised the balance of her team and the leadership McCalister has provided over the past five games.

“We had five in double figures and everybody rebounded,” she said. “Kassandra just keeps leading and playing with a lot of confidence. She has been our go-to person in this streak. I think her confidence gives other players more confidence.”

The first half belonged entirely to the Anteaters. Irvine was able to erase an early Fullerton lead with a 15-0 run and by locking down the Titans for a span of six minutes.  The Anteaters forced the Titans to 11 first-half turnovers and dominated the rebound battle 25-15. The Anteaters’ hustle for loose balls and offensive rebounds created second opportunities to score.

Offensively, the Anteaters took advantage of their size. Lead by Jasmine Bernard off the bench, the Anteaters outscored the Titans 24-12 in points in the paint.

Although the Anteaters dominated most of the first half, a late Fullerton run reduced the Anteaters lead to single-digits. The Anteaters, however, extended their lead to 10 points at the end of the half and never surrendered the lead for the remainder of the game.

In the second half, the Anteaters would break the game open.  A 15-4 Irvine run extended the Anteater lead to 22 points. However, another late push by Fullerton would distort the outcome of the game. In a game completely dominated by Irvine, Fullerton’s 18-1 run at the end of the game made the game appear a lot closer than it actually was.

Despite having only eight players dressed due to injuries, the Anteaters were able to continue their stellar play. It appears as if the women are finally beginning to click as a team. After being picked to finish sixth in the conference, the Anteaters have definitely been the biggest surprise of the season so far.