‘Eaters Look to Start the Season With a Slam
UC Irvine’s notorious Shocktoberfest is known not only for its musical lineup, which included A$AP Rocky and YG, but also for its introduction of the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Shocktober displays how much school spirit UC Irvine has and how much enthusiasm and support the student body has for its sports teams. Standing in the bleachers and being swallowed by the noise of the roaring fans, the announcements began for the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Wild cheering erupted throughout the court as the athletes came running in. The players welcomed the cheers of the audience, as most of them are not unfamiliar to this adoration from the crowd. This year’s roster welcomed a total of nine freshmen Anteaters for both the men’s and women’s teams.
During last year’s three-point shot competition, the men beat the women, leaving the ladies strongly determined to win this year. They trailed behind by five points in the beginning, but halfway through, the ladies bounced back, quickly regaining momentum and earning back the lead.
All the players were on a roll; the women proved to be cool, calm and collected with their shots. One player who stood out was senior guard Vanessa Aguilar, who whipped out back to back three-point shots that helped the team take the lead. In the end, it was an outstanding feat for the women’s basketball team as they won by one point, taking the coveted title away from men. They celebrated in a victorious huddle and jumped in unison with joy. And what kind of UCI event does not include a dance routine? Men’s and women’s basketball collaborated with one of UCI’s dance crew, MCIA, to dance to the overly hashtagged song, “Started from the Bottom”. It included everything from choreography to floor work and much needed sass.
As a fresh season is about to start, the teams will both go in with a 0-0 record. Last year, the men’s team had a record of 21-16 and made it to the Big West Tournament Championship against Pacific, but lost by nine points, as the women had a record of 9-21.From the looks of Shocktober’s three-point contest, it looks like the Lady Anteaters are pumped for this upcoming season, ready to bring their game and play with fresh attitudes.
The last of the night was the men’s dunking contests. With a judging panel and an audience to cheer on the players, the men’s basketball team had the perfect setting for their contest. The men’s basketball team showed off their talents as each one of the dunk contestants gave their best performance. It boiled down to two sophomore guard Alex Young, and forward Will Davis II. Davis came out on top as the dunk champ as he proved himself worthy, shocking the crowd and the judges with his shattering dunk.
Overall, Shocktober was a success. It succeeds not only in being able to bring students out to enjoy a night of sports and music, but also in bringing out Anteater pride for our men and women’s basketball teams.
This year the ‘Eaters are looking forward to another exciting men’s basketball season with promising talent from their latest additions of five freshmen, three who come from abroad. The ’Eaters also expect to see senior guard, Chris McNealy, for his last season along with his fellow teammates. The coaching staff is back again with Head Coach Russell Turner, who helped lead the ’Eaters through one of their best seasons last year, Assistant Head Coach Ali Ton and Assistant Coaches Ryan Badrtalei and Nick Booker.
For women’s basketball, it is a bittersweet season, since more than half of their team is made up of seniors returning for their final season, however, welcoming four new fresh faced additions to the team. Coming back again for this season is Head Coach Doug Oliver and Assistant Coaches Annie Mai, Lauren Bowie and Michelle Agustavo.
We will be looking forward to how well this team made up of a majority of seniors, two juniors, and two sophomores will work together and provide a name for the women Anteaters.
As the sports portion of Shocktoberfest winds down and the students rush from the stands to the floor for the concert, the basketball teams walk off the courts in high spirits for their new season ahead. The next game for women’s basketball will be against Concordia on Nov. 7 at the Bren Center. For the men, their first game will be on Nov. 8 against Fresno State at the Bren Center.