By Marvin Luu
Behind senior guard Raelyn Cheung-Sutton’s double-double performance, the UC Irvine women’s basketball team (1-1) picked up their first win of the season, 63-58, in a late game slugfest against Southern Utah (0-3) in Cedar City. Despite shooting just 31 percent from the field, Cheung-Sutton still managed to post up 15 points along with her career-high 12 assists to lead all ‘Eaters in the respectable categories.
Junior sharp shooter Irene Chavez also had a woeful 5-12 shooting night, but contributed 14 points and drained a crucial three-point basket with just 1:02 left in the game to give the ‘Eaters a 58-54 point cushion over the Thunderbirds.
From the opening tip, both ball clubs had struggled to find the basket with both teams shooting under 30 percent before the end of the half. Given the teams’ stagnant offenses, neither the ‘Eaters nor the Thunderbirds managed to take a hold of Mr. Momentum for the majority of the game. By the end of the first three quarters of play, neither team had managed to slip away by a margin larger than two.
With the fourth quarter set to be the defining 10 minutes of the game, the ‘Eaters erupted with a 21-14 run to shake off Southern Utah. After starting the game slow, junior forward Mokun Fajemisin responded to her quite night by ripping down six boards and logging up six of her nine points in the period alone. Southern Utah pushed back consistently throughout the quarter and tied the game with 4:27 left in the contest. However, Chavez’s crushing three-point basket proved to be too much for the Thunderbirds who were forced to play the fouling game with just 30 seconds left on the clock. With time running out, the ‘Eaters closed out the game on the charity stripe, drawing out the final score, 63-58.
Following the victory, the ‘Eaters will head into Nevada tomorrow to face off against UNLV at 2:00 pm before returning to California to meet Princeton for the LMU Tournament held in Los Angeles.