Sophomore guard Andee Ritter made program history on Thurday night at the Bren Events Center, becoming the first Anteater to hit 66 triples in a single season—enough to snap a 28-year old record set at 64 by Kathy Lizarraga during the 1988-89 campaign.
“For any division one player or at any level, to be able to get 66 threes and counting in one season…that’s hard…that’s really hard to do,” UCI head coach Tamara Inoue said. “It is really a testament to her work ethic… she shows up every day ready to go [and] she does everything a Division I athlete should be doing. I think Ritter is going to be a household name at Irvine when she walks out of here.”
However, there was not much else that went right for the UC Irvine women’s basketball team (3-20, 1-8), which extended their five game losing streak to six with a 78-60 loss to Cal Poly (8-14, 4-6).
Ritter paced the ‘Eaters with 16 points and four steals as senior forward Shereen Sutherland was a rebound shy of earning her second straight double double with 11 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Tierra Hicks added 13 points to round out the ‘Eaters’ double digit scorers.
After sitting out of the last two games due to injury, junior forward Sabrina Engelstad came off the bench and saw 11 minutes of action where she posted two points and three rebounds
“She’s a little rusty but she will be fine,” coach Inoue said. “This was her first game back where everyone was healthy. We have seven games left so hopefully by the next game she will get some of that rust off of her and she’ll make some of those easy buckets that she normally makes.”
UCI virtually had no answer for Cal Poly’s twin duo of junior guards Dynn and Lynn Leaupepe who, along with senior forward Hannah Gilbert, scored 61 of the Mustangs 78 points on the night. Dynn lead Cal Poly with 21 points as Lynn and Gilbert snagged 20 points a piece.
“They deserve everything that they work for,” coach Inoue said. “Those kids are phenomenal players and they grind. They don’t take days off and I think that they really take everything seriously…it pays off and it shows.
The Mustangs converted 56.3 percent of their attempts to start the game and went on to improve their sharp shooting to 71.4 percent in the second period.
Cal Poly also controlled the paint for the majority of the game, outrebounding the ‘Eaters 42-26, 13 of which translated into second chance opportunities.
“We battled that night [against Long Beach] and tonight we came out extremely flat,” coach Inoue said. “We had no resistance…we let them score at will. We need to do a better job of being aggressive.”
On a Gilbert lay-in, Cal Poly got off on a 16-3 run that gave the Mustangs a steady advantage early in the opening frame. Ritter would stop the ‘Eaters dry spell with a triple—her first of four on the night—that ignited a 9-2 rally to cut the lead to six.
And after Dynn got the Mustangs rolling again with an uncontested lay in, Ritter returned to cap the quarter off with another basket from downtown as the deficit fell to five, 20-15, heading into the half. It would be the closest that the ‘Eaters would come for the remainder of the game.
Maintaining their advantage, Lynn scored eight points, including a lay-up with a little over three minutes to go before the half that would put the Mustangs up 37-26 and a double-digit lead that they would carry for the rest of the game.
In the third, Gilbert and Dynn picked up from where Lynn had left off as both went 3-5 from the floor and converted all of their free throws for a combined 17 points (eight and nine points respectively) in the quarter alone.
With 4:12 remaining in the period, Ritter hit her record-breaking 65th triple on the season to get the ‘Eaters going on 7-0 run, but at this point, the Mustangs controlled an 18-point cushion that they would draw out in the fourth to complete the 78-60 rout.
Having concluded their three game home stand, UCI will take a three game road trip beginning at UC Davis this Saturday where they will take on the Aggies at 2:30pm.