By: Amanda Zarasua
Photos Provided by UCI Athletics
The UCI Women’s Basketball team emerged victorious with a 79-77 win against the San José State University Spartans after starting their season off with a home game on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at the Bren Events Center.
The game began intensely right at tip off with a jump ball being redone. This led to SJSU starting off with possession of the ball. The Spartans did not keep control for long when a steal and a layup from junior Alexus Seaton put UCI ahead with a score of 4-0. The Spartans promptly counter-backed after a UCI foul and took the lead, 5-4. UCI retook a narrow lead at 11-10, but a Spartans’ steal and jump shot was enough to put them back in the lead at 12-11. SJSU was able to keep the lead for the rest of the quarter, but a three-point buzzer shot from senior Lauren Saiki for the Anteaters was enough to cut the Spartans’ lead to a close 17-19 at the end of the first quarter.
The Spartans started the second quarter off strongly with a 25-23 lead, but a UCI three pointer from junior Dani Guglielmo pushed the Anteaters to a 26-25 lead. UCI continued to dominate through the quarter and went into the half with a lead of 42-38.
The Spartans tied the game up at 42-42, but after a rebound and two successful free throws by Seaton, UCI regained the lead at 46-42. The Anteaters clung to a slim lead, but late into the third quarter SJSU sunk a three pointer that brought them ahead 57-58. With less than two minutes to go into the quarter, UCI was unable to come back and went into the fourth quarter down 60-59.
Two consecutive layups by junior Tahlia Garza put the Anteaters back at a 63-60 advantage. UCI kept the momentum going until a SJSU layup briefly put the Spartans ahead 74-73. With a layup by Seaton and a three-pointer by Saiki, the lead was back again in UCI’s possession at 78-74. A Spartan layup and successful free throw nearly brought SJSU to a tie with the Anteaters, but UCI was able to hold on to the lead through a successful free throw attempt by Saiki. This kept the Anteaters ahead 79-77. With eight seconds left in the fourth quarter, there was a last-minute play review called by SJSU on a rebound attempt. However, it was denied and the Anteaters started their season off with a 79-77 win.
“The main focus was … to stop them from driving in the lane and keeping them from shooting open shots. We really did a good job today on defense,” said Seaton when asked what the main focus of the team was coming into the first game of the season.
UCI will continue their season with a game against Oregon State on Saturday, Nov. 9.