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'Eaters extend streak

UCI, triggered by active zone defense, win second straight to match longest skein in three seasons.

November 26, 2010|By Barry Faulkner, barry.faulkner@latimes.com

IRVINE — When the longest winning streak in the last five seasons has been three games, winning two straight can constitute being in "the zone."

Playing a zone, in fact, was largely responsible for helping UC Irvine defeat Northern Colorado, 66-52, in a nonconference women's basketball game Friday at the Bren Events Center.

It was the second consecutive triumph for UCI (2-3), matching the longest stretch of prosperity under third-year coach Molly Goodenbour, who has now overseen four two-game winning streaks.

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The Anteaters, who began a swing of four straight home games Friday, will try to extend their current run of good fortune Monday against Wyoming at 7 p.m.

UCI's active 2-1-2 zone defense helped create 23 turnovers Friday, including eight during the final 13 minutes of the first half, when the hosts outscored the Bears, 17-5, to turn a 12-9 deficit into a nine-point halftime cushion.

Northern Colorado (2-4) never got closer than six as junior Mikah Maly-Karros collected 16 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and two steals to lead the winners.

Junior Kiara Belen chipped in a career-high 16 points to go with four rebounds, while sophomore Jazmyne White made seven of nine field-goal attempts to finish with a career-high 14 points for the 'Eaters.

Senior point guard Jade Smith-Williams had six points, a team-best three assists, as well as three steals, while sophomore Cheyenne Cathey, who sank one of two three-point tries and is now four for six from three-point range this season, also scored seven points for the winners.

The news was not all good for UCI, which had 18 turnovers and, in one stretch of just more than two minutes late in the contest, was outscored, 12-2, to allow the Bears to close to within 59-48 with 2:47 remaining.

"It was what I was afraid it would be, but we definitely got away with one there," Goodenbour said. "The last couple of years, we have not played very well coming back after the Thanksgiving holiday. I was afraid we would let down, which we did. Northern Colorado is a good enough and scrappy enough team to beat you when you're not prepared to play. We talked about it before the game, at halftime and after the game. "

Goodenbour said her zone defense, which did not surface much at all last season, has become a strength.

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