'Eaters dial long distance in win

UCI women's basketball team hits season-high nine three-pointers in 73-56 victory against Portland.

December 21, 2010|By Barry Faulkner,
  • UC Irvine's Tayler Champion (20) battles Portland's Nakeisha Brown (24) for a rebound during Tuesday's game at Bren Events Center.
UC Irvine's Tayler Champion (20) battles Portland's… (KENT TREPTOW, Daily…)

IRVINE — There was a time when UC Irvine's Mikah Maly-Karros looked through the jungle of hands, arms and torsos presented by triple-teaming defenders and saw a challenge. Now, she sees a teammate on the perimeter waiting to make the defense pay.

The Anteaters lightened the prolific post player's inside burden by making a season-high nine three-pointers Tuesday in a 73-56 nonconference women's basketball triumph against Portland at the Bren Events Center.

The win ups UCI's record to 8-4, the program's best start since the 1994-95 Anteaters also opened 8-4. To find a better start at UCI, one must go back to the 1984-85 team that opened with a 9-2 record that eventually became 13-3.

"This is the best start Irvine has had in a long time," said third-year coach Molly Goodenbour, whose team gets nine days off before opening Big West Conference play Dec. 31 at UC Riverside.

Maly-Karros, who leads the Big West in scoring and rebounding, collected 14 of her 20 points in the second half Tuesday, after five first-half three-pointers helped loosen the defensive focus the Pilots (9-4) dedicated to her inside.


"In the beginning, they were double- and triple-teaming me," said Maly-Karros, who was five for five from the field in the final 20 minutes, after missing all five of her field-goal attempts in the first half, all under extreme duress. "But after [my teammates] hit some shots, the middle opened up."

UCI made four three-pointers during a 20-0 first-half run that turned a 15-12 deficit into a 17-point advantage that was trimmed to a 32-17 halftime lead.

UCI sophomore Jacqueline Marshall sank a three-pointer to open the second-half scoring and made three of her four three-pointers after intermission for most of her 16 points.

Senior point guard Jade Smith-Williams made two of three attempts from three-point range on her way to 20 points, finishing eight of 15 from the field.

Maly-Karros, who came in averaging 18.8 points and 10.2 rebounds, led the 'Eaters with nine rebounds, while adding two assists (both kick-out passes for three-pointers), two steals and one blocked shot.

"Realistically, Mikah should have a double-double every night," Goodenbour said of Maly-Karros, who had a 40-point game last season when she earned first-team all-conference honors. "But now, we also have players around her who are able to do their part as well, which is what I'm excited about."

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