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.