'Eaters bested again

UCI loses eight-point second-half lead to drop second straight Big West home game Saturday.

January 15, 2011|By Barry Faulkner,

IRVINE — Growing pains or just excruciatingly painful losses?

UC Irvine women's basketball coach Molly Goodenbour said it may be too soon to tell Saturday, after the Anteaters dropped their second crucial Big West Conference game in three days to fall from a tie for first place into a three-way tie for third.

Visiting Cal Poly San Luis Obispo maintained sole possession of first place by rallying from an eight-point second-half deficit to claim a 72-70 triumph and improve to 9-7, 5-0 in conference in front of a season-best home crowd of 1,575 at the Bren Events Center.


UCI (11-5, 3-1), which entered the week 7-0 at home and ranked No. 23 in the mid-major poll, overcame a 44-39 halftime deficit to claim a 56-48 advantage with 11 minutes left.

Junior Mikah Maly-Karros, who had a season-low nine points and seven rebounds in Thursday's 69-58 loss to UC Santa Barbara, had a game-high 28 points and 12 rebounds against the Mustangs. She had 18 points in the first half and produced four during a 14-1 UCI run that created the eight-point cushion midway through the second half.

After a 13-1 Cal Poly run put the visitors up, 62-59, Maly-Karros sank a three-pointer to knot the score. But Cal Poly, led by 24 points and six three-pointers from senior Rachel Clancy, pulled ahead, 70-64, and held off a late charge.

A Maly-Karros layup drew UCI within 70-68 with 1:03 left and, after two free throws by the Mustangs, Jade Smith-Williams made a layup to cut the UCI deficit to 72-70 with 35 seconds remaining.

UCI forced a 35-second shot-clock violation on Cal Poly's ensuing possession and took the ball out of bounds from the Cal Poly baseline with four seconds left.

Kassandra McCalister's three-quarter-court football pass sailed over Maly-Karros and was tipped by two Cal Poly defenders near the UCI free-throw line. UCI junior Kiara Belen beat a Mustang to the loose ball and the collision sent Belen to the line with 3.4 seconds remaining.

Belen missed the first of the one-and-one situation, but the rebound went out of bounds to UCI. The 'Eaters, who had no timeouts, managed to inbound and get an open 17-footer from the right wing by McCalister. But the shot caromed off the rim at the buzzer.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles