'Eaters struggles mount

Men's Basketball

UCI sees losing streak build to five at Long Beach State as Goodenbour continues to look for answers.

December 31, 2011|By Barry Faulkner

LONG BEACH — When UC Irvine women's basketball coach Molly Goodenbour needs to relieve stress, brainstorm solutions and face frustrations, she usually goes for a run.

It is then no surprise that based on the last three weeks, the former Stanford star's cardio-vascular fitness is far superior to the play of her team.

In a 63-51 Big West Conference loss to Long Beach State on Saturday at Walter Pyramid, the Anteaters continued to struggle to close the distance between their potential and their performance.


It was the fifth straight loss for UCI (4-10, 0-2 in conference), which had won four of five before the skid.

Since its last victory, an 81-75 home triumph over Sacramento State on Dec. 11, the Anteaters have shot a combined 31.3% and averaged 51 points and 19.4 turnovers in five games.

"I don't think we're bad," said Goodenbour, whose team shot 36.2% from the field and committed 21 turnovers to fall to a 49ers squad that was picked to finish last in the preseason conference media poll. "I think we have players who are as competent as any of the teams we're playing. We just haven't been able to find a way to have those kids make the most out of the tools and skills that they have. We're trying to work on it."

Several missed layups, defensive breakdowns and a general lack of offensive flow were the leading shortcomings for UCI against Long Beach State (7-8, 2-0), which scored the game's first seven points, led, 13-2, and never trailed.

But Goodenbour said she remains encouraged about the intangibles her players continue to display.

"We do play hard, we just play really, really inefficiently," Goodenbour said. "We have a hard time putting the ball in the basket. We tried to increase the tempo of the game a little bit and get some scores out of transition, because we knew we'd struggle against Long Beach's changing zones in the halfcourt. I just got done telling [the players]: 'We're playing really hard. You've got nothing to hang your head about in terms of effort and intensity. We just have to find a way to be a more efficient basketball team.'"

Senior Kassandra McCalister, a two-guard trying to fill a void at point guard, led UCI with 12 points, six rebounds and two steals. But she was five of 16 from the field and had three turnovers to one assist.

Sophomore Jasmine Bernard had 11 points and four boards, but all five of her missed field-goal tries were within a step of the basket.

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