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Women's Basketball: 'Eaters strong in debut

UCI, with three newcomers performing well, handle NAIA foe in exhibition opener.

October 30, 2012|By Barry Faulkner
  • UC Irvine's Jennifer Tsurumoto, center, who scored nine points, goes up for a shot against Cal State San Marcos' Sarah Jackson, left, and Danielle Cooper during a preseason exhibition game on Tuesday.
UC Irvine's Jennifer Tsurumoto, center, who scored… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

IRVINE — Tuesday marked the unofficial UC Irvine head-coaching debut of Doug Oliver, but it was the newcomers on the floor that provided the most uplifting evidence of what the Anteaters' future may hold.

Sophomore Loyola Marymount transfer Camille Buckley, as well as community college transfers Vanessa Aguilar and Jennifer Tsurumoto, stood out in UCI's 66-32 exhibition women's basketball victory over Cal State San Marcos at the Bren Events Center.

Buckley, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules and was limited to minimal practices due to a foot injury, scored 10 of her 12 points after halftime to share high-point honors for the winners. Buckley, a 6-foot-1 post, made six of nine field-goal attempts, five of six in the second half, and added seven rebounds and one steal without a turnover in 21 minutes.

Aguilar, out of Los Angeles Valley College, made all four of her field-goal tries, including three three-pointers, to post 11 points in 14 minutes.

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Tsurumoto, a point guard out of Santa Rosa College, had nine points, including a pair of three-pointers, to go with a team-high three assists. She had two rebounds, a steal and only one turnover in 22 minutes off the bench.

Adding to the impressive newcomers was freshman Mokun Fajemisin, who had five blocked shots to go with two points and four rebounds in 18 reserve minutes.

The Anteaters, picked by the media to finish ninth in the 10-team Big West Conference after a 13-17 season in 2011-12, were also paced by junior returner Jasmine Bernard. Bernard, who averaged 6.3 points and 3.5 rebounds as a sophomore, collected 12 points and 10 rebounds. She did not commit a turnover in 21 minutes, helping the hosts post a 27-13 advantage in that department.

"We did a lot of good things, " said Oliver, a former men's head coach at Idaho State who was an assistant for former UCI women's coach Molly Goodenbour last season after a stint as a UCI men's assistant. "I think that we established that we can play hard and stay aggressive. And, in the second half, we did a really good job of controlling the tempo of the offense. We wanted to establish a low-post game the second half and I thought the girls, for the most part, did that."

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