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Women's Basketball: UCI front-loaded

Buckley leads collection of post players who figure to provide 'Eaters punch in the paint.

November 02, 2012|By Barry Faulkner
(File Photo )

There are two particular areas in which the UC Irvine women's basketball team does not much resemble Anteater squads of recent years.

One: What it has inside. And, two: What the Anteaters have inside.

The initial reference is to a corps of post players that provide an interior strength that has long been lacking in the program, run now by first-year coach Doug Oliver.

The second assertion refers to a preponderance of toughness — bordering on orneriness with a few players, Oliver says — that should serve the 'Eaters well in competitive situations.

Oliver, who steps in for Molly Goodenbour (now at Cal State Dominguez Hills after a 44-76 record in four seasons at the UCI helm), believes Loyola Marymount transfer Camille Buckley provides a foundation inside. Oliver is a former men's head coach at Idaho State who served as a UCI women's assistant last season after two seasons in the same role with the UCI men's team.

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Buckley, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, has the ability to reward those who feed the post with an assist. She also is a tenacious rebounder, said Oliver, who boasts depth inside with the presence of senior Jazmyne White, junior Jasmine Bernard and senior Cheyenne Cathey.

"She is just relentless pursuing the ball, rebounding-wise," Oliver said of Buckley, who had 12 points and seven rebounds and made six of nine field-goal attempts in a 66-32 exhibition win over NAIA representative Cal State San Marcos on Tuesday. "We can throw it into the low post and she's going to get it up on the glass. She's athletic and she bounces off the floor and makes things happen."

The 5-9 White, still recovering from knee surgery that ended her junior season after 15 games, is the leading scorer among eight returners. The former Big West Conference Freshman of the Year averaged 9.8 points and six rebounds per game in 2011-12. Oliver said she is already practicing, with some limitations, and should be cleared to play within a few weeks.

The 6-0 Bernard averaged 6.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in 28 games last season, including four starts. She had 12 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday's exhibition and has shown flashes of brilliance during her career.

"The thing we need from Jasmine is consistency," Oliver said.

The 5-11 Cathey adds depth after playing in 27 games last season, including six starts.

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