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Women's Basketball: 'Eaters handle Aggies

UCI, which is unbeaten at home this season, adds another victim in New Mexico State.

December 18, 2013|By Barry Faulkner

Defend the Bren, a marketing slogan turned rallying cry for the UC Irvine men's basketball team last season, has already been rendered useless by Coach Russell Turner's Anteaters, who have dropped half of their six home games.

But at least one UCI basketball unit can still give authenticity to the phrase.

Coach Doug Oliver's UCI women's team defeated visiting New Mexico State, 75-52, in a nonconference game Wednesday to improve to 2-0 at the Bren Events Center this season.

It broke a string of nine straight road contests for the Anteaters (6-5), who topped South Dakota in the season opener at home on Nov. 10. And with two more road contests to close out December, the UCI women will enter the Jan. 2 home game against La Verne with something to protect.

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"As a coach, you are always looking for a hook," said Oliver after senior Camille Buckley produced a career-high 24 points and added 11 rebounds to give her six double-doubles this season. "Last year, the [UCI] men did ride the "Defend the Bren," thing [theyt were 9-0 in the Bren during conference play and 13-1 at home overall, including games at Crawford Court]. And, because of our schedule, with so few home games, it's something that we're going to try to take to heart and utilize. We could start feeling good about ourselves in the Bren."

Buckley, who had a then-career-high 22 points to go with 10 rebounds in the previous game at Sacramento State, was feeling good once again against the Aggies (3-7), who are coached by former Pepperdine and USC head man Mark Trakh. Orange County fans may also remember Trakh, whose brother Maz is a former UCI men's assistant, for his successful tenure at Brea Olinda High.

Buckley made seven of 10 field-goal attempts and was 10 for 11 from the foul line, while also single-handedly besting the visitors in offensive rebounds, 5-4.

"We can isolate her well enough to give her that one little move to split people or whatever," Oliver said of the powerful and determined 6-foot-1 post. "And she's just relentless on the boards."

The same could be said of the entire UCI roster, as the hosts amassed a 49-28 advantage on the glass, including 19 offensive boards that led to 19 second-chance points and contributed to a 32-18 edge in points in the paint.

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