Senior Send-Off Thursday; At UC Davis Saturday
Big West Conference Games
UC Irvine closes out the regular season hosting Cal State Fullerton Thursday (Mar. 6) at 7:00 p.m. in the Bren Center then heads to UC Davis Saturday (Mar. 8) for a 2:00 p.m. game at The Pavilion
UCI's seven seniors (Jazmyne White, Kelly Meggs, Jennifer Tsurumoto, Camille Buckley, Vanessa Aguilar, Lauren Spinazze and Jasmine Bernard) will be honored prior to Thursday's game against the Titans.
UCI is 14-14 overall and 7-7 in the Big West. The Anteaters are currently tied for fifth place in the league standings with Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton. UCI is one game behind fourth place UC Davis and two behind third place Hawaii (9-5). Due to tiebreakers, UCI could only finish as high as fourth place. Tiebreakers for other scenarios will be determined after this week's play.
The first and second round of the Big West Tournament will be held at Long Beach State on March 11-12. The semifinal and final games will be held at the Honda Center March 14-15.
UCI is 8-2 at home this year. UCI's two losses in the Bren are a 84-79 decision to Cal Poly on Feb. 1 and a 55-54 defeat against Hawaii on Feb. 20. The Anteaters are 5-11 on the road.
At home, UCI averages 76.6 points and shoots .390 from the floor, while averaging 70.6 points and shooting .372 on the road. The defense might be the biggest difference, holding opponents to 64.9 points per game at home and 77.4 away from Irvine.
Cal State Fullerton is 11-16 overall and 7-7 in the Big West. The Titans are coming off a 77-55 victory at Long Beach State Saturday.
The Anteaters and Titans are tied 34-34 in the series record. Cal State Fullerton took the first meeting 75-58 in Titan Gym. The 17-point loss to the Titans was the second worst defeat versusa Big West opponent for UCI this season.
In the first meeting with Cal State Fullerton, the Titans shot 51.9 percent from the floor (14-27), including seven three-pointers in the first 20 minutes. After leading by 10 at the break, Fullerton scored the first six points of the second half (45-29) and never looked back as UCI would only get as close as 11 points the rest of the game.
Jennifer Tsurumoto led UCI with 18 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Alex Thomas had 22 points to lead CSF followed by Tailer Butler who knocked down six three-pointers to record 18 points.
UC Davis holds a 19-5 advantage over UCI in the series records.
The Aggies beat Cal Poly (77-69) and UC Santa Barbara (65-47) last week and improved to 13-14 overall and 8-6 in the MPSF. UCD will host UC Riverside on Thursday before entertaining UCI.
Methlyn Onogomuho scored five of UCI's 11 points in overtime to secure 79-73 victory against UC Davis on Feb. 8 in Irvine. For the game, the forward recorded a career-best 20 points and career-high 13 rebounds, shooting 6-10 from the floor and 8-9 from the line. Camille Buckley led all players with 23 points. UC Davis was led by Sydnee Fipps with 21 points.
The Anteaters have won five of the last seven outings.
UCI beat UC Santa Barbara, 77-73 then fell to 92-87 in overtime to Cal Poly on the road last week.
UC Irvine hit a season-high 10 three-pointers in both games last week.
Against UCSB, Camille Buckley recorded a game-high 27 points and 13 rebounds. The senior went 8-14 from the floor and 11-16 from the free throw line. Vanessa Aguilar tied her career-high with five three-pointers and ended the night with 17 points.
The Anteaters committed eight turnovers last Thursday, including just three in the final 20 minutes.
Against Cal Poly, seniors dominated the Anteater offense. Buckley and Kelly Meggs led UCI with 22 points, which was a season-high for Meggs. Buckley recorded her league-leading 15th double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds. Vanessa Aguilar had 14 points and Lauren Spinazze tied her career-high with 12 points and pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds. UCI had just eight turnovers for the second consecutive game.
Over the last eight games, Buckley has averaged 22.4 points and 15.1 rebounds per game. She has recorded five consecutive double-doubles.
Buckley is averaging 18.0 points and 11.2 rebounds overall and 21.0 points and 13.1 rebounds versus Big West opponents.
Following her first free throw against UCSB, Buckley became the sole record holder for single season free throw made and attempted. She 176-229 which breaks Jade Smith-Williams (2010-11) and Stephanie Duda's (2007-08) mark of 189 in attempted and Smith-Williams (2010-11) in made free throws.
UCI's 14 wins overall are a five-game improvement over last year (9-21). It is the most wins since the club won 15 in 2010-11. It is the third time the Anteaters have recorded double-digit wins in the last 10 years.
Buckley is ranked 15th nationally in rebounding and leads the Big West in boards at 11.2 per game and is one of two players to average a double-double on the year with a 18.0 scoring mark. She is ranked third among league players in points per game. Buckley's 15 double-doubles is the most by a Big West player and is ranked 21st in the country.
Guard Kelly Meggs has knocked down at least one three-pointers in each of the last eight games she played in, including a career-high five against Cal Poly. Meggs has 36 treys on the season. Vanessa Aguilar leads UCI with 44 three-pointers followed by Tsurumoto with 37. Madison McKenney has drained 31 from beyond the arc.
Both Buckley and Tsurumoto have scored a career-high 31 points this year. The last time an Anteater duo scored 30 or more in one season dates back to Jade Smith-Williams and Mikah Maly-Karros in 2009-10.
The Anteaters have scored 90 or more points three times this season, a feat which has never been done. UCI has recorded 90-plus twice in 1983-84 and 1979-80. In 1979-80, the Anteaters scored 100 or more in both contests.