Feb. 3, 2011
IRVINE, CA - UC Irvine's Mikah Maly-Karros and Jade Smith-Williams combined for 55 points and the host Anteaters shot 58 percent from the field Thursday night to hold off charging Cal State Fullerton, 81-77, at the Bren Events Center.
The Titans fell to 8-15 overall and 4-6 in the Big West Conference while UCI improved to 13-8 overall, 5-4 in league play.
Junior Megan Richardson finished with 21 points to lead four in double figures. Lyndsey Grove and Lauren Chow added 14 points while Yvont'e Neal finished with 10 for the Titans, who shot 46 percent for the game.
Maly-Karros scored a game-high 29 points for the Anteaters, who started out hot by hitting 68 percent in the opening half before "cooling off" to hit 45 percent in the second half. Smith-Williams added 26 points, including 13-of-14 from the free throw line, and 10 assists as UCI hit 22-of-25 from the stripe to offset a perfect 10-for-10 night for Fullerton from the line.
A seven-point Anteater lead at halftime was whittled down to just four points, but a huge run by UCI almost put the game away for good. An 18-6 run over a five minute span gave the Anteaters their largest lead of the game at 66-50 with just under eight minutes to play.
However, the Titans clawed their way back into the game with a 14-4 spurt of their own, making it a six-point game at 70-64 with 3:27 remaining in the game. UC Irvine hit 7-of-10 from the line down the stretch and got baskets by Jazmyne White and Maly-Karros, but Fullerton's sharpshooters made it close, giving them a shot at the end.
Chow hit three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to bring the Titans to within five points, 77-72, with under a minute to go, but then struggled, missing four shots on their next two trips down the court. Grove hit a short jumper and Chow hit all three free throws with one second left on the clock around a free throw by Smith-Williams for the final four-point margin.
Fullerton finished 11-for-33 from three-point range (28-for-61 overall), ending with double-digit makes from long distance for the third consecutive game and one off their season high of 12 set against San Jose State on Nov. 21. The 33 three-point attempts were just two off the school record of 35 set at Iowa State in 2006.
The Titans close out the week on Saturday (Feb. 5) as they travel to UC Riverside for a 5 p.m. tip at the Student Rec Center.