Women’s basketball dispatches UC Irvine

Janine Ybanez/HIGHLANDER
Janine Ybanez/HIGHLANDER

Jan. 8, 2014
Titans 58 – Highlanders 49

With a game against the Anteaters on the horizon, the UC Riverside women’s basketball team opened its conference portion of the schedule on the road against the Cal State Fullerton Titans. Playing without Simone DeCoud and Annelise Ito, the Highlanders struggled to produce offense, falling 58-49.

UC Riverside fell behind early in the game as the Titans led by 13 points with only eight minutes played in the half. Fullerton held Brittany Crain to two field goals in the period and charged ahead in the contest, leading 32-19 at intermission.

Cal State Fullerton extended their lead to as many as 21 points in the second half before UC Riverside began to make a late charge. Akilah Martin scored a burst of seven points in the waning minutes of the game to bring UCR to within nine, 50-41, but the Titans shut the door on a comeback, securing the victory 58-49.

Jan. 10, 2014
Highlanders 71 – Anteaters 58

On a cold and gloomy Saturday night, women’s basketball thrived over UC Irvine, 71-58, backed by a 31-point performance by Brittany Crain.

With only 280 fans on hand at the UCR campus, the Anteaters took the lead right off the bat with a layup by Mokun Fajemisin. UCR seemed to be a step slow to start the contest, but with 9:28 remaining, they finally led in the scoreboard, 15-14. With layups and three-pointers by leading scorers Crain and Dynese Adams, the team continued to tally up points and by the end of the first half they held on to the lead with a score of 33-27.

Going into the locker room at intermission, more seats began to fill up the arena. With a couple of entertainment acts, such as a dance performance by kid cheerleaders from Moreno Valley, the crowd remained engaged and active despite the rainy weather surrounding the arena.

As the whistle blew and the second half began, the intensity grew. As much as UC Irvine tried to accumulate points with steals and occasional three-pointers, UCR was able to respond almost immediately. The teams tied twice but the Highlanders remained in control. Though UCR was nine points ahead with 4:56 remaining, UCI started to mount a comeback.

The last four minutes of the game had the crowd clenching their teeth as the scores moved from 60-51 to 60-54, which meant the game was now within two possessions for the visiting team. However, the Highlanders fought through the last couple of seconds and Brittany Crain scored the last point of the game, 71-58.

The buzzer rang and applause from the crowd roared through the court as the UCR women’s basketball team collected their victory.

“I thought we did better than how we opened up conference,” Crain shared. “I thought there was a lot of key things (in winning the game) like boxing out on the defensive end and on the offensive end I think we needed to be more aggressive and I think that’s what we did tonight.”

Crain led all scorers with 31 points and eight rebounds. Akilah Martin (14), Adams (13) and Jaelyn Wilson (12) joined Crain in double figures.

The UC Riverside women’s basketball team next travels to Davis, Calif. to face off against the UC Davis Aggies on Jan. 15.

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