UCR women’s basketball wraps up tough road trip

Courtesy of UCR Athletics
Courtesy of UCR Athletics

UCR’s women’s basketball (10-10, 4-3) began a two-game road stint against the top two Big West Conference teams on Thursday, Jan. 26 at number-two ranked UC Davis (15-6, 6-2). Unfortunately for the Highlanders, the offense was not in top form on Thursday as they struggled to score in the third quarter. The Aggies outscored the blue and gold, who went 2-18 in the quarter, 26-4 in a 72-55 Aggies win.

The Highlanders ended the second period on a 7-0 run which gave them the halftime lead 34-31 but the offense was stagnant from then on. Despite the unwanted result, forward Rejane Verin logged her fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while guards Lauren Holt and Simone DeCoud each added 10 points. Turnovers did not hurt the Highlanders nearly as badly in this game as they have others, as they recorded only 14, which is their average on the season. However, points in the paint helped do the blue and gold in as they were outscored 36-24.

After the game, Head Coach John Margaritis said the only aspects of Thursday’s game he wanted to see on Saturday was, “That we showed up on time.” He also added that his team’s intensity was lacking, but, “We don’t want to see that on Saturday. For two quarters in a row we were not able to do anything.” Despite the tough loss, Margaritis stressed his team had no time to lament as they had an even tougher road game approaching them.

Things did not get any easier for UC Riverside as they took on Big West Conference leader CSU Long Beach (15-7, 6-1) on Saturday, Jan. 28. The offense still sputtered for the Highlanders as they shot 10-32 in the first half from the field and found themselves trailing 31-22 at the half. The third quarter looked to be more of the same as the Beach opened up the second half with five unanswered points, but a 17-5 UCR run closed out the quarter bring the game within three as Long Beach led 44-41. Unfortunately, their offense once again stalled opening the fourth quarter, as the blue and gold opened 0-5 with three turnovers as Long Beach got the win 55-51.

Despite two tough conference losses on the road, UC Riverside once again saw important production from Verin who finished Saturday’s game with 17 points, six rebounds and three steals while hampered by an ankle injury. While Verin continues to lead this team, she didn’t do it alone as guard Michelle Curry added 10 points and DeCoud finished with eight points, six rebounds and five assists.

The Highlanders are down but not out as they sit in fourth place in the conference and have four days off to get healthy and watch film to get their offense back into gear in order to make a run through the second half of conference play. UCR is back in action Thursday, Feb. 2 against Hawai’i at 5 p.m. as part of the men’s and women’s doubleheader at the SRC. The game will also be available on ESPN3.

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