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December 13, 2010 at 6:27 PM

Game thread: UC Irvine at Seattle University

SEATTLE LOSES: Well, a 15-1 run after SU closed within 10 points was enough to thwart any dreams of a comeback for the Redhawks against the Anteaters, losing 69-55 on Monday. The freshmen and newcomers were solid for Seattle U., yet UCI was quick and amped up its rebounding in the second half to limit the home team. Shephard scored all of her team-high-tying 11 points in the second half while Ward, a freshmen, added seven of her final 11 after the break. Brown, a transfer, had four steals in the second and freshman C Kacie Sowell grabbed four boards. “Our freshmen as a whole really played well,” Bonvicini said. “I made the big adjustment and brought out the five subs and it really brought our energy level up. The tale of the game was the turnovers, but these two (Shephard and Ward) really played smart, played hard and really grew up a lot today.” SU (3-7) departs Thursday for a three-game road trip, all in California. The student-athletes are out of school until Jan. 3. UCI (6-3), which won its sixth consecutive game behind Maly-Karros’ 20 points and 12 boards, plays at Eastern Washington on Wednesday.
NOT HAPPY: UCI coach Molly Goodenbour had some choice words for Smith-Williams, taking her out of the game to state the player needs to worry less about others and focus on what she’s doing. It’s no longer a party for the Anteaters as Shephard continues her superior second half, picking off a steal and dishing ahead to Butler, who converted a layin while being fouled. After the ensuing FT, the Redhawks were only down 52-42 with 9:24 left in the game. UCI is shooting 4-for-17 in the second half (23.5 percent), but had enough of a lead to possibly keep control of the game. We’ll see.
GETTING CLOSER: Bonvicini trickled her starters back into the game and the momentum remained as SU continued to hold UCI and chip at the deficit. A three-pointer by Shephard moved the Redhawks within 48-37 with 11:55 left in the game. SU is 5-for-9 from the field in the second half, Shephard with nine points after the break.
GOOD MOVE: Well, the reserves got three scores in Julee Christianson and Sylvia Shephard and four defensive stops. But SU remains down, 44-30.
TROUBLE?: Bonvicini doesn’t like the way her starters began the second half, going for a full lineup change with 17:53 remaining in the game. The Redhawks are down 44-24 and Bonvicini isn’t looking down the bench at the players.
HALFTIME: UCI started clowning when Belen nailed a three-pointer after some aggressive defense by SU. She flung her hands in the air to signal the shot with an attitude of “we can’t be stopped.” And UCI hasn’t been, leading 42-24 at the break, shooting 60.7 percent from the field. The Anteaters have had a hand in 17 SU turovers, scoring 22 points off the miscues. The Redhawks own the boards 24-13, but are 0-for-10 from three-point range after hitting 9-of-20 on Saturday in the win against Idaho. Belen has 12 for UCI while teammate Maly-Karros leads with 13 and five rebounds. Dickerson leads SU with 10 points. Butler has seven rebounds, but the Redhawks are shooting 26.7 percent from the field.
MEGGS IN: Big cheer from Section Across-From-Me when Meggs checked into the game with 3:25 remaining in the opening half and the Anteaters up 35-22. Guess Bellevue is in the house.
DIGGING IN: Since a 10-10 tie with 15:01 remaining in the opening half, the Redhawks have been outscored 19-6 to fall into a deep whole. The shots are getting harder to find, UCI forcing a shot-clock violation, and SU is turning the ball over. A putback by Dickerson with five minutes left stopped the hemorrhaging.
WEIGHT ROOM: Seattle U. could use a little more muscle. They’re getting some shots, but not without UCI swatting at the ball (or an arm, if you have coach goggles on) and they can’t muscle through what is often a no-call. On the other end, the Anteaters are getting quicker by the minute, building a 23-14 lead with 8:21 on the clock.
THAT VOICE: So, you couldn’t make it to Connolly Center tonight? I know, the rain, right? Well, you may have recognized a familiar voice on the radio, if you listened in addition to reading the blog. That was Storm color analyst Adia Barnes. In addition to working at Seattle Academy, she’s calling a few games in preparation for doing television work for FSN and ESPN when conference play begins this winter. Barnes, who was part of the Storm’s 2004 championship team, relocated to Seattle.
FAST START: Well, UCI is representing the Big West far better than UC Riverside against Washington on Sunday. The Anteaters are up 14-10 with 13:49 remaining in the opening half, picking off sloppy passes by SU and running it right to the hoop with a hurry. The Redhawks look good, it’s just the five turnovers that really weren’t forced that hurt. UCI is shooting 70 percent from the field while SU is 5-for-14 from the field early. Dickerson has been setting the tone, getting a nice steal and two fastbreak layins to put SU up 4-0 to open.
The beats are thumping, but Connolly Center is a little empty about an hour before Seattle University tips off against UC Irvine. The Redhawks are amped after a solid win against Idaho on Saturday where the team finally played the kind of defense coach Joan Bonvicini made her name for instructing her teams to play.
The Anteaters are going to be another tough opponent, however. UCI (5-3) is riding a five-game win streak, including an impressive victory against Portland State (75-61) in its last outing. The UCI defense is causing 19.5 turnovers and 4.3 blocks while ranking second in the Big West in scoring (66.8).
Seattle U. has a formidable front and backcourt. It’s just been getting the two units to play cohesively. Against Idaho, SU (3-6) used scores from guards Elle Kerfoot and Daidra Brown to pull out the win.
Monday could be a defensive showdown or one team could use the easy picks it gets off its defense to run a transition game all over their opponent. Either way, anyone who seeks solace from the rain to check out the matchup should find more than a warm gym.
In addition to possibly continuing the win streak, the game is a homecoming for UCI freshman guard Kelly Meggs. She starred at Bellevue, earning All-King County honors.
It’s getting loud in Connolly — not because of fans. The players are getting louder and seem to be competing in who can be the loudest with their encouragement during warmups.
Let’s get you ready with the starting lineups:

ANTEATERS

F Kiara Belen
F Mikah Maly-Karros
C Jacquelyn Marshall
G Jade Smith-Williams
G Jasmyne White
REDHAWKS
F Salena Dickerson
F Amani Butler
C Tatiana Heck
G Elle Kerfoot
G Daidra Brown
Tonight’s officials are Clarke Stevens, Michelle Russi, and Karen Lasuik.

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