IRVINE — Tuesday marked the unofficial UC Irvine head-coaching debut of Doug Oliver, but it was the newcomers on the floor that provided the most uplifting evidence of what the Anteaters' future may hold.
Sophomore Loyola Marymount transfer Camille Buckley, as well as community college transfers Vanessa Aguilar and Jennifer Tsurumoto, stood out in UCI's 66-32 exhibition women's basketball victory over Cal State San Marcos at the Bren Events Center.
Buckley, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules and was limited to minimal practices due to a foot injury, scored 10 of her 12 points after halftime to share high-point honors for the winners. Buckley, a 6-foot-1 post, made six of nine field-goal attempts, five of six in the second half, and added seven rebounds and one steal without a turnover in 21 minutes.
Aguilar, out of Los Angeles Valley College, made all four of her field-goal tries, including three three-pointers, to post 11 points in 14 minutes.
Tsurumoto, a point guard out of Santa Rosa College, had nine points, including a pair of three-pointers, to go with a team-high three assists. She had two rebounds, a steal and only one turnover in 22 minutes off the bench.
Adding to the impressive newcomers was freshman Mokun Fajemisin, who had five blocked shots to go with two points and four rebounds in 18 reserve minutes.
The Anteaters, picked by the media to finish ninth in the 10-team Big West Conference after a 13-17 season in 2011-12, were also paced by junior returner Jasmine Bernard. Bernard, who averaged 6.3 points and 3.5 rebounds as a sophomore, collected 12 points and 10 rebounds. She did not commit a turnover in 21 minutes, helping the hosts post a 27-13 advantage in that department.
"We did a lot of good things, " said Oliver, a former men's head coach at Idaho State who was an assistant for former UCI women's coach Molly Goodenbour last season after a stint as a UCI men's assistant. "I think that we established that we can play hard and stay aggressive. And, in the second half, we did a really good job of controlling the tempo of the offense. We wanted to establish a low-post game the second half and I thought the girls, for the most part, did that."
UCI used five three-pointers to fuel a 21-2 run in the first half that turned an 8-6 deficit into a commanding lead against the NAIA school from San Diego County. The 'Eaters, who were seven for 21 from three-point range, used two more three balls during a 15-0 run in the latter part of the second half to build their biggest lead at 62-27.
Sophomore returner Methlyn Onogomuho had six points and four rebounds as 11 of the 12 Anteaters who played scored. UCI's starting five combined for only five turnovers.
The Cougars, 18-15 a year ago, shot 28.9% from the field and missed their only three-point attempt. They were led by junior Danielle Cooper, a 6-0 transfer from Mt. San Jacinto Community College, who had 13 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.
UCI plays host to nearby Concordia in another exhibition game on Tuesday, before opening its regular season at Santa Clara on Nov. 9.
UC Irvine 66, CS San Marcos 32
CSSM – Miller 5, Harnett 2, Cooper 13, Alvarado 6, Jackson 0, Thomspon 4, Nguyen 2.
3-pt. goals – None.
UCI – Bernard 12, Onogomuho 6, Buckley 12, Hanson 5, Meggs 3, Aguilar 11, Tsurumoto 9, Cheung-Sutton 3, Cathey 2, Fajemisin 2, Klintsone 1,
3-pt. goals – Aguilar 3, Tsurumoto 2, Hanson 1, Meggs 1.
Fouled out – None.
Halftime – UCI, 32-14.