Down at halftime and on a seven-game losing streak in its opening game of the Big West Conference Tournament, it was time for the UC Irvine women's basketball team to "Buckley" down Wednesday night.
UCI senior Camille Buckley, who missed eight of her final nine first-half field goal attempts, scored 14 straight of her team's points in a stretch of 5:09 early in the second half to propel the No. 4-seeded Anteaters to a 74-70 overtime victory over No. 5-seeded UC Davis at Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid.
Buckley, the Anteaters' first-team all-conference performer who had a double-double in her final seven regular-season games, made it eight straight and 18 for the season. She scored 34 points and hauled down 16 rebounds, but had 27 points and 10 rebounds after intermission.
UCI senior guard Jennifer Tsurumoto, who missed all four of her four first-half field-goal attempts, including all three from threedom, netted her first three three-pointers of the second half to also provide a spark for the winners, who advance to Friday's noon quarterfinal against conference regular-season champion and No. 1-seeded Cal State Northridge (16-14).
Buckley scored her team's first four points of overtime after regulation ended in a 68-68 deadlock.
Buckley's second free throw of overtime gave the winners a 72-70 lead with 2:28 left and both teams remained scoreless until UCI senior guard Kelly Meggs was fouled while collecting a rebound with eight seconds left.
Meggs drained both foul shots to finalize the scoring and give her 13 points.
Tsurumoto had 11 points and Methlyn Onomoguho chipped in nine points and 10 rebounds to help UCI advance in the tournament for the first time in nine years.
It was the third win over the Aggies (16-15), who were without their top rebounder and second-leading scorer, Alyson Doherty (injured late in the regular-season-ending loss to visiting UCI), this season for the Anteaters, two of which came in overtime.
Buckley scored twice inside to open the scoring, but the Aggies hit their first four three-pointers to help build leads of 12-4 and 14-9.
UCI made just six of its first 18 field-goal attempts, but stayed in the game due to offensive rebounding and forcing the game's only three turnovers.
Buckley, however, was denied her usual position on the block and could not connect on a handful of mid-range jumpers, finishing the first half three for nine from the field.
UCI was led in the first half by Meggs, who netted her first four field-goal tries, including three three-pointers, on her way to 11 points.
David junior Syndnee Fipps led the Aggies with 14 first-half points, including four three-pointers. She left the game briefly late in the half with a left knee injury, but returned with some tape on her knee and hit her first three after what first appeared to be a serious injury.
Fipps, however, returned and finished with 22 points to lead the Aggies.
Big West Conference Tournament quarterfinal
UC Irvine 74, UC Davis 70
UCD – Fipps 22, Marfone 14, Otyon 0, Harris 12, Greubel 6, Johnson 10, Beyer 6.
3-pt. goals – Fipps 6, Harris 4, Marfone 1.
Fouled out – Johnson, Marfone.
Technicals – None.
UCI – Buckley 34, Onogomuho 9, Tsurumoto 11, Meggs 13, Spinazze 3, Bernard 4.
3-pt. goals – Meggs 3, Tsurumoto 3.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
Halftime – UCD, 32-28.
Regulation – 68-68.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun