The Aggies shot 36.7 percent and turned the ball over 18 times to the Anteaters 13 turnovers. Offensive rebounds proved to be the nemesis for NM State with 19 on the game for UCI. Irvine had 49 total rebounds with the Aggies taking 28, just four on offense.
“We did not compete the second half. It’s not acceptable the way we let Camille Buckley get those five offensive rebounds,” head coach Mark Trakh said. “Now, granted we are playing 17 and we are playing seven freshmen, we did some good things for being this young. For the future, we have to remain really positive, but we have to just compete more.”
NM State allowed UCI to shoot 41.5 percent as a team with Buckley being the leading scorer for UCI with 24 points. She was one of just two Anteaters to score in double figures on the night.
Weber hit the first shot of the game – a three from the right corner, however, the lead was short-lived as UC Irvine took control of the ball for the next several minutes until Williamson hit her first layup of the season from the right corner of the glass. The basket by the junior broke up a 13 point run by UCI that held the Aggies scoreless for nearly four minutes of the opening half.
The Aggies scored six in a row to crack into the 11-point lead and get within seven of the Anteaters and another deep three by Weber chopped that lead to just four points with 9:41 on the clock.
The teams traded a couple of baskets with Irvine scoring eight for a 12-point lead. NM State picked up slight momentum and cut the lead to five with a pair of free throws and a three from Williamson and two free throws from Weber.
NM State stayed in the game for the rest of the half and pulled within one possession of UCI after Weber hit her third shot from beyond the arc. Garner hit one of her free throws in the final minute, but Irvine ran out the clock with a 7-point lead (35-28) at the half.
At the intermission, the Aggies had a 38.1 team shooting percentage and UCI was shooting 42.4 percent. Weber led the team and was tied with all scorers with nine points. She also had four rebounds in the half. Freshman Tyler Ellis led the Aggies with five rebounds, two on the offensive side of the ball, and the team combined for 16.
The second half opened with Williamson sinking a three from the left corner of the floor but the Anteaters outscored NM State 14-3. NM State went close to five minutes without a basket after Weber hit a three just after Williamson’s early in the half.
Both teams were scoreless for just under two minutes until freshman Moriah Mack hit a three from the corner to break up Irvine’s 16-point lead, which was the largest of the game at that point. UCI answered with a bucket of its own and the teams traded points with Mack hitting a layup from the right side.
UCI hit three of its next free throws and continues with the next eight points for a 63-43 lead before the Aggies answered with nine of their own.
Irvine broke up the Aggies’ run after a foul brought Buckley to the line. She hit both of her shots for UCI for a 20 point advantage over NM State and the teams traded baskets with Brianna Freeman sinking the last bucket of the game as the Aggies fell 75-52 to the Anteaters.
The Aggies now look to face Cal State Fullerton on Monday, Dec. 23 at 8 p.m. (MT) in Fullerton, Calif.