By Barry Faulkner
10:33 PM PST, November 21, 2012
IRVINE — The UC Irvine women's basketball team failed on Wednesday to gain inspiration from Jack Taylor's prolific performance the night before.
Taylor, a sophomore guard for the Grinnell College men's team, made national news by scoring an NCAA-record 138 points on Tuesday. He made 52 of 108 field-goal attempts, including 27 of 71 three-point tries.
The Anteaters, who dropped a 62-52 nonconference home game to Denver on Wednesday at the Bren Events Center, might be hard-pressed to post those kinds of numbers in a week.
UCI (0-4) shot 34% from the field (18 for 53) to lift its season shooting proficiency to 29.6%. The Anteaters matched their season scoring average and junior point guard Jennifer Tsurumoto scored 10 points to mark only the fourth time this season that a UCI player has reached double figures.
"We got more going offensively tonight than we have the previous three games," said first-year coach Doug Oliver, whose UCI team seized leads of 6-0 and 12-7, only to succumb to a Pioneer outfit that posted its first victory in four contests this season. "For the most part, we are taking good shots, but we just can't get them to go in."
UCI found enough flow to finish the first half on a 7-0 run and Tsurumoto hit a three-pointer to open the second half to pull the hosts within 34-30.
A layup by freshman Mokun Fajemisin capped an 8-0 run that pulled UCI within 43-42 with 10:48 left. But Denver scored the next six points and was never challenged again.
"It's another learning experience," Oliver said. "But learning and losing is not a good combination."
UCI senior Kelly Meggs hit two early three-pointers, but then went cold until connecting again from threedom with 1:17 left. She finished with nine points, five rebounds and five assists, but was three of 10 from the field to typify her team's shooting struggles.
The 5-foot-6 Tsurumoto missed 10 of her 14 field-goal tries, but some of those came when a dwindling shot clock left her little recourse but to attack taller defenders. She also had a team-high seven turnovers.
UCI had more points from beyond the arc (18) than in the paint (16) and Denver managed a 38-36 rebounding advantage.
Both teams came in with 52 turnovers and both committed 16, at times casting a sloppy tone to a contest attended by 208.
Juniors Camille Buckley and Lauren Spinazze, as well as Fejemisin, had eight points apiece for UCI, which also began last season 0-4. Spinazze, who had a pair of three-pointers, was the only UCI player to make more field-goal attempts than she missed (three for five).
Denver sophomore Morgan Van Riper-Rose had a game-high 21 points, including five three-pointers. The Pioneers netted nine of 26 from threedom, while UCI was six for 23 from beyond the arc.
UCI senior Jazmyne White, who had season-ending knee surgery last year after only 15 games, made her debut this season and was in the starting lineup. But, according to plan, Oliver said, White played just seven minutes, collecting two points and two rebounds.
"She'll play a couple minutes in both of our games this weekend [Drake on Friday and George Mason on Saturday at the New Mexico State tournament]," Oliver said of White, a former Big West Conference Freshman of the Year.
UCI, which has gone nearly two years without a nonconference road win, returns home Dec. 5 against Idaho.
Denver 62, UC Irvine 52
Den – Wirth 4, Michel 3, Van Piper-Rose 21, Smith 12, Johnston 7, Neuhaus 5, Janecek 4, Edwards 2, Hunter 2, Bradley 2.
3-pt. goals – Van Riper-Rose 5, Smith 2, Johnston 1, Neuhaus 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
UCI – Buckley 8, White 2, Onogomuho 1, Tsurumoto 10, Meggs 9, Spinazze 8, Fajemisin 8, Bernard 4, Hanson 2.
3-pt. goals – Meggs 3, Spinazze 2, Tsurumoto 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
Halftime – Denver, 34-27.