Irvine, Calif. – The San Jose State women’s basketball team enjoyed its best shooting game of the season, hitting 42 percent for the game and cruised to a 91-65 win over the UC Irvine Anteaters on Saturday afternoon in the Bren Event Center.
“We took better shots and we didn’t rush tonight,” said head coach Jamie Craighead. “Playing fast doesn’t mean you rush or force shots. When a team (UC Irvine) is in a zone you have to move the ball more and get them to shift. I thought we did a better job of that tonight and we also had people taking shots, which they are capable of making and playing within themselves. When we do that we get great balance and good looks at the basket for everyone.”
Each of the 11 Spartans contributed in the scoring column led by Ta’Rea Cunnigan’s 20 points. She also grabbed a team-best six rebounds. Emily Vann and Paris Baird scored a career-high 10 points. Myzhanique Ladd pitched in 13 and Jasmine Smith added 10 points.
“Getting contribution from everyone on the score sheet is important,” said Craighead. “When everyone is contributing it takes pressure off Ta’Rea and Rebecca (Woodberry) who we have leaned in the early going. If we are going to be able to compete at a high level in the Mountain West, it is going to be because we are a balanced team and everyone is getting touches and everyone is scoring.”
The team forces 36 turnovers while committing 18 of their own, but had a 47-13 advantage in points off those turnovers.
“We shot a higher percentage, which helps and we still got them to turn the ball over 36 times,” added Craighead. “The pace was ours and that really won the game for us.”
The Spartans (2-2), who are averaging 94.3 points per game, were in control from the outset and built a 16-6 lead by the first media time out. Their largest advantage of the first 20 minutes 17 points, 25-8 with just inside 11 minutes to play before the half. But UC Irvine battled back and after a jumper with one second to go trimmed the Spartans advantage to five 43-38 as the teams went to the locker rooms.
“In the first half we took a lead,” said Craighead. “When we get a team that probably shouldn’t run with us, to run, that’s what we want. Even though it allowed them to kind of get back into the game. I always felt that we would wear them out in the second half.”
Mokun Fajemisin who led the Anteaters (1-3) with 17 points and 12 rebounds, hit a jumper on UC Irvine’s first possession of the second half to get her team to within three points, but they would get no closer.
The Spartans, over the next five minutes, outscored UCI 17-6, getting seven points from Cunnigan and six from Smith to increase its advantage to 14 points, 60-46. The Anteaters got it down 12 inside 10 minutes to play, but San José State went on a 14-2 run, led 83-61 inside three minutes to play and went on to the 26-point victory.
In addition to everyone scoring at least one basket, all 11 players were on the floor for double-digit minutes. No one played more than 26 minutes or less than 13.
“We platoon subbed a lot in the first half because I felt that we could wear them down and it would give me an opportunity to see if everyone was ready to play,” said Craighead. “I thought they all were ready. In the second half, I tighten the rotation up a little bit. I don’t sub as liberally. It worked and I think the players are starting buy into it and realizing that being fresh is better.”
The Spartans will enjoy Thanksgiving and then return to action on November 28 in the opening game of the Cal Classic. San José State plays host California with tip off scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
San Jose State vs UC Irvine
11/22/14 2:00 PM at Irvine, Calif./Bren Events Center
At Irvine, Calif./Bren Events Center
SAN JOSE STATE 91, UC IRVINE 65
SAN JOSE STATE (2-2)
32-76 17-27 91.
UC IRVINE (1-3)
Fajemisin, Mokun 5-9 7-11 17; Onogomuho, Methlyn 4-6 1-2 9; Glassow,
Brittany 3-9 2-2 8; Merrill, Ashley 3-5 2-2 8; Dee, Jenny 2-8 2-2 8;
Sutherland, Shereen 0-6 6-8 6; Hicks, Tierra 1-2 0-0 3; McKenney, Madison
1-6 0-0 2; Chavez, Irene 1-5 0-0 2; Kellum, Chloe 0-2 2-2 2;
Cheung-Sutton,Raelyn 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-59 22-29 65.
San Jose State................ 43 48 - 91
UC Irvine..................... 38 27 - 65
2-7; Hicks, Tierra 1-1; Glassow, Brittany 0-1; Merrill, Ashley 0-1;
McKenney, Madison 0-3; Chavez, Irene 0-1; Kellum, Chloe 0-1). Fouled
out--San Jose State-SMITH, Jasmine, UC Irvine-None. Rebounds--San Jose State
12). Assists--San Jose State 22 (Baker, Aniya 8), UC Irvine 11 (Merrill,
Ashley 3). Total fouls--San Jose State 23, UC Irvine 24. Technical
fouls--San Jose State-None, UC Irvine-None. A-316