May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

UCI review, part 2

Forward Jonathan Galloway was named the Big West Defensive Player.

The UC Irvine’s men’s basketball team advanced to the Big West title game for the second straight year, while women’s basketball had one of the best seasons in program history advancing to the post-season for the first time since 1994-95. Men’s golf captured a Big West championship, women’s golf had two individual medalists and its best finish since 2013, plus women’s indoor track had several top performances in this installment of the Year in Review.

Here is part two of our year-end review:

The men’s basketball team recorded its sixth-straight winning season and reached the Big West Tournament final for the second straight season before falling to Cal State Fullerton, 71-55, in the title game.
 
Head coach Russell Turner’s squad finished the season second in the NCAA in rebounds (1,443), third in defensive rebounds per game (29.2), sixth in rebounds per game (41.2), 10th in rebounding margin (+7.5) and fourth in opponent shooting percentage (38.9).
 
Forward Jonathan Galloway was named the Big West Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight year, while Tommy Rutherford (first team), Evan Leonard (second team) and Eyassu Worku (honorable mention) were all-league honorees.

The Anteaters finished the season second in the NCAA in rebounds (1,443), third in defensive rebounds per game (29.2), sixth in rebounds per game (41.2), 10th in rebounding margin (+7.5) and 48th in rebounds per game (12.0).
 
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
 
UC Irvine concluded one of the best seasons in program history with an 18-14 overall record. The 18 wins rank fourth in school history and are the most by a UCI squad since 1994-95. It was also just the second time in 15 years the Anteaters had 10-plus victories and finished above .500.
 
UCI saw a 12.5 game improvement from last year, which tied for the second-best turnaround in all of NCAA Division I. The Anteaters’ efforts were recognized as they received a bid to play in the 2018 Women’s Basketball Invitational. It was the second postseason appearance in program history, and first since 1995.

UC Irvine had its best-ever Big West start at 9-2, and went on to place third in the conference, its best finish in seven years. Morgan Green earned first-team All-Big West honors, while Jordan Sanders was tabbed the Big West Freshman of the Year as well as garnering all-conference honorable mention recognition.

The Anteaters scored 100 points in a game for the first time since 1979, with a 100-81 victory at Long Beach State. They went on to post their highest scoring total in the NCAA Division I Championship era, and tied an overall school record, with 107 points vs. Cal Poly.

MEN’S GOLF

UC Irvine won its eighth Big West title in program history, and second in the last four years.
 
The Anteaters came into the Big West Tournament as the No. 7 seed but recorded their three lowest rounds of the season to finish first at 12-under par 852 (284-285-283). They edged out top-seeded UC Davis by one stroke.
 
Senior David Kim carded back-to-back rounds of 3-under 69 to climb 16 spots in the standings over the last two days of the conference championship. He ended up tying for third with a 54-hole score of 211 (-5). Sophomore Jonathan Kang also placed fifth overall with a season-low 212 (69-71-72). The two were recognized for their efforts as Kim, who led the squad with a 72.12 scoring average, earned first-team All-Big West honors and Kang received an honorable mention nod.
 
The Anteaters went on to make their 14th NCAA Regional appearance and finished 11th at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.
 
WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD

The Anteaters had 16 performances that landed among the indoor program’s all-time top-10 in 2018.
 
Senior Persis William-Mensah led the charge with a pair of school records. She bettered her own 60m standard, and earned an individual victory, with a lifetime-best 7.38 at the season-opening Lumberjack Team Challenge. She was also the 60m runner-up, and came in third out of 103 entrants in the 200m at the UW Invitational.

William-Mensah went on to establish a new 200m record at the Don Kirby Invitational where she finished 13th in an elite field of over 100 runners with an altitude-adjusted 24.26.
 
Junior Hope Bushnell also ran UCI’s second-fastest 60m (7.57) and 200m (24.50) times at the Don Kirby Invitational.
 
WOMEN’S GOLF

UCI finished third at the Big West Championships, the highest finish since 2013. The Anteaters finished the tournament with a three-round total of 897 (300-299-298) with junior Janet Yeo coming in second (216) and senior Avery French right behind in third (220).
 
French was named to the Big West first team, while Yeo was a second team selection.
 
UCI claimed two individual titles with French winning the Fresno State Classic and Yeo taking the Chip-N-Club Invitational in October. It is the first time since 2008 that the Anteaters have had two individual winners in the same year.

French, who started the final day with three consecutive bogeys, shot a tournament-low 69 on the final round and posted a score of 211 (70-72-69) to earn co-medalist honors at the Fresno State Classic at the Copper River Country Club.
 
Yeo was co-medalist at the Chip-N Club Invitational at the Wildnerness Ridge Golf Club, her first collegiate title and the first win for an Anteater women’s player since 2009. The junior carded a three-round total of 218 (73-71-74) to match Nebraska’s Audrey Judd for co-medalist honors.