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Women's Basketball

Buckley Carries The Load For Anteaters


Abbey Mastracco for Page 2 from the 2014 Big West Tournament
Page 2 From The Tournament
Abbey Mastracco is a writer for FoxSportsWest.com

Previous columns:
Wynn's 49ers Write a Different Headline in Tournament Opener

(4) UC Irvine def. (5) UC Davis, 74-70 in OT

LONG BEACH – Camille Buckley is a presence on the court, and Wednesday night in the quarterfinal round of the Big West Women’s Championship Tournament she was too much of a presence for UC Davis to contain.

The first-team All-Big West forward powered No. 4-seed UC Irvine to its first postseason win since 2005 with a 74-70 overtime win, Wednesday night at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach with a scorching hot stat line of 34 points and 17 rebounds on 12-of-24 shooting from the field.

It was only another characteristic performance from one of the conference’s most dominant players.

UC Irvine's Camille Buckley (photo by Jordan Murph)“From my viewpoint, it’s almost expected,” said UC Irvine head coach Doug Oliver. “That’s almost not fair to her but she’s been carrying us. We rely on her, she gets tired out there and we can’t give her too much rest and she has to play through that. I think she’s bared a lot of responsibility this entire season and continues to put up these numbers.”

With Davis’ top post player Alyson Doherty out with a knee injury and forward Celia Marfone in foul trouble for most of the game and fouled out by overtime, the Aggies (15-16) threw nearly everyone else on the bench at Buckley, much to no avail.

“Camille is one of the best players in the conference,” said UC Davis head coach Jennifer Gross. “We came at her with everything we had in the first half and we did a good job of keeping the ball out of her hands. It’s hard to guard her because she’s so physical. We tried mixing up our defense but she still came strong.”

Davis’ Sydnee Fipps finished with 22 points despite going down with a knee injury in the first half and and despite the foul trouble, Marfone scored 14 points with eight rebounds.

But Buckley felt as though she was playing for her life in such a tight game and wasn’t about to let it slip through her fingers.

“It’s the tournament, this is serious,” Buckley said. “I was playing like this would be possibly the last game of my career. So that was what was going through my head, I didn’t want my career to end yet. And we have seven seniors on our team so I’m not just playing for myself, I’m playing for them.”

While the Aggies bow out a little earlier than planned, the good news is that they only lose one player, senior Idit Oryon, and gain a highly-touted freshman class.

UC Irvine (17-14) advances to face No 1. Cal State Northridge, Friday at the Honda Center.

“It was just a really good basketball game, trading baskets for a while,” Oliver said. “But a lot of the credit goes to Camille to carry the load of the basketball team.”

(3) Hawai‘i def. (6) Long Beach State, 52-49

LONG BEACH – Long Beach State head coach Jody Wynn is arguably one of the more emotional and passionate coaches in the Big West. Wynn’s timeout speeches can often be heard over the band in the last three minutes of Wednesday night’s Big West Tournament quarterfinal game at the Walter Pyramid, she was probably heard all the way down in Belmont Shores.

Wynn’s players fought just as hard as she did right to the end against third-seeded Hawaii on their home court but three-point shooting had plagued the sixth-seeded 49ers all game and Hallie Meneses couldn’t hit a final three at the buzzer, and Long Beach was eliminated in a 52-49 loss.

“Tonight, the ball didn’t go in the basket,” Wynn said. “Naturally this hurts. It hurts for all 12 of our kids and all nine that suited up and played. I think we fought. I think our achilles heel all year was rebounding and we came out and we rebounded today. Yesterday we had more turnovers than the local bakery today we did a fair job holding their pressure.

“Very good defensive team, Hawaii is.”

The Rainbow Wahine (17-12) held The Beach (17-15) to just 28.3 percent shooting from the field and a staunch perimeter defense allowed only three-point shot from behind the arc in the first half. Long Beach went 1-for-17 from three in the first and 3-for-7 in the second as they took most of their offensive game inside, staying persistent on the offensive glass and scoring eight second-half second-chance points.

“Oo one played a good offensive game for us tonight but we were in it until the end because of our fight,” Wynn said. “Give credit to Hawaii’s defense but also give credit to our heart to get those offensive boards and get ourselves second and third opportunities.”

Ella Clark grabbed 14 of Long Beach’s 42 rebounds for a new career-high and The Beach out-worked Hawaii on the glass 42-36 after being told all week that they wouldn’t out-rebound the ‘Bows.

“All week, everyone that comes up to us said, “How are you going to battle Hawaii’? It starts to resonate with you,” Clark said. “There was a lot of talk that never get rebounds so no one was expecting it which meant no one is going to box us out so we’ll take advantage of it.”

But Hawaii stayed patient, recovering from a 12-0 Long Beach run in the second half.

“We knew they were going to come back punching and we anticipated their momentum,” said head coach Laura Beeman. “We had to withstand it, which is what we did.”

Just like last year when Wynn cut out headlines and taped them on her office walls after the Big West Tournament loss to Cal State Fullerton, isn’t likely to get over this one any easier.

“I’m already starting to beat myself up over that last full possession,” Wynn said. “For me, I’m just as competitive as my kids and you see that sometimes, it gets the best of me.”