The UC Irvine women's basketball team played Cal State Long Beach Thursday for the first time since former Long Beach assistant Colleen Matsuhara took over the Irvine program.
The Anteaters, in the early stages of a rebuilding effort, surprisingly trailed by only two points at halftime, but 25th-ranked Long Beach stepped up its defense in the second half and took a 72-53 Big West Conference victory in front of 162 at the Bren Center.
Trise Jackson, a 5-foot-6 guard, had 20 points, 11 rebounds and four steals for Long Beach (7-2, 1-0) and center Kari Parriott had 16 points and 16 rebounds.
Long Beach Coach Glenn McDonald, who was an assistant with Matsuhara last season before becoming the 49ers' head coach, praised Irvine's first-half play.
Irvine (4-6, 0-1) had a one-point lead three minutes into the second half, but a six-minute scoreless stretch later in the half led to the Anteaters' demise. Long Beach, using a full-court press, rattled Irvine into 28 turnovers and the 49ers scored 11 consecutive points to turn a one-point lead into a 12-point advantage with 8:13 left.
Irvine, playing without starting point guard Chrissy Chang, had difficulty running its half-court offense, and scored only four points in the final 12:19.
Chang missed her second game in a row with a sprained ankle.
Karie Yoshioka led Irvine with 17 points. Kathy Lizarraga added 13 and Geanine Hobbs had 10.
In another Big West game:
The Titans (5-5) trailed, 30-24, at halftime but started strong in the second half and took a 40-38 lead on Heidi James' jumper with 13:32 remaining. But the Gauchos (8-2) dominated the next six minutes behind guard Lisa Crosskey, who made two three-pointers and scored 10 of Santa Barbara's next 20 points.
The Gauchos built a 58-47 lead, and the Titans didn't get closer than six points the rest of the way. Crosskey finished with a game-high 20 points for Santa Barbara, Erika Kienast added 15 points and 13 rebounds, Christa Gannon had 12 points and Becky Brown and Cori Close each added 10 points.
Claudette Jackson led Fullerton with 19 points before fouling out with 3:33 remaining, Cheryl Hightower added 13 points and five assists, and Joey Ray had 11 points, including her record-setting 87th career three-pointer in the second half. Jill Matyuch, who played from 1987-90, held the previous record of 86.
Actually, Ray had an off night, making only three of 15 shots, including one of eight three-pointers. Fullerton shot 37.7% (23 of 61) from the field and was outrebounded, 45-38.