Lifestyle

UCSD Elected to Host West Regionals

The UCSD women’s basketball players have already had a stellar season this year: They are the university’s first-ever California Collegiate Athletic Association champions in women’s basketball, they have a perfect road record, their head coach Janell Jones was recently named CCAA Coach of the Year and they have the two-time CCAA Most Valuable Player in 5 foot, 10 inch star senior guard Leora Juster. Will Parson/Guardian Sophomore forward Michelle Osier earned CCAA First Team honors, along with two other teammates, for her second straight year with an average of 11.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Now, the Tritons are looking to continue their assault on the UCSD athletic record books by traveling deeper into the postseason, which will begin when No. 1 seed UCSD hosts No. 8 seed Western Washington University on March 9 at 8 p.m. in RIMAC Arena at the Division II West Regional Tournament. The two teams have not met since earlier this season. In that game on Dec. 20, the Tritons took advantage of a 34-point night from Juster to beat Western Washington University 83-64. “”It does help that we’ve seen them already this season because not only can we watch tape of them playing other teams, we can point out our weaknesses and strengths in our game against them,”” sophomore forward Michelle Osier said. Jones also believes that the Tritons have an advantage in this game, although for different reasons. “”The biggest advantage for us is that we will hopefully be playing in front of a big home crowd,”” she said. UCSD will host the regional tournament after going 23-4 in the regular season and winning the CCAA championship with the best record in the division. Considering their perfect 12-0 away record, playing at home is more of an honor than a necessity for the Tritons. “”Honestly, it doesn’t matter where we play because we can win wherever we go,”” Osier said. “”But it is an honor since [UCSD] has never won CCAA and has never been ranked first in the region.”” Western Washington University currently holds an 18-9 record but has only won four out of its 10 away games. Leading the Vikings in points and assists per game is senior guard Mollie Shelmack, with 15.9 points and 3.4 assists. The Tritons are less concerned about what the Vikings are going to bring to the game and more concerned with their own play. “”This is the time of the year that you go to your strengths,”” Jones said. This UCSD team has a lot of strengths and contributions from a variety of players. Although MVP Juster and First Team selections Osier and senior forward Hillary Hansen provide most of the points for the Tritons, other players have been key to the success of the team so far. Junior center Jillian Ricks leads the Tritons with 20 blocks and junior forward Meaghan Noud has been an invaluable sixth-woman, averaging 9.2 points per game off the bench. It also can’t hurt that the Tritons have this year’s CCAA coach of the year in Jones. “”She runs very intensive practices and that really prepares us for games,”” Osier said. “”At important points in the game, she knows what to do. She really knows how to coach.”” With a lot of the players from last year’s squad still on the team, experience will undoubtedly be useful this year as last year’s team was the No. 4 seed and suffered a first-round loss to Seattle Pacific University in the postseason. “”It makes a big difference that we are older this year,”” Osier said. “”The experience from last year’s playoffs will definitely help. Last year, we were scared and we were drained from the anticipation of playing a playoff game. Now, we know what to expect, and we can prepare.”” ...

Recordings: Air – Pocket Symphony

Ever wish somebody would have slipped Mozart some acid? With their fourth official project, French duo Air attempt to reconcile modern electronica with symphony-hall sheet music, achieving a delicately novel antiquity by looping their already sparse, arpeggioed beats into an acoustic guitar-and-piano orchestra. Pocket Symphony is a departure from 2004’s acclaimed Talkie Walkie, spotlighting nude instrumentals over poppy synthesizer and sound-board pump. The album’s milder aesthetics are still classic Air – a melodic dream-trip with a computer-generated soundtrack – but at a slower, more methodical pace. The pair further simplify their lives by skimping on the vocals (a third of the songs are purely instrumental), a haunting godsend to tracks like “”Mayfair Song”” but an elevator-music ultimatum for others – “”Space Maker”” requires an attentively active listen to avoid completely fading into the background. The most engaging moments occur during the voice-sprinkled “”Mur du Japon”” and “”Napalm Love,”” jolting the listener awake after the meandering tinker of the majority of the album. But the overall sleep-inducing ambience is not necessarily a drawback – because sometimes a pleasant musical haze is the only answer to a rainy day. ...

Tennis Outshines 'Nova Squad

The No. 16 UCSD women’s tennis team earned a huge win against Villanova University, a nonconference Division I school, by a score of 5-4, improving its overall season record to 5-3. Will Parson/Guardian Sophomore Ina Dan won her doubles match alongside senior captain Marsha Malinow, and in the No. 2 singles spot, Dan picked up an easy 6-1, 6-3 victory to lead UCSD to their 5-4 win over Villanova. The team managed to take a 2-1 lead after some determined play in the doubles matches. No. 3 doubles senior Allison Legakis and sophomore Yekaterina Milvidskaia managed to win their match with a close score of 9-7. However, No. 2 doubles junior Justine Ang Fonte and senior Christy Knudsen fell 4-8. With the match tied at one-all, No. 1 doubles seniors Marsha Malinow, the senior captain, and Ina Dan were able to put the Tritons on top as they eked out a 9-8 victory following a tiebreaker. The singles matches were equally tough and exciting. No. 2 Dan and No. 3 Fonte both had very easy matches, with Dan winning 6-1, 6-3, and Fonte completely dominating her opponent, 6-0, 6-0. Fonte was thrilled with her individual victory, as well as the team’s performance. “”I had a cream cheese,”” she said, referring to the win she had without giving up a set. “”We expected them to not be very strong and sort of paid for it in doubles. But the girls stepped it up a lot and pulled through and Tessa [Tran] closed it out for us.”” No. 5 singles sophomore Tran clinched the victory for the team, winning 6-4, 6-3. While the team did win, there were still disappointments, as the other singles players fell in straight sets. On the opposite side of the spectrum from Fonte was Malinow, who has been plagued by an abdominal strain and lost in the No. 1 spot, 3-6, 1-6. Malinow’s match disappointed her, but she was still excited about the team’s victory. “”My performance was less than what I expected, just because I could not serve at all,”” Malinow said. “”I was serving underhanded and the girl was ripping them. I was really impressed by everyone’s performance and I thought Ina and Justine were working their matches very well.”” The remaining singles losses were from No. 6 singles Legakis, who fell 5-7, 0-6, and No. 4 singles freshman Pooja Desai lost 1-6, 6-7. Head coach Liz LaPlante was very satisfied with the result. “”We had some tough doubles matches,”” she said. “”We played them two years ago, but they were much weaker. The girls they had this time were deep. It was a good match to get ready for the Sonoma State-UC Davis trip.”” The Tritons will be going up north to face conference foe Sonoma State, an opponent they already defeated 7-2 previously this season and a strong Division I team in UC Davis. For Fonte, the match against UC Davis is personal. “”I was actually offered a full ride by the coach at UC Davis but I decided to come to SD,”” she said. “”For me, it’s a test to prove that I am as good as the girls they have up there.”” Malinow seemed both anxious and excited for the trip. “”We have a deep team so there isn’t too much pressure on me,”” she said. “”It mostly comes from my mental weakness and I know that if it wasn’t for [the injury], I would be a lot more consistent right now. I’ve never played against UC Davis’ No. 1 so I really don’t know what to expect.”” ...

Recordings: Wisemen – Wisemen Approaching

As “”dead”” as the Wu-Tang legacy is declared to be, the hip-hop collective’s growing swarms of underground worker-bee offspring don’t seem to be getting the message. Latest case in point: RZA’s prodigious new “”Wu-Element”” (producer) Bronze Nazareth, who – as if the family tree hasn’t sprouted enough branches – has picked up three hitchhiking twigs off the streets of Detroit to form a fresh-faced mini-clan of his own, self-assuredly titled the Wisemen. Their mission is an admirable one, if overambitious: revive the raw, beats-rhymes-life purity of hip-hop’s golden era at the dawn of the ’90s. Yeah, right. But Nazareth is one of the most promising hands behind the new age of always-stellar Wu beats, and his most recent – in a royal march of sawing strings, chirp-cut soul samples and jumping heartbeats – are no exception. However, if these wide-eyed hopefuls want to come anywhere near the minimalist genius of the golden-age greats they so admire, they’re going to need a far better tutor – Nazareth, for all his musical prowess, goes bland and sloppy behind the mic, clumsily recycling the spiritual/militant flow and lyrical fodder of his forefathers. A student can’t surpass his master; likewise, Nazareth – whose 2006 solo debut The Great Migration showed some promise – is dragged down by amateurs, a second-grader in a first-grade classroom. Even top-notch guest listers Killah Priest, Vast Aire and GZA (crammed into the beginning of “”Associated,”” tripping over a messenger-trumpeting sonic gallop) offer no more than sloppy seconds. In this noble fight, the Wisemen may actually be digging the Wu grave that much deeper. 2 1/2 Stars ...