No. 17 UCSD women’s basketball started the season with a bang and produced an upset in just its second game of the early season. The Tritons buried Montana State University Billings with a 28-point victory in their first game at the San Marcos Classic before taking down No. 2 California Baptist 82–74 on day two of the tournament. UCSD, coming back without star players Jamie Katuna and Farrah Shokoor who both graduated, proved it is a force to be reckoned with coming into the new season.
The Tritons rode a balanced offense into game one on Friday, with five players scoring in double figures in the 88–60 thrashing of MSU Billings.
In the first quarter, UCSD took an early lead with a hot start 15–5, but allowed the Yellowjackets to get back into it by the end of the quarter. Going into the second quarter with a narrow three-point lead, Big Blue started building a bigger lead while stifling MSU Billings with its defense. MSU Billings only shot 2 for 14 in the period and, with a 5–0 run to close out the quarter, UCSD outscored its opponents 25–8 in the quarter and went into halftime with a 20-point lead.
The Tritons’ lead soared to 25 points with six minutes remaining in the third quarter. Once again, MSU Billings cut into UCSD’s lead with a 17–5 burst, and the lead was only 13 going into the final period.
The Tritons caught fire from three in the last period of the game, putting up six threes and putting the game away with 31 points in the quarter. The final score was 88–60 in favor of the Tritons
“We’re very excited about our win,” UCSD head coach Heidi VanDerveer told UCSD Athletics. “It was a tremendous team effort.”
The top performer for the Tritons was a transfer student, junior forward Dalayna Sampton, who put up 18 points and seven rebounds with a clean 8–11 shooting from the floor. Four other Tritons had double-digit points: sophomore guard Joleen Yang with 11 and senior forward Cassie MacLeod, redshirt freshman forward Mikayla Williams and senior guard Beth Mounier, who all contributed with 10. Mounier filled the stats sheet, going for seven rebounds and seven assists to go along with her 10 points. Junior guard Taylor Tanita directed the offense with efficiency and finished with eight points and eight assists.
UCSD also shot over 50 percent from the field and limited the Yellowjackets to only 33.9 percent. The Tritons also dominated the paint, leading 32–14 in points and outrebounded their opponents 32–27.
“Both [Mounier] and [Tanita] did an excellent job for setting the tone for our team. Sampton established herself inside and Williams gave us a lot of energy off the bench. I think the depth of our team will set us apart from others,” VanDerveer said.
After Saturday night’s win over California Baptist, their highest-ranked victory since UCSD took down No. 1 Glenville State in the 2006–2007 season, UCSD now stands at 2–0 in the young season.
“I’m very excited about our win tonight and being able to put two back-to-back games together where we figure out ways to win,” VanDerveer said. “Every game is a puzzle and the team that figures out the puzzle typically wins.”
UCSD produced a dominant showing, leading the game from beginning to end. After a 9–0 run to open up the game, the Tritons continued to attack the Lancers. With a perfect 5–5 from the three-point line, the lead went all the way up to 28–13 in the Tritons’ favor at the end of the quarter.
“We came out with a tremendous amount of energy and had people really focused on what we needed to do. Our defensive stops translated into our offensive tempo,” VanDerveer said.
In the second quarter, after Yang scored yet another three, UCSD’s lead was at 16. CBU started to mount a comeback however, cutting the lead to 12 at halftime, 44–32.
The Lancers opened up the third quarter with a 10–4 run, bringing the lead down to six. UCSD countered with back-to-back shots from downtown by Tanita and junior guard Paige Song. CBU answered and closed the third period with another run, bringing the score to 58–50 in favor of the Tritons.
UCSD kept the lead above six points throughout the last quarter and held CBU in check, sealing its 80–74 win at the free-throw line.
Tanita was UCSD’s best player on the night, where she went off for 21 points on 8–11 shooting, a game-high nine assists and three steals. Three other Tritons scored 10 points or more: Yang had 17, MacLeod scored 11 and Mounier contributed with 10. Sampton led all players in the game with 10 rebounds.
Once again, the Tritons shot better than 50 percent from the floor and, this time, also shot better than 50 percent from three, while CBU only shot 45.5 percent. For the second night in a row, UCSD dominated its opponents on the boards 37–28 and also got a good contribution from the bench, who outscored the Lancers’ bench 23–7.
UCSD heads to the Crossover Classic at Western Washington University in the coming week. The Tritons will face off against Seattle Pacific on Friday, Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. and Western Washington on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.