Women's basketball gives Broncos a scare

    The UCSD women’s basketball team continued its quest for respect, taking National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II defending national champion Cal Poly Pomona to the buzzer Friday night and knocking off Cal State San Bernardino on Saturday night.

    Colin Young-Wolff
    Guardian

    The Tritons entered Friday’s match with the Broncos 10-2 this season and 6-1 California Collegiate Athletic Association. They were in the midst of a three-game losing skid and looking to regain the form that earned them the No. 9 ranking in the Far West Region just two weeks ago.

    UCSD jumped out to a 6-0 lead. The teams battled to a 16-16 tie with nine minutes to go in the first half before the Tritons ended the half on a 23-9 run, making 10 of 13 field goal attempts. Going into the half ahead by 14 against the defending national champions, UCSD knew it could pull off an upset.

    “”We went into halftime confident; maybe a little too confident,”” said senior point guard Maya Fok.

    Colin Young-Wolff
    Guardian

    UCSD’s overconfidence was apparent when the Tritons came out slow in the second half and Pomona went on a run of its own, outscoring UCSD 18-4 in the first six minutes of the second half, leveling the score at 45.

    Relying on the inside duo of Aprile Powell and Salma Rasheed to score 28 points, the Broncos forged into the lead and were nine points up with only seven minutes left to play.

    Realizing the game was falling away, junior Nicholle Bromley and Fok led the team on yet another run – a 16-4 tear in the span of three minutes, giving the Tritons a three-point edge.

    The Tritons then went cold and showed their inexperience in big games. While Pomona scored five points and attempted seven field goals, UCSD missed its two field goal opportunities and turned the ball over four times in a span of three minutes.

    UCSD still had a chance to take control of the game when Bromley grabbed a rebound and was fouled by Powell with 21 seconds on the clock and UCSD trailing 72-70. Bromley missed her ensuing free throws but freshman center Margaret Johnson grabbed the long rebound. Johnson kicked the ball out to an open Fok but her three-pointer just missed and a Bronco defender grabbed the rebound.

    With 13 seconds left, Stacy Gallagher-Bolton fouled Pomona’s Anna James, who then made both her free throws, putting the Broncos up 74-70.

    The Tritons pushed the ball up and Ali Ginn made a three-pointer with four seconds left pulling the Tritons within one.

    With 3.4 seconds left to play, Bromley fouled James, who again made both of her free throws pushing Pomona ahead 76-73.

    Only one three pointer away from sending the game to overtime, the Tritons looked to Fok to take the final shot. The team captain took the ball in her end of the court, ran the length of the court and hoisted a desperate three-point attempt as time expired. The shot hit the rim but bounced away as the Tritons saw their chance to win the game slip away.

    However, the final shot was not without controversy. As Fok attempted her three-pointer, she seemed to be bumped by a Pomona defender and it appeared one referee agreed.

    “”I felt a body as I took the shot,”” Fok said after the game.

    UCSD head coach Judy Malone saw it too.

    “”Maya got fouled,”” Malone said. “”You expect to get a call like that at home.””

    Though the Tritons had a legitimate complaint about the last shot, everyone agreed situation shouldn’t have been an issue.

    “”We had a chance to beat them and we didn’t take advantage of it,”” Malone said.

    The Tritons were back in action the following night, taking on the Coyotes of Cal State San Bernardino.

    In a game where defense was the key, the Tritons eeked out a 54-47 win. But it wasn’t easy.

    When Coyote guard Angela Garret scored with 10 seconds left in the first half to put San Bernardino up 23-21, nobody thought it would be the last time the visitors would have the lead.

    The Tritons came out of the locker room on fire, scoring 13 consecutive points in the first eight minutes.

    But the Coyotes, who are 8-5 this season and 4-4 in the CCAA, did not give up. Led by forward Erica Cronin’s 14 points and Michelle Mendelson’s three-point shooting, San Bernardino pulled within one point with 1:20 remaining.

    Johnson converted a shot inside with 49 seconds left to put UCSD up 50-47.

    Fok then created a turnover, and with 22 seconds left, she was fouled as she made a shot. Fok made her free throw and when Mendelson missed a three-pointer with 13 seconds left, the Tritons knew they had the win and their defense to thank.

    “”We were in their face all night,”” Malone said. “”They didn’t get many good looks all night.””

    Bromley led the team with 17 points while pulling down seven rebounds. Johnson chipped in 10 points and 12 rebounds while adding a solid inside defensive presence.

    UCSD is now 7-6 with a 3-5 CCAA mark. The Tritons return to action next week making the trip to Northern California to take on Chico State and UC Davis.

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