Tritons open 2002-03 season

    The UCSD women’s basketball team didn’t kick off the season like it wanted to. The Tritons dropped their first two games of the 2002-03 campaign in two away matches against Montana State University-Billings on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23.

    Guardian file photo

    The first game, which the Yellowjackets won 75-65, was typical of an early season contest. UCSD committed 17 turnovers, which was almost double the number of Triton assists at nine.

    “”We have a young team, and I think it was just the youth and early season jitters that caused the turnovers,”” said UCSD head coach Judy Malone.

    MSU-Billings also played a sloppy game, turning the ball over 19 times. However, the difference was the Yellowjackets’ ability to hit shots. In the opening half, MSU-Billings shot 50 percent from the floor, while UCSD converted on just 32 percent of its attempts, and the Yellowjackets rode a 41-30 lead into halftime.

    In the second half, the Tritons began to get more comfortable on the offensive end of the court, but MSU-Billings prevented UCSD from making any kind of run with its barrage of three-pointers. In the final 20 minutes, the Yellowjackets hit five of their 10 attempts from long distance, finishing the game with seven three-pointers.

    Also stopping the Tritons from picking up any momentum to make a comeback were MSU-Billings’ two shot blockers, Jessie Henigman and Robyn Miline, both of whom finished in the top 20 in the nation last season for blocked shots. Henigman had five rejections in the game and Miline had four.

    UCSD was led by junior guard Ali Ginn and sophomore center Margaret Johnson. Ginn had 12 points on 5-12 shooting and three steals in the game. Johnson, who hit just two of her 14 shot attempts, converted on all eight of her free throws and finished the game with 12 points and nine rebounds.

    The second game between the two teams was played out differently than the contest on Nov. 22, but the final result was the same, with MSU-Billings coming out on top 62-57.

    The Tritons’ shooting percentage was again low at 32 percent for the game, but UCSD took a 32-18 lead after the first half because its defense held the Yellowjackets to a field-goal percentage of just 21 percent in the first 20 minutes.

    After pushing their lead to 18 points with 17:56 left in the second half, the Tritons let MSU-Billings back into the game. A three-pointer by the Yellowjackets’ Joan Langford brought her team to within eight points with just over 12 minutes left. Then, at the 8:33 mark, a shot from Lisa Jellum of MSU-Billings tied the game at 47.

    The teams exchanged baskets until the Yellowjackets took their first lead of the game, hitting two free throws with under three minutes remaining. MSU-Billings never looked back after another field goal with 2:16 left.

    “”We lost our composure at the end,”” Malone said. “”We did self-destruct.””

    UCSD was again led by Ginn and Johnson; Ginn had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Johnson, who continued to get to the free-throw line, had 13 points and eight boards.

    “”I’m not disappointed with our performance,”” Malone said. “”Our kids played so well.””

    The Tritons will try to get their first win at Grand Canyon University on Dec. 7 before the UCSD plays its home opener against GCU on Dec. 14.

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