Women’s basketball goes to NCAA tourney

    The UCSD women’s basketball team has squeaked into the NCAA Division II Tournament with a 15-12 overall record. The top eight teams from eight regions across the country participate in the tournament, and UCSD was on the bubble for the eighth spot in the West for most of the end of the season.

    Anna MacMurdo
    Guardian file

    This is the first time since being moved from Division III to Division II in the 2000-01 season that the Tritons have made the tournament. UCSD made five Division III appearances overall.

    Senior guard Ali Ginn spoke of the accomplishment.

    “We are thrilled about making the playoffs since it has been a goal of ours since we have made the transition to Division II,” she said. “Playoffs have been a motivating factor for us all year long, and it is an important step in taking our program to the next level.”

    UCSD will face the nationally No. 1-ranked Seattle Pacific in the first round of the tournament. The game is set for 7:30 p.m. on March 12 and will be held in Seattle Pacific’s arena. Should the Tritons advance, the remaining regional games are held in the same location throughout the weekend, culminating in the regional championship game on March 15. The finals will be held in Missouri the following weekend.

    UCSD lost its first game of the season to Seattle Pacific by a score of 89-57. The Tritons have an all-time 0-2 record against the Falcons. Seattle Pacific has put together a very impressive season, going a perfect 27-0, and is 47-1 in their past 48 games at home. This is the second season in a row that Seattle Pacific is the top seed in the West, which means that it has had home court advantage in the tournament the past two years.

    The Tritons know that they are up against a very good team, but are not intimated by the Falcons and their experience.

    “It is not really intimidating going for the first time,” Ginn said. “I think it is more exciting than intimidating. We are confident in our abilities, so there really isn’t anything to be intimidated by. We are going to enjoy every minute of it, but at the same time we don’t want to be complacent just making playoffs. We want to prove to people that we are worthy of being one of the teams selected, and we want to make sure we give our absolute best effort while we are there.”

    Making the tournament will extend the careers of the two seniors on the team. Ginn, who recently broke the record for all-time leading scorer at UCSD, and forward Robyn Phillips will have at least one more game in a Triton uniform. Everyone will be looking to them for leadership, but the entire bench is expected to contribute.

    “In order for us to do some damage, we need everyone to step it up,” Ginn said. “It is going to be our 28th game, so by now everyone is experienced and is expected to step up instead of relying on just a few players. We need a total team effort to win.”

    When asked about facing the No. 1 team in the country, Ginn said, “It’s fun to be the underdog!”

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