Triton Women Split League Road Games

Photo by Marcus Thuillier
Photo by Marcus Thuillier

UCSD falls in final seconds at CSULA, bounce back in crucial win over CSUDH. 

Photo by Marcus Thuillier
Photo Used With Permission From UCSD Athletics

Cal State Los Angeles (5–5) broke UCSD’s five-game winning streak in a 65–63 win in the California Collegiate Athletic Association road play on Friday, Jan. 16. However, the Tritons returned to their winning ways in their 60–55 victory over host Cal State Dominguez Hills (8–2) the following day. With this weekend’s results, UCSD improves to 7–3 in conference and 9–6 overall. 

Junior forward Farrah Shokoor and senior center Dana Webster combined for the team’s first nine points to give UCSD an early 9–6 advantage on Friday night. CSULA, on the base of a spectacular shooting performance in the first half — going 64 percent (9–14) from three-point range — answered back with a 13–0 run to take a 19–9 lead. However, UCSD responded quickly, tying the game up at 26–26 after a Webster lay-up. 

The back-and-forth first half concluded with a slight Golden Eagles’ advantage, as the Tritons entered intermission trailing 35–31. 

After halftime, UCSD came back strong with a 9–3 run to reclaim a 40–38 edge. The two teams traded leads early on until CSULA ultimately gained a permanent advantage. The Tritons were never far, though, and pulled within two points after a pair of layups from Shokoor and Webster brought the score to 65–63. However, with four seconds left on the clock, Shokoor could not sink the game-tying layup as the Tritons fell to the Golden Eagles by the bitterly narrow margin.

“CSULA is a very good team and I think maybe we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be, especially defending their three-point shooters,” UCSD head coach Heidi VanDerveer told the UCSD Guardian. “Obviously, we did a good job trying to come back but in the end, it wasn’t enough.” 

Webster had her third double-double of the season, with career bests of 20 points and a whopping 16 rebounds. Shokoor also had a double-double of her own with 11 points and 16 rebounds.

On Saturday, UCSD came out with a higher level of intensity and grinded out Cal State Dominguez Hills 60–55. The Tritons established a 19–9 lead halfway through the first frame after a Shokoor and-one play capped off a 13–3 run. The Toros answered to cut the lead to five, but another strong 8–2 run gave UCSD a 32–23 edge entering the half. 

After the intermission, the Toros slowly cut the Triton lead to make it a three-point game at 41–38 after a Tayler Champion basket with 10:26 left in the game. As the Tritons looked to pull away, the Toros continued to battle and eventually cut their deficit to one at a 56–55 score with just 54 seconds left in play. However, UCSD stood up on defense, shutting Dominguez Hills out in the final seconds to secure the 60–55 victory.

“I think we have a very smart basketball team and they understand what they need to do in order to be successful,” VanDerveer said. “I thought we did a great job to take away a lot of their favorite things.”  

For UCSD, Shokoor had her ninth double-double of the season with 15 points and an amazing 18 rebounds. Dana Webster again contributed with 11 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Beth Mounier provided a spark off the bench with 11 points, including three three-pointers. 

“We did a great job finishing the game especially on the back end of a back-to-back,” VanDerveer said. “Especially after you didn’t bring your A-game, and then you need to go against an excellent team. [UCSD knows] they can reach a higher standard and we showed that in our second game.” 

Despite the loss to Los Angeles, Saturday’s victory proved crucial, as the blue and gold trail Cal State Dominguez Hills by one game in league standings. UCSD is now in a tie for fourth place with Cal State San Bernardino, while the Toros are tied with Cal Poly Pomona for second. Only Humboldt State University remains unchallenged at the top with a flawless 10–0 conference record. 

The Tritons will have a perfect opportunity to move up in the standings as they return to RIMAC Arena this week for a tough and hugely important pair of games, facing Cal State San Bernardino on Friday and Humboldt State the next day. Both games will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. 

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