UCSD Handily Defeats Cal Poly Pomona for CCAA Win

Photo by Megan Lee
Photo by Megan Lee
Photo by Megan Lee
Photo by Megan Lee

 

As the second seed, UCSD hosted the seventh-seed Cal Poly Pomona in the opening round of the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. It was a hard-fought game but key in-game adjustments and an incredible offensive outburst from senior guard Jamie Katuna guided the Tritons to a 71–60 win.

The Broncos slowed the game down in the first quarter, not letting the Tritons get into their fast-paced offense that made them the 19th team in the nation in Division II. As a result, UCSD fell behind by six early on, with Cal Poly Pomona using the whole shot clock on every possession. After a three-point play by its center and another basket in transition, Pomona was up by nine, 18–9. Katuna scored a basket before the end of the quarter, but UCSD still trailed by seven going into the second quarter.

UCSD started playing the Broncos at their own game, implementing a full-court press. On the first possession of the quarter, the Tritons stole the ball, and junior guard Beth Mounier scored from downtown. Four minutes into the quarter, the Broncos still boasted a six-point advantage with Katuna bringing the Tritons back within four points on a three-pointer. Katuna continued to work hard and converted an and-one opportunity with two seconds left, as the Tritons went into halftime down 25–29.

“Pomona was really smart and we kind of had to adjust and play slower,” Katuna said. “It took us a little while; it took us the whole first half to adjust. We talked about that at halftime.”

Katuna pursued her clinic, scoring her first two shots to tie things up at 31, all after two minutes of play in the second half. UCSD continued to push and took a one-point lead after junior forward Cassie Macleod scored on an assist by senior forward Farrah Shokoor. The Tritons suddenly took fire and, behind Katuna and Shokoor, went up by five, 4035. Another Katuna basket pushed the lead to nine with a minute remaining in the quarter. Katuna had 27 points after three quarters of play and sophomore guard Taylor Tanita had a three-point play with 2.6 seconds left as the Tritons took a 5140 lead into the final quarter.

“A lot of it is when my teammates can set me up for stuff like that,” Katuna said. “As I started feeling it, I kinda just kept throwing it up there.”

After two minutes and 30 seconds of play in the fourth quarter, the Tritons were sitting on top of a comfortable 14-point lead. UCSD continued to push forward and were up 6244 with five minutes remaining. With the defense really stepping up, allowing for better offensive possessions, the Tritons completely turned the game around after a hesitant first half.

The Broncos came back within eight points of the Tritons with two minutes to play, as Katuna fouled out, but a beautiful runner — plus the foul by junior guard Beth Mounier — put the Tritons back up by 11. The Tritons then secured the win by making their free throws down the line to get the 11-point win.

Katuna had a game-high 29 points, as she hit four three-pointers on the night. Mounier had 13 points while Shokoor contributed with nine points and nine boards.

“We need to take it one game at a time,” Katuna said. “We got one game and that’s how we need to look at it.”

UCSD will now face the third-seed Cal State East Bay on Friday night for the semifinals. The semifinals and final for the CCAA tournament are held in Stockton, CA.

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