UC San Diego Swept by Defending Big West Champions UC Davis


Wesley Xiao

The UC San Diego women’s basketball team went up the road to Northern California to play a back-to-back against 2019–20 Big West Champions, UC Davis.The Aggies proved why they were the defending conference champions, steamrolling the Tritons in both matches, 80–62 and 58–46 respectively.

Over the course of the two games, UCSD was on top for just 27 seconds, with a jumper by junior guard Sydney Brown in the opening minute of the Friday match giving the Tritons their one and only lead of the back-to-back. 

UCSD was thoroughly outplayed by a more experienced and accomplished UC Davis team on both ends of the floor. Effective field goal percentage (eFG%), which adjusts field goal percentage to account for three-pointers’ higher value, paints a clear picture of how much better the Aggies played. UC Davis has an eFG of 60.83 percent and 48.08 percent in the two matches; by contrast, UCSD was 44.62 percent and 27.78 percent. This difference is in large part because of UC Davis’s efficiency at the three-point line (and UCSD’s inefficiency in the same spot). The Aggies were 17–34 and 6–21 shooting outside the arc, while the Tritons were 10–29 and 2–20 in their two games. All across the court, scoring was down for UCSD, as the Tritons made just 32 percent of their shots over the court, lowering the season average by five percent.

Sydney Brown and senior guard Tyla Turner continued to be the drivers of the team. They took turns being first and second in scoring, with Brown leading with 14 points in the first game and Turner leading with 16 points in the second. 

Outside of those two, redshirt junior guard Emily Cangelosi has begun to carve a position for herself in the starting lineup for the first time in her UCSD career. After averaging less than nine minutes a game last season, Cangelosi averaged 29.5 minutes in the two games against UC Davis, totaling 20 points, six rebounds, and one steal. Currently, Cangelosi leads the team in three-point shooting. Junior guard Madison Baxter returned to action after missing last week’s games, but the stingy UC Davis defense limited her to just 3 points.

These past two series — against UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis — have been illuminating when trying to understand where UCSD stands within the Big West. This week showed that the Tritons have a way to go before they can compete with the top dogs of the conference. 

But despite that, UCSD can find solace in the fact that they probably aren’t the worst team in the conference, if this young season is any indication. The Tritons currently sit in sixth place in the Big West, although game cancellations and differing schedules make team records difficult to parse. At the very least, their wins against California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and UCSB show that the team isn’t a pushover.

The Tritons will try to bounce back next week in a back-to-back against Long Beach State, returning to the friendly confines of RIMAC Arena.

Photo courtesy of UC San Diego Athletics