In their final home series of the season, the UC San Diego women’s basketball team faced off against UC Irvine. The UCSD Tritons split the series with the UC Irvine Anteaters, winning 66–62 in their first matchup and dropping the second game 64–58. With the results of this week, the Tritons move their record in both the Big West and overall to 5–8.
In the first match, the Tritons got off to a hot start. Halfway through the first quarter, a three pointer by junior forward Kendal Ellenbeck put UCSD up 10–7 and gave them their first lead of the game. The Tritons were able to protect that lead through the first half, going into halftime with a 36–31 lead. However, coming out of the half, the Tritons’ performance dropped. After averaging 42 percent shooting in the first two quarters, UCSD was only able to shoot 25 percent in the third. UCSD was outscored by UC Irvine 17–10, which was enough for the Anteaters to pull ahead for their second lead of the game.
By the fourth quarter, the Tritons were able to return to form. They followed up their worst shooting quarter with their best shooting quarter, knocking down 63.6 percent of their shots. UCSD retook the lead with a jumper by junior guard Brianna Claros in the early minutes of the fourth. But UC Irvine would not go down easily. There were four more lead changes before the Tritons were able to take the game. Two free throws by junior forward Sydney Brown in the final seconds of the game were able to pull UCSD ahead to 66–63 and lock in the win for the Tritons.
The second matchup followed a very similar path as the first game. Like the previous game, UCSD started the game well and held onto the lead going into halftime. By the end of the second quarter, the Tritons were ahead 28–25. And like the previous game, the Tritons were outperformed in the third. UCSD was outscored by UC Irvine 22–11 in that period.
By the fourth, however, it looked like UCSD was on their way to another late game comeback. The Tritons were able to tie up the game, 52–52, by the halfway point of the fourth and jockey with UC Irvine for the lead, keeping the game within reach until the final 3 minutes. After UC Irvine pulled ahead 59–55, the Anteaters defense smothered the UCSD offense. Junior forward Julia Macabuhay managed one more three, bringing the Tritons within one possession at 61–58. But with just 18 seconds left, there was not enough time for UCSD to make up the deficit. With that, the Tritons lost their second matchup of the weekend, 64–58.
Next week, UCSD will be on the road, taking on last-place California State University, Fullerton (2–16, 1–13 Big West) for the last game of their pandemic-shortened Big West season.
Photo courtesy of Derrick Tuskan / UC San Diego Athletics