Women’s Basketball Struggles Down the Stretch at Long Beach

The UC San Diego women’s basketball team (6–8, 3–2 Big West) lost to California State University, Long Beach (11–2, 4,1 Big West) this past Thursday away at the Walter Pyramid in their seventh conference game of the season. It was a tough match-up for the Tritons, who struggled against the intense CSULB press. Despite a few bright moments and individual performances, UCSD was frustrated by CSULB’s on-form offense and determined defense. They were unable to retake the lead after losing it at the end of the first period; the final score was 62–44, the visiting side ultimately coming up short at full time.

UCSD won first possession and began the game with real promise. A jumper from redshirt senior guard Emily Cangelosi kicked off the scoring for the Tritons within the first minute of play to put the Beach on the defensive. The visitors added another 12 points to their tally before the end of the quarter, which included a pair of 3-pointers from Cangelosi and sophomore guard Parker Montgomery. However, despite their encouraging start, UCSD lost the lead at the tail-end of the quarter after CSULB’s Justina King netted a successive 3-pointer and bucket to tie the scoreline at 14–14 just before the break.

The rest of the game saw the Tritons continue to push, but never succeed in catching up to the home side. The second quarter began with the Beach scoring 9 points in a row, pushing UCSD into a five-minute spell in which they were unable to put points on the board. It was a smooth 3-pointer from senior guard Madison Baxter that finally broke the pattern with 5:20 left on the clock, but CSULB responded with another 5 points to again add to their lead. Despite another pair of jumpers from Emily Cangelosi and one from senior guard Julia Macabuhay, the half ended with the Tritons 10 points down at 33–23.

The second half saw more of the same form from both teams: CSULB scored another 5 points to further increase their lead before a three-minute period without either team scoring went by, book-ended by a pair of UCSD 3-pointers by Emily Cangelosi and Parker Montgomery. However, despite lessening the point-differential to single digits at one point near the end of the quarter, the visiting side conceded 14 points throughout and only scored 10 of their own, going into the final break down 47–33.

CSULB’s lead never dropped below double digits in the final quarter, despite freshman guard Izzy Forsyth’s 3-pointer and senior guard Sydney Brown’s bucket, as well as a pair of successful free throws from both. The Beach maintained their definitive lead, scoring 15 points of their own across the period, so with 39 seconds left on the clock, UCSD freshman guard Courtni Thompson’s jumper for the last points on the board wasn’t enough to deny the victory to the home side. The final buzzer sounded with the score 62–44 to CSULB. In the end, UCSD was disappointed to not build on their emphatic win over the University of Hawai’i a week prior, but ultimately they fell short against a dogged all-around effort by the Beach.

Despite the scoreline throughout, UCSD fought hard all evening and produced an admirable performance when their backs were against the wall, but in the end it wasn’t enough to catch up to the hosts. Emily Cangelosi put in an impressive shift for the Tritons, scoring a game-high 14 points and earning a team-high 8 rebounds, with Parker Montgomery contributing her own 10 points to the scoresheet for the visitors. 

It was telling that the lead was only relinquished once by either team, with CSULB firmly ahead for the majority of the game, but the most revealing statistics of the night might just be those regarding the teams’ turnover conversions: CSULB scored 24 points off turnovers while UCSD scored none. The Tritons surrendered possession too easily at times and were unable to capitalize on several moments when the opposition’s momentum faltered, a combination that created a gap too wide to bridge before the clock hit full time. 

However, despite the unfortunate outcome on Thursday, UCSD channeled their frustration into a gritty victory just two days later. The Tritons’ next tie was a spectatorless event the following Saturday at home against California State University, Fullerton, in which they added another win to their conference record in a tight game that ended 64–61 to the home side. Senior guard Sydney Brown and Julia Macabuhay each put on impressive scoring displays for UCSD, scoring 18 and 17 points on the night, respectively. The Tritons are next scheduled to play California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo away on Thursday, Jan. 27.

Image courtesy of UC San Diego Athletics