Tritons Women’s Basketball Suffer Tight Loss to Hawaii 


Ishir Talapatra

UC San Diego Women’s Basketball (11–12, 8–5 Big West) suffered a slow second half which cost them Thursday night’s game against the University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine (10–12, 8–5 Big West). 

UCSD started the game off with some hot offense, going 5–6 from the field in the first four minutes of play to take an early 4-point lead over Hawaii. Though the prolific scoring was unsustainable, getting off to a hot start was key for this team after struggling to keep up with their strong defense in the games prior. The team was up by 12 at one point in the third quarter after clamping down on defense and forcing the issue inside. Redshirt senior guard Emily Cangelosi led the way with her orchestration of the offense, and the confidence was palpable for this Triton squad. 

Coming off a Saturday road win at CSU Bakersfield, the Tritons responded well, going on a 10–0 run to end the first quarter with a comfortable 21–11 lead. UCSD Head Coach Heidi VanDerveer’s pep talk certainly kept spirits high, as the Tritons continued to expand on its lead heading into the second quarter. 3-pointers from junior guard Parker Montgomery and sophomore center Bridget Mullings helped UCSD end the half 35–21 ahead. The team performed well shooting-wise, with a 48% field goal conversion and 46% from beyond the arc. 

A halftime break was just what the doctor ordered for the Rainbow Wahine, who were unable to cope with the Tritons defensively and were struggling on offense. The break certainly disrupted the Tritons’ rhythm, who went 0–4 on 3-pointers and 18% from the field throughout the third quarter. An 11-point run from Hawaii, including three consecutive 3-pointers, helped make it a two-point game at 43–41 going into the fourth quarter, much to the dismay of the vocal UCSD student section. Hawaii redshirt junior guard Ashley Thoms was particularly impressive, scoring two of the 3-pointers to help nearly tie the game.

The teams traded baskets early in the fourth quarter, with UCSD going 1 for 9 from beyond the arc. With under 5 minutes left, the game was tied 55–55, and back-to-back field goals from the Rainbow Wahine helped secure a four-point lead. The Tritons failed to capitalize on the many chances they had at the end of the game, with Hawaii pulling out a 61–58 win in a miraculous comeback.

Despite the loss, the game saw defining performances from graduate student guard/forward Sydney Brown with 15 points and seven rebounds, and Cangelosi with 14 points and eight rebounds. It was poor shooting that cost UCSD in the end though, with a 36.7% field goal conversion and a paltry 26.9% from beyond the arc, in comparison to 40% and 34.8%, respectively, for the Rainbow Wahine. 

Aside from the enthralling action, Thursday’s showcase was also UCSD’s Black Lives Matter game, part of an effort to recognize existing inequalities and work towards solutions that will help propel the community towards equal rights for all. 

VanDerveer responded to their unfortunate losswell in her postgame interview with UCSD Athletics, remarking, “I think that we’re much better than this, and hopefully we’ll grow and learn. It doesn’t get any easier, and we don’t want it to get any easier, but we need to respond and have a good stretch here with five games in 10 days on the schedule. This is going to be big for our team to respond.”

It is a long road trip up ahead for the Tritons, who face CSU Fullerton on Wednesday and CSU Northridge on Saturday in an attempt to gain ground in the Big West and even out their overall record. 

Photo Courtesy of Keita Kobayashi of the UCSD Guardian