Defense Wins: No. 25 Tritons Shut Down Sonoma State in CCAA Quarterfinals, 69-52
LA JOLLA, Calif. - It’s a new stage of the season, but the same Tritons showed up on Tuesday night.
The No. 25 University of California San Diego women’s basketball team put its strength on display in a victory over Sonoma State, 69-52, in a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Tournament quarterfinal matchup at RIMAC Arena.
The No. 1-seeded Tritons advance to take on No. 4-seed Chico State this Friday, March 2, in Pomona, beginning at 5:35 p.m.
Sophomore forward Mikayla Williams led the way with a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds, junior guard Kayla Sato finished with 17 points, four rebounds and four assists, and senior forward Dalayna Sampton stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots.
UC San Diego (26-3) held Sonoma State to 19 points in the first half, including just five in the second quarter. The 19 points in the half and five points in the quarter were both the second-fewest amount allowed this season.
UCSD also had a 48-33 rebounding advantage, and has now outrebounded each of its last 23 opponents.
The Tritons imposed their will inside during the second quarter en route to outscoring the Seawolves 12-5 in the period.
At one point, Sampton gathered an offensive rebound and scored on one end, then blocked a shot at the other end, as the Tritons built a 25-14 lead three minutes into the second.
A mid-range jumper by Williams put UC San Diego ahead at halftime, 31-19.
Sato’s back-door layup off an assist from senior Taylor Tanita made it 33-19 to start the third quarter, and Williams’ free-throw line jumper pushed the lead to 39-21 with 6:40 left in the period.
Junior Joleen Yang took over from there, sinking her first of four consecutive 3-pointers over a span of 4:51 in the fourth quarter to put the Tritons on top, 52-32, early in the period.
Williams has been red hot from the field over the past four games. The sophomore shot 10-for-13 on Tuesday night, and is now 35-of-45 (77.7 percent) in the Tritons’ last four contests.
The Meath Park, Saskatchewan, Canada, native is averaging 22 points and six rebounds over that stretch, and was named CCAA Player of the Week earlier Tuesday for the second time in three weeks.
UC San Diego has won 22 of its last 23 games overall and five-straight against Chico State heading into Friday’s semifinal matchup. The semifinals and final are being held at Kellogg Arena on the campus of Cal Poly Pomona.