Photo by: Nick Feller/UCSD Athletics
The Tritons flashed their potential in an exhibition game at UC Riverside on Saturday.

No. RV Tritons Show Potential in Exhibition Loss at UC Riverside, 66-59


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RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The No. RV University of California San Diego women’s basketball team showed plenty of potential in an exhibition loss to UC Riverside, 66-59, on Saturday afternoon at SRC Arena.

Senior guard Kayla Sato led the Tritons with 18 points and six rebounds, while forward Mikayla Williams finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, and junior forward Haleigh Hatfield recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Saturday’s contest served as a good tuneup for UC San Diego, which begins the regular season on Friday, Nov. 9, against Simon Fraser. The game will be held at Cal State San Marcos and is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

It also gave the Tritons a glimpse of what competition will be like as a member of the Big West Conference beginning in 2020-2021.

If Saturday is an indicator, the future looks bright.

“In the first couple minutes, I don’t think we competed to win,” said UC San Diego head coach Heidi VanDerveer. “I think we competed to see how the game was going to go.

“We recruit against these (Big West teams) all summer, and I think it helps us understand the difference in size more than anything. But (Hatfield and Williams) held their own and (UCR) made some tough shots.”

UC San Diego was uncharacteristically cold from the field, making just three 3-point attempts and shooting 29 percent overall.

Senior guard Joleen Yang finished third in the nation last season in 3-point field-goal percentage at 47.3 percent, and junior guard Sydney Sharp shot 42 percent from beyond the arc. Both had an off shooting day on Saturday.

However, VanDerveer believes the team can overcome tough shooting performances.

“Really good offensive teams, which I feel we are, rely on their offense and it determines their personality defensively,” she said. “But we need to buy into believing that defense dictates our offense.”

UC San Diego took a 13-11 lead late in the first quarter after a short floater by freshman guard Brianna Claros. Later, the score was knotted, 20-20, for a two-minute stretch midway through the second period.

After a 10-0 UC Riverside run, consecutive buckets inside by Williams cut the Tritons’ deficit to 30-24 at halftime.

After trailing by as many as 16 in the fourth, UC San Diego went on an 8-0 run capped off by freshman guard Julia Macabuhay’s floater to make it 61-54 with 1:37 remaining. The Tritons pulled within five on Hatfield’s three with 34 seconds remaining, but it was the closest they would get.

“It’s great to play an exhibition game,” said VanDerveer, “now let’s tip it off for real.”

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country.  The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference.  UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent.  A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships.  In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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