Connect Four: No. 2 Tritons Defeat Sonoma State for Fourth-Straight CCAA Title
ROHNERT PARK, Calif. — It was as mellow of a postgame reaction imaginable, with the Tritons shaking hands with their opponent before heading straight to the locker room.
They know there’s a lot more work ahead.
The No. 2 University of California San Diego women’s basketball team won its fourth-consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) regular-season championship on Thursday, defeating Sonoma State, 79-61, at the Wolves’ Den.
UC San Diego (23-0, 19-0 CCAA) claimed the crown outright for the third-straight year, and won its ninth overall in program history.
The four-consecutive titles matches the Tritons’ run of four in a row — all outright — spanning from the 2006-07 season to 2009-10.
Junior guard Sydney Sharp scored a team-high 22 points, knocking down 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Junior forward Mikayla Williams had another standout performance, finishing with 21 points and nine rebounds.
Junior forward Haleigh Hatfield recorded 11 points with 10 rebounds, tallying double-digit boards for the fifth time in the last six games. Freshman guard Brianna Claros again came through when called upon, scoring nine points with three assists.
The Tritons worked hard for it on Thursday. UC San Diego trailed by five at the end of the first quarter, 16-11, before outscoring the Sonoma State (10-12, 8-11) by 13 in the second to take a 43-35 advantage into halftime.
And which has been the case all season, the Tritons came out strong in the third quarter.
UC San Diego opened the second half with an 8-0 run, capped off by Hatfield’s three in transition to break open a close game and make it 51-35. A Sharp 3-pointer after Williams gathered a loose ball pushed the lead to 54-37 with seven minutes left in the third.
The Tritons brushed off a six-point deficit in the opening quarter with a 7-0 run, as junior Stephanie Moore snatched an offensive rebound and scored inside to make it 9-8 with four minutes left in the first.
Claros sparked a run midway through the second period, making an open three, then finding Williams in transition to make it 33-28 with 3:20 left in the half. Senior Kayla Sato followed with a nice wrap-around bounce pass in transition to Williams to make it 39-32 with just over a minute left in the first half.
UC San Diego continues conference play on Saturday, Feb. 23, as the Tritons wrap up their road schedule at San Francisco State beginning at 1 p.m.
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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