Mission Accomplished! Tritons Defeat Cal Poly Pomona to Win CCAA Tournament Championship
HAYWARD, Calif. — Head coach Heidi VanDerveer sat between two seniors, hair still wet from a locker room Gatorade shower.
It’s probably the only time the seventh-year head coach has ever been happy being cold and wet.
VanDerveer and the University of California San Diego women’s basketball team are back on top of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, as the Tritons won the CCAA Tournament championship with a victory over Cal Poly Pomona, 72-60, Saturday evening at Pioneer Gymnasium on the campus of Cal State East Bay.
It’s the Tritons’ second CCAA Tournament championship all-time, and the second for VanDerveer. UC San Diego (29-0) last won the tournament title in 2012-13 and fell in the final round each of the last two seasons.
Junior forward Mikayla Williams was named tournament MVP, finishing Saturday’s game with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Junior guard Sydney Sharp made five 3-pointers and finished with 16 points, and junior forward Haleigh Hatfield recorded 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Senior guard Joleen Yang added 10 points, including her 1,000th-career point in the first quarter, while also playing smothering defense and limiting Cal Poly Pomona's leading scorer Jordyn Shane to just 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting.
Senior guard Kayla Sato joined Williams on the All-Tournament Team, recording seven points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
UC San Diego now awaits Sunday night’s NCAA Selection Show, when it finds out who its first round opponent will be in next weekend’s NCAA Tournament with the West Regional likely to be held in its home gym RIMAC Arena. The Selection Show is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. PT on NCAA.com.
The Tritons had a 38-33 rebounding advantage and went 20-for-24 from the free-throw line on Saturday. They also had 12 assists on 22 made field goals.
After trailing by one at the end of the first quarter, UC San Diego took a three-point halftime lead before outscoring Cal Poly by seven in the third.
Yang’s driving bucket while fouled, followed by her coast-to-coast layup made it 35-29 with just under eight minutes left in the third. Consecutive 3-pointers by Sharp pushed the lead to 43-32, forcing a Cal Poly timeout with 5:22 to go in the period.
Another Sharp three form the other side off a pass from Williams gave the Tritons their biggest lead of the night, 46-34, before Hatfield’s three from the wing made it 50-38 with three minutes left in the third.
The Broncos fought back behind Dominique Dotson’s 3-pointer from the corner to cut the Tritons’ lead to five, 56-51, with 6:48 remaining. But Williams responded with a strong drive and finish to put UC San Diego back ahead 62-52 with just over four minutes left.
Williams’ nice pass inside to senior Kayla Sato cutting through the lane for a layup pushed the lead back to 12 with 3:30 to go, and freshman Brianna Claros’ driving bucket while fouled essentially sealed the victory with 51 seconds remaining.
CCAA Tournament MVP
Mikayla Williams, UC San Diego
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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