POMONA, Calif. — The Tritons have come full-circle from one year ago.
The No. 25 UC San Diego women’s basketball team came out sharp on Friday evening, defeating No. 4-seed Chico State, 67-48, in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Tournament semifinals at Cal Poly Pomona’s Kellogg Arena.
The Tritons won for the 23rd time in their last 24 contests and look to keep their momentum going in Saturday’s championship game against No. 3-seed Humboldt State beginning at 7:35 p.m.
UC San Diego (27-3) finds itself in the exact same position it was in last season, when it eventually fell in the conference title game to Cal State East Bay.
Junior guard Kayla Sato scored a game-high 22 points with four rebounds and three assists, sophomore Mikayla Williams recorded her 13th double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while CCAA Player of the Year Dalayna Sampton finished with 14 rebounds to go along with five points, three steals and two blocks.
Sato took over in the second quarter, scoring 12 points in the period, while Yang also sank two 3-pointers as UC San Diego outscored Chico State 28-14 in the frame.
Sharp connected on two 3-pointers fresh off the bench in the first quarter as the Tritons raced out to an early lead. Meanwhile, Chico State didn’t score until more than halfway through the first quarter when senior guard Whitney Branham banked in a desperation 3-point attempt.
UC San Diego shot a blistering 53 percent in the first half — and 50 percent for the game — and led for all but one minute in the contest. Chico State was held to just 32 percent shooting on the night.
The Tritons outrebounded the Wildcats 39-23, and have outrebounded its opponent in 23-consecutive games. In addition, UCSD held a 24-12 edge in points in the paint.
UC San Diego is 2-0 this season against Humboldt State.