Photo by: Andy Wilhelm
Junior Stephanie Moore and the Tritons are set for their home opener on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

Highly Anticipated: No. 17 Tritons Set for Home Opener Against Chico State on Saturday

UC San Diego

LA JOLLA, Calif. — The Tritons have been waiting for this moment.

After spending the first two weekends of the season on the road, the No. 17 University of California San Diego women's basketball team is set for its home opener at the "new" renovated RIMAC Arena. The Tritons face Chico State on Saturday, Nov. 24, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

It's also the first California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) game of the season.

But playing away from home hasn't made much difference to this point. The Tritons' 4-0 start is the program's best since the 2011-12 season, when UC San Diego won 26 straight to begin the year en route to an appearance in the NCAA West Region Final.

Already with four victories this season against west-region foes, UC San Diego has positioned itself to control its own postseason fate. The top eight teams in the final west region rankings qualify for the NCAA Tournament, with the top seed hosting the regional bracket.

"Losing non-conference games to in-region opponents is devastating," said UC San Diego head coach Heidi VanDerveer. "By taking care of business against really good, quality opponents, it will pay dividends in March. That's our goal."

It also helps maintain a winning mindset, especially with five newcomers this season. Freshman guard Julia Macabuhay made her first career start against Western Washington on Nov. 16, finishing with 13 points and five assists. Fellow freshman guard Brianna Claros scored 16 points off the bench in the win over the Vikings.

"(The good start) gives us a lot of confidence," said VanDerveer. "Everyone is working hard and it's paying off. Success breeds success, and that's something that's really good for our team's confidence.

"We really compete, it doesn't matter who's out there."

THE SCHEDULE
Game 5
vs. Chico State (3-0)
Saturday, Nov. 24 • 5:30 p.m.
RIMAC Arena • La Jolla 
Watch • Live Stats • Tickets

ABOUT UC SAN DIEGO
Roster | Schedule | Statistics
• Overall: 4-0 
• CCAA: 0-0 
• Home: 0-0 
• Away: 1-0
• Neutral: 3-0 
• Highest National Ranking (WBCA): 17
• Against Nationally-Ranked Teams: -
• WBCA Coaches Poll (Nov. 20) : 17 
• D2SIDA Media National Poll (Nov. 20): 21 
• D2SIDA Media West Region Poll (Nov. 19): 3rd 
• CCAA Standings: -

Mikayla Williams Nabs Second-Straight CCAA Player of the Week Honor
Junior forward Mikayla Williams was named California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Player of the Week for the second time to begin the season, and fourth time in her career. The Meath Park, Sask., native averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists is two Triton victories at the Sodexo Classic in Seattle. Williams posted a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Western Washington on Nov. 16, and followed it up with 20 points, eight boards and four assists in a road test at Seattle Pacific on Nov. 17. Coach VanDerveer on Williams: "Mikayla has improved every year. The scary thing is, she can improve even more. She's been very consistent and tough to guard offensively and is working on being solid defensively."

UCSD

TRITON NOTES

  • UC San Diego has begun the season 4-0, which is the program's best start since 2011-12. The Tritons won 26-straight games to begin that season, and reached the NCAA West Region Final.
  • The Tritons finished 21-1 in CCAA contests last season, which matched the program's best conference record set in 2011-12.
  • UC San Diego is ranked 17th in the week 1 WBCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll. The Tritons were receiving votes in the Top 25 preseason poll on Nov. 1.
  • UC San Diego is 28-13 all-time against Chico State. The Tritons won all three matchups against the Wildcats in 2017-18, including a victory in the CCAA Tournament semifinals. 
  • Junior forward Mikayla Williams is currently tied for ninth in the nation in points per game (24.8) and was named CCAA Player of the Week for the second-consecutive week on Nov. 20.
  • Junior forward Haleigh Hatfield is tied for 35th in the nation in rebounds per game (10.5). The Winston-Salem, N.C., native is also averaging 9.8 points per contest.
  • Senior guard Joleen Yang scored a career-high 25 points with five 3-pointers in UC San Diego's 83-72 win against Seattle Pacific on Nov. 17.
  • Freshman guard Brianna Claros scored 16 points off the bench on 6-of-12 shooting in the Tritons' 79-72 victory over Western Washington on Nov. 16.
  • Freshman guard Julia Macabuhay recorded 13 points with five assists in her first-career start against Western Washington on Nov. 16.
  • The Tritons have out-scored opponents in the fourth quarter a combined 104-85 this season. 

UC SAN DIEGO ROSTER BREAKDOWN
(2017-18 stats listed)
PROBABLE TRITON STARTERS 
G - #13 Joleen Yang (Sr., 5-6, 9.4 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 1.6 APG, All-CCAA Honorable Mention) 
G - #22 Sydney Sharp (Jr., 5-10, 6.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.0 APG)
G - #11 Julia Macabuhay (G, Fr., 5-6)
F - #10 Haleigh Hatfield (Jr., 6-1, Transfer from High Point University)
F - #33 Mikayla Williams (So., 6-1, 15.0 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.2 APG, All-CCAA First Team)

Starters Returning (3)
• #13 Joleen Yang (Sr., 5-6): 9.4 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 1.6 APG
• #21 Kayla Sato (Sr., 5-8): 13.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.9 APG 
• #33 Mikayla Williams (Jr., 6-1): 15.0 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.2 APG

Starters Lost (2)
Dalayna Sampton (F, 6-1 CCAA Player of the Year): 14.6 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 1.3 APG
Taylor Tanita (G, 5-4 All-CCAA Honorable Mention): 5.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 5.9 APG

Other Letterwinners Returning (4)
• #40 Shandiin Armao (F, Sr., 5-10): 4.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 0.4 APG
• #14 Stephanie Moore (G/F, Jr., 5-10): 1.5 PPG, 0.4 RPG, 0.9 APG
• #21 Kayla Sato (Sr., 5-8, 13.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.9 APG, All-CCAA Second Team)
• #22 Sydney Sharp (G, Jr., 5-10): 6.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.0 APG     
• #30 Layla Ybarra-Harvey (F, RSo., 6-1): 0.6 PPG, 0.4 RPG, 0.0 APG

Other Letterwinners Lost (4)
Marcella Hughes (G, Jr., 5-5): 4.3 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 1.0 APG
Paige Song (G, Sr., 5-9): 2.6 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 1.0 APG
Rebecca Williams (G, Jr., 6-1): 2.5 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.5 APG
Kristen Vrcelj (G, So., 5-10): 0.6 PPG, 0.4 RPG, 0.0 APG

Newcomers (5)
• #12 Madison Baxter (G, Fr., 5-9)
• #15 Brianna Claros (G, Fr., 5-5)
• #24 Kendal Ellenbeck (G, Fr., 6-0)
• #10 Haleigh Hatfield (F, Jr., 6-1)
• #11 Julia Macabuhay (G, Fr., 5-6)

BIG WEST BOUND
On Nov. 27, 2017 UC San Diego was officially invited to become a member of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference. The Tritons will begin a four-year reclassification period starting in the fall of 2020. They will play a full Big West schedule that season and will be eligible for NCAA Championships in men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo and fencing. For the 2024-25 academic year, all sports will be eligible to compete in Big West and NCAA Division I championships. For more information, check out our full Big West Bound page here.

CCAA STANDINGS
(overall standings through 11/20)
1. UC San Diego, 4-0 

2. Chico State, 3-0
3. Cal State LA, 2-0
4. Humboldt State, 2-0
5. Cal Poly Pomona, 2-1
6. Cal State San Marcos, 2-1
7. Sonoma State, 2-1
8. Cal State Dominguez Hills, 2-2
9. Cal State East Bay, 2-2
10. Cal State San Bernardino, 1-3
11. Cal State Monterey Bay, 0-2
12. Stanislaus State, 0-2
13. San Francisco State, 0-3

WBCA COACHES POLL
(Nov. 17 - Week 1)
1. Central Missouri (3-0)
2. Ashland (3-0)
3. Carson-Newman (4-0) 
4. Union (Tenn.) (4-0)
5. Indiana (Pa.) (3-0)
6. Alaska Anchorage (4-0)* 
7. West Texas A&M (4-0)
8. Bentley (4-0)
9. Drury (3-0)
10. Lubbock Christian (5-0)
11. Fort Hays State (2-0) 
12. Virginia Union (3-0) 
13. University of the Sciences (3-0)
14. Florida Southern (2-0)
15. Black Hills State (4-0)
16. North Georgia (3-1) 
17. UC San Diego (4-0)*
18. Grand Valley State (3-1)
19. Edinboro (2-1)
20. Northwest Nazarene (4-0)* 
21. Azusa Pacific (3-1)* 
T-22. Stonehill (3-1)
T-22. Valdosta State (2-0) 
24. Emporia State (3-0)
25. California (Pa.) (3-0)

* - NCAA West Region team

UC SAN DIEGO IN THE WBCA POLL
• Preseason Poll: RV
• Week 1 Poll: 17

UC SAN DIEGO IN THE D2SIDA NATIONAL MEDIA POLL
• Preseason Poll: RV
• Week 1 Poll: 21

D2SIDA WEST REGION POLL
(Nov. 19 - Week 1) (First-place votes)
1. Alaska Anchorage (5)
2. Northwest Nazarene 
3. UC San Diego (1) 
T-4. Azusa Pacific
T-4. Central Washington 
T-6. Cal Poly Pomona
T-6. Simon Fraser
8. Humboldt State 
9. Western Washington 
10. Chico State 

Rank         School                            Points (First-place votes)
1.             UC San Diego                   144 (12)
2.             Cal Poly Pomona              114
3.             Cal State East Bay.           111 (1)
4.             Chico State.                       100
5.             Cal State LA.                      96
6.             Humboldt State.                  93
7.             Cal State Dominguez Hills  89
8.             Cal State San Marcos         67
9.             Sonoma State                     57
10.           Stanislaus State                  54
11.           Cal State San Bernardino    50
12.           Cal State Monterey Bay       21
13.           San Francisco State            18

ABOUT CHICO STATE 
Roster | Schedule | Statistics 
• Overall: 3-0 
• CCAA: 0-0
• Home: 0-0 
• Away: 2-0
• Neutral: 1-0 
• Highest National Ranking: NR

NOTES

  • The Wildcats are ranked No. 10 in the latest C2SIDA West Region Poll.
  • Chico State was picked to finish fourth in the CCAA Preseason Coaches Poll on Oct. 31. 
  • Chico State is 3-0 this season with neutral-site victories over Dominican and Notre Dame De Namur, as well as a road win at Holy Names.
  • The Wildcats' Nov. 16 home contest against Academy of Art was postponed. It is not yet known if the game will be rescheduled.
  • Junior guard Madison Wong leads the Wildcats with 11.7 points per game, shooting 47 percent (8-for-17) from 3-point range. She's also second on the team with seven steals.
  • Freshman forward Mikaela Wegenke is averaging 9.0 points and 6.3 rebounds this season.
  • Chico State has out-rebounded its opponents a combined 127-96 this season.

2017-18 HIGHLIGHTS
UC San Diego won the CCAA regular-season championship for the third-consecutive season in 2017-18, matching a program and conference-best 21-1 record in CCAA play. The Tritons finished a perfect 11-0 on the road in CCAA games last year, with winning streaks of 11 and 10 in a row during the season. Forward Dalayna Sampton was named CCAA Player of the Year and earned Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) All-West Region First-Team honors, while head coach Heidi VanDerveer was named CCAA Coach of the Year for the third-straight season and garnered Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Region 8 Coach of the Year accolades. In addition, returning forward Mikayla Williams was an All-CCAA First-Team and D2CCA All-West Region Second-Team selection, while returning guard Kayla Sato was named to the All-CCAA Second Team as well as the CCAA All-Tournament Team. 

FINAL 2017-18 CCAA STANDINGS
1. UC San Diego, 21-1*
2. Cal Poly Pomona, 16-6
3. Humboldt State, 14-8^ 
4. Chico State, 14-8
5. Cal State LA, 13-9 
6. Cal State East Bay, 12-10 
7. Cal State Dominguez Hills, 11-11 
8. Sonoma State, 9-13 
9. Cal State San Bernardino, 9-13
10. Stanislaus State, 8-14 
11. Cal State San Marcos, 8-14 
12. Cal State Monterey Bay, 5-17 
13. San Francisco State, 3-19

* CCAA regular-season champion
^ CCAA Tournament champion

HEAD COACH HEIDI VANDERVEER
A former WNBA coach, Olympic team scout and assistant for the legendary Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee, VanDerveer enters her seventh season as UC San Diego head coach in 2018-19. VanDerveer was named California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Coach of the Year for the third-consecutive season in 2017-18, guiding the Tritons to a 28-5 overall record and 21-1 mark in conference play. She also earned Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) NCAA Division II District 8 Coach of the Year honors. UC San Diego won the CCAA regular-season championship for the third-straight year in 2017-18, making its third-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. For VanDerveer’s complete bio, click here.

GEAR HERE
UC San Diego Athletics has partnered with Advanced-Online to provide a web-based, on-demand option for Triton apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 1,000 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours. Visit the site at UCSDTritonsGear.com.

FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
Got some young Triton fans in your family? If they are eighth grade or under, check out the Junior Triton Club. Membership includes a free t-shirt, admission to over 100 UC San Diego home athletic events, and much more!

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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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