Travel Mode: Williams Leads No. 6 Tritons North to Face Stanislaus State
LA JOLLA, Calif. — It became as much a math problem as a basketball conversation.
Mikayla Williams sat in deep thought following practice at RIMAC Arena, adding up in her head all the different schools she’s attended on the path to UC San Diego.
She finally settled on three elementary schools, four middle schools (at least), four different high schools and now her third college.
That adds up to 14 different schools for the 21-year-old junior forward.
“There were 14, 15 or so,” she concluded after doing the math.
Born in Yuma, Ariz., Williams’ family moved to Canada. They returned to the United States in Chandler, Ariz., midway through her sixth-grade year.
“It was a rough year,” she said with a smile. “I was not prepared for middle school in the United States.”
Williams began high school at Great Oak HS in Temecula, Calif., and eventually returned to graduate from Great Oak in 2015.
In between, she attended Simi Valley HS, Royal HS (in Simi Valley) and Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, Calif.
After high school, Williams initially enrolled at Cal State Fullerton, but quickly left by the end of summer. She wound up taking classes at Mira Costa College, where she decided not to join the basketball team and instead opted to train on her own for a year.
With all the different stops growing up, Williams believes it helped her grow into the person she is today.
Which is a special one for the Tritons. Williams is the leading scorer and rebounder for No. 6-ranked UC San Diego, which is 13-0 this season.
The junior forward recently eclipsed 1,000 points in her Triton career en route to earning conference player of the week honors for the third time this season.
“It’s been interesting because I’ve got to see and learn different places and all those experiences have shaped me,” she said. “I’ve been exposed to quite a few different things.
“It’s great to meet new people and I’m always ready to travel.”
It should be easy for Williams to prepare for this week’s trip then, as UC San Diego travels north to take on Stanislaus State on Saturday, Jan. 12, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Stanislaus State is the one California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) team the Tritons have lost to in their last 34 regular-season conference games, dropping an 82-78 home decision to the Warriors on Jan. 18, 2018.
Redemption is certainly on the Tritons’ mind this week.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Williams. “(Stanislaus State) is a tough team and they put a lot of pressure on you.
“I think it will be a good challenge for us, because in the postseason we’ll see a lot more pressure.”
With a perfect 13-0 record and 13 more games remaining on its regular-season schedule, the Tritons are halfway toward an undefeated season.
But it’s not something that comes up in conversation within the team.
“We don’t talk about it too much, we’re focused on taking it one game at a time,” said Williams. “Even if you’re undefeated, any team can beat you.
“We just want to continue to focus on ourselves, focus on who we’re playing next and not letting up. We’re not letting our past wins dictate how we come into games.”
With an American father formerly in the military and a Canadian-born mother, Williams said she lists her hometown as Meath Park, Saskatchewan, Canada, primarily in honor of her deceased grandfather.
He built the home in Meath Park that Williams’ mother grew up in, and it still has special meaning.
“It was really sentimental for me since I’ve moved so much,” Williams said. “I don’t think of home as a place, it’s more of a feeling and where my family and loved ones are. I’ve bounced around a lot, so I don’t really have one place that I return to.”
Williams acknowledged her three years at UC San Diego are the longest she’s ever been at one school, and it’s also become a special place to her.
“It’s more interesting staying at one place versus moving and having to introduce myself, make a few marks, then leave again,” she said. “It’s kind of interesting to have something I’ve stayed with for this long.
“My definition of home is where I feel loved, so yeah, (UC San Diego) is like a home to me. There’s a lot of people I love here, I love the area. It’s such a unique experience. I feel my coaches and teammates are here for me. It definitely makes it feel like another place I can return to.”
ABOUT UC SAN DIEGO
Roster | Schedule | Statistics
• Overall: 13-0
• CCAA: 9-0
• Home: 5-0
• Away: 5-0
• Neutral: 3-0
• Highest National Ranking (WBCA): 6th
• Against Nationally-Ranked Teams: -
• WBCA Coaches Poll (Jan. 8) : 6th
• D2SIDA Media National Poll (Jan. 1): 8th
• D2SIDA Media West Region Poll (Jan. 7): 2nd
• CCAA Standings: 1st
WE'VE GOT SPIRIT (NIGHT)
The 2019 edition of the most anticipated hoops date of the season, Spirit Night, happens on Thursday, Jan. 31. RIMAC Arena will be packed to the rafters. There will be a free all-student tailgate, competitions, giveaways, free food, and more surrounding the doubleheader. Come out, show your Triton Spirit, and Paint the Night Blue and Gold! The women tip at 5:30 p.m. with the men to follow. Don't miss it! For more info, check out the Spirit Night event page on Facebook.
MIKAYLA WILLIAMS NABS THIRD CCAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONOR
Junior forward Mikayla Williams was named California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Player of the Week on Tuesday for the third time this season and fifth time in her career. The Meath Park, Sask., native averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and 3.3 assists in three Triton victories from Dec. 31-Jan. 5. A first-team all-conference selection last season, Williams leads the CCAA in scoring (20.2 ppg), field-goal percentage (.561), free-throw percentage (.840) and is second in rebounding (10.9 rpg).
- UC San Diego is one of only 7 remaining undefeated teams in the nation.
- The Tritons are ranked No. 6 in the latest WBCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll. It's the highest the program has been ranked since being No. 5 during the 2011-12 season.
- UC San Diego has begun the season 13-0, 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 have won 19-straight CCAA regular-season contests and 33 of its last 34 in conference play.
- UC San Diego's last conference loss was against Stanislaus State, 82-78, at home on Jan. 18. The Tritons won the previous matchup last season, 79-52.
- The Tritons have won 18-consecutive road contests, including 16-straight CCAA road games.
- UC San Diego averages 79.7 points per game, which ranks 21st in the nation.
- The Tritons rank third in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.44) and has the fifth-fewest turnovers per contest (11.6).
- UC San Diego is making an average of 8.5 3-point field goals per game, which is 28th nationally. In addition, their 110 made 3-point field goals is tied for 33rd in the country.
- The Tritons rank 12th in the country in free-throw percentage as a team, making 77.4 percent (188-of-243) of their attempts.
- UC San Diego ranks 18th in the nation in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by an average of 17.5 points per game.
- The Tritons average 16.8 assists per game, which ranks 23rd in the country.
- UC San Diego's 42.7 rebounds per game rank 39th in the nation.
- The Tritons are holding opponents to 27.4 percent from 3-point range this season, which is 47th in the country.
- Junior forward Mikayla Williams ranks 24th in the nation in points per game (20.0) and is 18th in rebounds per game (10.9). In addition, Williams' is 23rd in field-goal percentage (55.8) and her seven double-doubles this season are tied for 15th-most nationally.
- Junior forward Haleigh Hatfield is averaging 10.2 rebounds per contest, which ranks tied for 31st in the country.
- Freshmen guards Julia Macabuhay (2.78) and Brianna Claros (2.69) rank 10th and 12th respectively in assist-to-turnover ratio.
- Senior guard Kayla Sato returned to action after missing nine games due to injury, leading the Tritons to road victories last week against Cal State LA and Cal State Dominguez Hills. The Torrance, Calif., native made four 3-pointers and finished with 17 points off the bench against Cal State LA, and followed it up with a 12-point, four-assist performance against Cal State Dominguez Hills.
UC San Diego head coach Heidi VanDerveer is just four victories away from reaching 150 in her Triton career. In seven seasons as head coach, VanDerveer has an impressive overall record of 146-49 (.748).
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)
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
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.
1. UC San Diego 9-0, 13-0
2. Cal Poly Pomona 6-1, 10-2
3. Cal State San Marcos 6-3, 9-4
4. San Francisco State 6-3, 7-7
5. Chico State 4-4, 7-4
6. Humboldt State 4-4, 6-5
7. Cal State East Bay 4-4, 7-7
8. Cal State Dominguez Hills 3-4, 7-6
9. Cal State LA 3-5, 6-6
10. Cal State San Bernardino 3-5, 4-8
11. Sonoma State 3-6, 5-7
12. Stanislaus State 2-7, 3-10
13. Cal State Monterey Bay 0-8, 0-11
WBCA COACHES POLL
(Jan. 8 - Week 7)
1.Indiana (Pa.) (11-0)
2. West Texas A&M (12-0)
3. Drury (13-0)
4. Fort Hays State (13-0)
5. Northwest Nazarene (12-0)*
6. UC San Diego (13-0)*
7. Ashland (13-1)
8. Union (Tenn.) (13-0)
9. Grand Valley State (13-1)
10. Bentley (13-1)
11. University of the Sciences (12-1)
12. Thomas Jefferson (14-0)
12. Virginia Union (11-1)
14. Alaska Anchorage (11-1)*
15. Florida Southern (12-1)
16. California (Pa.) (11-1)
17. Lewis (11-1)
18. Angelo State (9-1)
19. Central Missouri (9-3)
20. Southwestern Oklahoma State (11-1)
21. Saint Mary's (Texas) (10-2)
22. Black Hills State (9-2)
23. North Georgia (8-2)
24. Anderson (S.C.) (12-2)
25. Charleston (W.V.) (11-1)
* - NCAA West Region team
UC SAN DIEGO IN THE WBCA POLL
• Preseason Poll: RV
• Week 1 Poll: 17
• Week 2 Poll: 14
• Week 3 Poll: 12
• Week 4 Poll: 10
• Week 5 Poll: 10
• Week 6 Poll: 9
• Week 7 Poll: 6
UC SAN DIEGO IN THE D2SIDA NATIONAL MEDIA POLL
• Preseason Poll: RV
• Week 1 Poll: 21
• Week 2 Poll: 19
• Week 3 Poll: 12
• Week 4 Poll: 9
• Week 5 Poll: 9
• Week 6 Poll: 9
• Week 7 Poll: 8
D2SIDA WEST REGION POLL
(Jan. 1 - Week 6) (First-place votes)
1. Northwest Nazarene (5)
2. UC San Diego (1)
3. Alaska Anchorage
4. Cal Poly Pomona
5. Central Washington
7. Western Washington
8. Azusa Pacific
9. Cal State San Marcos
T-10. Simon Fraser
T-10. Fresno Pacific
CCAA PRESEASON COACHES POLL
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
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.
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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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