Sharp, No. 5 Tritons Set for Home Showdown vs. Cal State San Marcos
LA JOLLA, Calif. — Sydney Sharp stepped to the line and calmly sank two free-throws to end practice on Thursday, saving herself and the rest of the team from having to run sprints.
The junior guard’s signature set-shot has become a familiar site for the undefeated and No. 5-ranked University of California San Diego women’s basketball team.
A squad hit by injuries earlier in the season to senior guard Kayla Sato and senior forward Shandiin Armao, Sharp has blossomed into a key player for the Tritons (14-0, 10-0 CCAA), starting all 14 games this year.
“I like stepping up and being a leader,” said Sharp. “I think I’ve stepped into the role pretty well. I feel I’m a huge voice for the team and that helps a lot on defense.
“We’re just having fun with each other and sharing the ball. It’s been a really fun season.”
A rise sparked by scoring 12 points with four 3-pointers to end last season in the 2018 NCAA West Region Semifinals, Sharp has already erupted for 30-points with nine 3-pointers against San Francisco State on Dec. 6, as well as a 21-point performance with seven threes against Sonoma State on Dec. 31.
The potential was always there. The North Tustin, Calif., native once scored 48 points in a high school game for Foothill High, and is known to get into an unconscious shooting zone.
“It’s a great feeling,” she said. “I feel like I just have to hit one to get started and my confidence builds from there. Once I hit one, when I’m open, I’m going to shoot — and it’s going in.”
The same amount of time put into her jump shot has been matched in the classroom, with Sharp set graduate after just three years and has already been accepted into the master’s program for public global health.
After originally majoring in biology, Sharp has a goal of becoming an infectious disease doctor. It all started with her own foot infection in the fourth-grade that got her interested in the field, as she’s curious to continue learning how viruses spread.
“I’m really excited about (being accepted into the master’s program),” Sharp said. “It was challenging and I was really stressed about it, but I had to focus on it over the summer and get it done.”
Sharp leads UC San Diego into a showdown against San Diego County foe Cal State San Marcos on Saturday, Jan. 19, in a rematch of a two-point Triton victory on Dec. 1. Opening tip at RIMAC Arena is set for 5:30 p.m.
“It’s a huge game for us, especially since we started off so slow against them last time,” she said. “In practice, we’ve just been focusing on our defense and being mentally locked in.
“We need to come out strong, throw the first punch and keep going at them. We can’t let up at all. I have a good feeling about this weekend.”
ABOUT UC SAN DIEGO
Roster | Schedule | Statistics
• Overall: 14-0
• CCAA: 10-0
• Home: 5-0
• Away: 5-0
• Neutral: 3-0
• Highest National Ranking (WBCA): 6th
• Against Nationally-Ranked Teams: -
• WBCA Coaches Poll (Jan. 15) : 6th
• D2SIDA Media National Poll (Jan. 15): 8th
• D2SIDA Media West Region Poll (Jan. 14): 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.
Saturday evening's basketball games will be part one of the winter quarter Triton Trifecta Games! Attend all three games at RIMAC Arena to redeem prizes and be entered to win a free bike cruiser. On Saturday's basketball games against Cal State San Marcos, fans will receive a free UC San Diego tote bag sponsored by Pepsi upon entry. The second step will be to attend the Triton men's volleyball match against UCLA on Jan. 25, where fans will receive UC San Diego tank top replica jerseys upon admission. The third and final stage will be to attend basketball Spirit Night against Stanislaus State on Jan. 31. Proof of admission for all three events puts you in a raffle to take home the free Pepsi bike cruiser!
MIKAYLA WILLIAMS TO BE HONORED FOR REACHING 1,000 CAREER POINTS
Junior forward Mikayla Williams will be honored prior to Saturday evening's game against Cal State San Marcos for surpassing 1,000 points in her Triton career. Williams achieved the mark by scoring 21 points in an 89-73 road victory over Cal State Dominguez Hills on Jan. 5. This season, Williams is averaging 20.1 points per game, which leads the team and ranks first in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).
- UC San Diego is one of only six remaining undefeated teams in the nation.
- The Tritons are ranked No. 5 in the latest WBCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll. It's the highest the program has been ranked since the 2011-12 season.
- UC San Diego has begun the season 14-0, 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 20-straight CCAA regular-season contests and 34 of its last 35 in conference play.
- The Tritons have won 19-consecutive road contests, including 17-straight CCAA road games.
- UC San Diego averages 79.6 points per game, which ranks 18th in the nation.
- The Tritons rank sixth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.42) and has the fifth-fewest turnovers per contest (11.8).
- UC San Diego is making an average of 8.6 3-point field goals per game, which is 20th nationally. In addition, their 121 made 3-point field goals is tied for 40th in the country.
- The Tritons rank 17th in the country in free-throw percentage as a team, making 76.8 percent (209-of-272) of their attempts.
- UC San Diego ranks 18th in the nation in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by an average of 17.2 points per game.
- The Tritons average 16.7 assists per game, which ranks 21st in the country.
- UC San Diego's 42.8 rebounds per game rank tied for 29th in the nation.
- Senior guard Joleen Yang scored a team-high 21 points with four 3-pointers to lift the Tritons to a 78-65 road victory over Stanislaus State on Jan. 12.
- Junior forward Mikayla Williams ranks 27th in the nation in points per game (19.9) and is 15th in rebounds per game (11.0). In addition, Williams' is 29th in field-goal percentage (55.5) and her eight double-doubles this season are tied for 15th-most nationally.
- Junior forward Haleigh Hatfield is averaging 10.4 rebounds per contest, which is 29th in the country.
- Freshmen guard Brianna Claros ranks 21st in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.37).
UC San Diego head coach Heidi VanDerveer is just three victories away from reaching 150 in her Triton career. In seven seasons as head coach, VanDerveer has an impressive overall record of 147-49 (.750).
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 - #21 Kayla Sato (Sr., 5-8, 13.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.9 APG, All-CCAA Second Team)
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 10-0, 14-0
2. Cal Poly Pomona 8-1, 12-2
3. Cal State San Marcos 7-3, 10-4
4. San Francisco State 7-3, 8-7
5. Chico State 6-4, 9-4
6. Humboldt State 6-4, 8-5
7. Cal State San Bernardino 5-5, 6-8
8. Cal State East Bay 4-6, 7-9
9. Cal State Dominguez Hills 3-6, 7-8
10. Cal State LA 3-7, 6-8
11. Sonoma State 3-7, 5-8
12. Stanislaus State 2-8, 3-11
13. Cal State Monterey Bay 0-10, 0-13
WBCA COACHES POLL
(Jan. 15 - Week 8)
1.Indiana (Pa.) (13-0)
2. Drury (15-0)
3. Fort Hays State (13-0)
4. Northwest Nazarene (14-0)*
5. UC San Diego (14-0)*
6. Ashland (14-1)
7. Union (Tenn.) (15-1)
8. West Texas A&M (13-1)
9. Grand Valley State (15-1)
10. Thomas Jefferson (17-0)
11. University of the Sciences (14-1)
T-12. Alaska Anchorage (13-1)*
T-12. Virginia Union (14-1)
14. Florida Southern (14-1)
15. California (Pa.) (13-1)
16. Bentley (14-2)
17. Southwestern Oklahoma State (13-1)
18. Lewis (13-2)
19. Angelo State (10-2)
20. Charleston (W.V) (11-1)
21. Anderson (S.C.) (10-2)
22. North Georgia (9-2)
23. Colorado Mesa (12-1)
24. Lindenwood (11-1)
25. Truman State (14-2)
* - 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
• Week 8 Poll: 5
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
• Week 8 Poll: 7
D2SIDA WEST REGION POLL
(Jan. 14 - Week 8) (First-place votes)
1. Northwest Nazarene (5)
2. UC San Diego (1)
3. Alaska Anchorage
4. Cal Poly Pomona
5. Central Washington
T-6. Azusa Pacific
8. Cal State San Marcos
9. Western Washington
T-10. Chico State
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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