Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Mikayla Williams (left) and Sydney Sharp lead the Tritons into this week's CCAA Tournament.

No. 2 Tritons Open CCAA Tourney Looking For Best Start in Program History

UC San Diego

LA JOLLA, Calif. — The University of California San Diego women’s basketball team is playing at an historic pace not many have seen before.

But one member of the coaching staff has already lived it.

UC San Diego (26-0) begins California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Tournament play at RIMAC Arena on Tuesday, March 5, with a quarterfinal matchup against No. 8 seed San Francisco State beginning at 5:30 p.m. 

General admission for adults is $10. Children ages 4-12, seniors age 65+ and military can purchase tickets for $5, while the UC San Diego department of athletics has purchased tickets for students to receive free admission.

Not only will a win on Tuesday advance the Tritons into this weekend’s semifinal held at Cal State East Bay, but it will also set a new all-time best start to a season in program history. 

UC San Diego’s 2011-12 team also began the season 26-0 overall en route to reaching the NCAA West Region Final. The leading scorer on that team was current associate head coach Chelsea Carlisle, who wouldn't be upset seeing her record broken on Tuesday.

“This team deserves it,” said Carlisle. “They’ve put in the work, so I’ll be really excited for this group.

“This team just comes in day-in, day-out and gives everything they have. They take on the task at hand, and that’s what I’ve been most impressed with — their ability to focus on each individual task whether it’s practice, the game or whatever it is.”

A member of the coaching staff since 2012 and associate head coach since 2016, Carlisle notices a strong resemblance between her 2011-12 squad and the current undefeated Tritons.

“There’s a lot of similarities,” she said. “(The 2011-12) team was really close and we had great chemistry. We wanted to play for each other. 

“I see the same thing with this group. They’re all good friends, and give everything they have for themselves, for each other and for this program.”

When asked about her favorite memory of the 2011-12 team, Carlisle quickly acknowledged how excited they were to host the NCAA West Regional at RIMAC Arena.

With three more victories and a CCAA Tournament championship, the 2018-19 Tritons will likely experience that same feeling.

But there’s a lot of work ahead this week, as the winner of Tuesday night’s contest will face the winner between No. 4-seed Cal State San Marcos and No. 5-seed Cal State Dominguez Hills on Friday in Hayward, Calif.

“These teams are playing for their season and we have to do the same thing,” said Carlisle. “Everything is going to be ramped up a little bit, so we have to be ready for that.

"We just have to do what we’ve done to get to this point and stay true to who we are.”

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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