SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The University of California San Diego women’s basketball team clinched the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) regular season title outright after defeating Cal State San Bernardino, 66-60, in its last regular season contest Thursday at Coussoulis Arena.
UC San Diego repeats as the CCAA regular season champion after sharing the title last year with Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State East Bay. The Tritons will be the first seed in the CCAA Tournament and will host a quarterfinal game on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at RIMAC Arena.
UCSD is now a five-time regular season title holder, having also won in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2016. The 2017 championship is the first that the Tritons have won outright since 2012.
With the win, UCSD improves its conference mark to 17-3 and moves to 21-5 overall.
"I am very excited about the win and the resiliency our team has shown throughout the CCAA regular season," said UCSD head coach Heidi VanDerveer. "We look forward to competing in the tournament next week."
Senior Beth Mounier, sophomore Joleen Yang and junior Dalayna Sampton recorded double-digit numbers with 16, 15 and 10 points, respectively. Mounier and Sampton also tallied eight rebounds while senior Cassie MacLeod grabbed nine.
As a team, the Tritons shot 40 percent (22-55) from the field and 44 percent (8-18) from behind the arc, while the Coyotes were at 37 percent (22-59) overall.
CSUSB jumped out to an early lead, however Mounier and Yang used back-to-back three-pointers to knot the game at six early in the first quarter. The teams exchanged points back and forth before the Tritons scored the final three points of the quarter to lead by six, 23-17.
The Coyotes outscored the Tritons 14-11 in the second frame, but Mounier made three-consecutive three-pointers in the final two minutes of the half to keep the Tritons ahead, 34-31.
UCSD opened the third quarter on a five-point run to lead by eight, 39-31. The Coyotes’ Mya Johnson made back-to-back layups down the stretch to bring the hosts within one, 47-46, but UC San Diego scored six unanswered points to end the quarter with a six-point lead, 53-47.
In the fourth quarter, the Tritons had a nine-point lead, their largest of the game, with 7:20 showing on the clock. CSUSB attempted to come back, cutting the lead to 62-59 with just under three minutes to play, but it wasn’t enough as UCSD escaped with the victory.
"We made some big plays down the stretch," VanDerveer said. "Different players stepped up and we were able to hold on to grab the win."
Johnson led the Coyotes in scoring with 18 points.
With the loss, CSUSB drops to 11-8 in CCAA play and 14-9 on the season.
UCSD, Cal State East Bay, Stanislaus State, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State San Bernardino, Cal State LA, Chico State and Sonoma State make up the field for the eight-team CCAA Tournament. The tourney match-ups will be determined after conference play concludes Saturday.
Tip-off for Tuesday's quarterfinal game is set for 5:30 p.m. The semifinals and final will be held March 3-4 at Cal State San Marcos.