LA JOLLA, Calif. - In its sixth straight victory, the University of California San Diego women's basketball team defeated California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) foe San Francisco State, 75-67, Friday evening at RIMAC Arena.
UC San Diego rose to 10-2 overall and a perfect 6-0 in conference play. SF State fell to 4-6 on the season and 2-5 in the CCAA. UCSD remains on top of the league standings as the only undefeated team. The Tritons' six-game win streak dates back to Nov. 30.
UCSD shot 42.4 percent (25-59) overall and hit 13 three-pointers, shooting 44.8 percent (13-29) from behind the arc. The Tritons notched a 43-31 advantage in rebounds and held the visitors to 36.4 percent (20-55) shooting.
Joleen Yang made five three-pointers, finishing with 15 points, while fellow junior Kayla Sato had a team-high 17 points and seven rebounds. Senior Dalayna Sampton notched her sixth double-double of the season and third in a row, netting 12 points while grabbing a team-high 10 boards. Senior Taylor Tanita dished out eight assists to go along with six points and four boards.
The Gators' Courtenay Brown tallied a game-high 20 points while Jhaina Stevens and Jacqueline Moss had 19 and 13 points, respectively.
Despite a sluggish start, the Tritons used strong defense to come from behind and seal the conference win.
The game was tied six times in the first quarter with neither team able to gain more than a three-point advantage. The Gators went on a four-point run late to break an 18-18 tie, and held a one-point lead after one, 22-21. In the first, Yang made back-to-back shots from long range for openers, while junior Marcella Hughes and sophomore Sydney Sharp each hit a three-pointer.
SF State remained ahead until Sampton netted a layup that gave the Tritons a one-point edge halfway through the second frame. Another Sharp triple tied it up with 1:31 left in the half, and a layup from junior Shandiin Armao put UCSD back in the lead, 40-38, heading into the locker rooms.
The Tritons outscored the Gators 21-16 in the third quarter, taking their largest lead of the game, 57-45, with 4:25 left. Tanita made two three-pointers, while Sato had one to give UCSD the 12-point advantage. San Francisco State went on a seven-point run to bring the game within four, 58-54. However, three made free throws from Sampton gave the Tritons a seven-point cushion going to the fourth quarter.
SF State closed to within four, 66-62, on a Stephens bucket with 5:34 left in the game before Yang and Sato each made three-pointers down the stretch to help UCSD pull away for the win.
UC San Diego head coach Heidi VanDerveer was forced to change her starting lineup for the first time this season, as fourth-year senior Paige Song had to sit out through injury, and Yang took over. Yang finished five-of-six from the field, all from three-point range, with three assists and a blocked shot.
Redshirt sophomore Mikayla Williams collected eight points and eight rebounds. Armao hit four-of-five from the field for eight points of her own for the second successive game. Sharp added a career-best four assists to her six points and three boards following a one-game absence. The Tritons as a team compiled 21 assists on their 25 made field goals.
UC San Diego rounds out 2017 on Sunday, Dec. 31, with a 2 p.m. road game at Stanislaus State (6-7, 3-4 CCAA).