SEASIDE, Calif. — The University of California San Diego women’s basketball team pulled away late on the road Thursday night, defeating Cal State Monterey Bay, 65-56, for its 10th-consecutive victory.
Sophomore forward Mikayla Williams recorded her second-straight double-double — and eighth of the season — finishing with game-highs of 13 points and 15 rebounds. Junior Kayla Sato added 12 points with two steals, while junior forward Shandiin Armao and senior forward Dalayna Sampton scored 10 points apiece.
“This is a very tough place to play, we’ve always been challenged up here,” said UC San Diego head coach Heidi VanDerveer. “We got good looks in the first half, but our defense wasn’t as aggressive as it needed to be. We made adjustments and took the challenge to work hard defensively (in the second half).”
UCSD (14-2, 10-0 CCAA) trailed by as many as seven in the third quarter, but never panicked. The Tritons went on a 12-5 run to pull even, culminating with Joleen Yang’s deep 3-pointer and Armao’s midrange jumper to knot the score, 42-42, with three minutes left in the third.
After beginning the fourth quarter down by three, Sampton’s driving layup and two free throws put the Tritons back on top, 50-49, with 7:02 to go.
Sato’s 3-pointer from the corner gave UC San Diego a two-point lead, and free throws by Armao extended the Tritons’ advantage to six, 57-51, with 5:19 remaining.
A pull-up jumper by Sato made it 60-53 with 3:20 left, and UCSD never looked back.
“When you get stops, it helps your offense,” said VanDerveer. “Our improved defense in the second half gave us much better looks offensively.
“We stayed with it, played hard and improved as the game went on.”
UC San Diego has now defeated Cal State Monterey Bay 11-consecutive times, including postseason play. The Tritons’ last loss against the Otters was Jan. 18, 2013.
The Tritons had a dominant rebounding advantage (41-18) after entering the game ranked 12th in the nation in rebounding margin (9.7 per game). UCSD also made 18-of-24 free throws, while Monterey Bay only attempted seven (5-for-7).
UC San Diego shot 43.8 percent from the field and the Otters shot 43.4 percent. In the process, the Tritons’ seven-game streak of holding opponents under 40 percent shooting was snapped.
But that was about the only bad news of the night for UC San Diego, which entered the game receiving votes in the WBCA Coaches Poll and ranked No. 14 in the D2SIDA National Poll.
The score was tight throughout the first half, as consecutive jumpers by Armao put the Tritons ahead, 23-22, with six minutes remaining in the second quarter.
A bucket inside by Williams made it 25-23, but Camille Parker’s three-point play at the other end put the Otters back in front by three, 28-25, with less than two minutes remaining in the first half.
Senior Taylor Tanita’s second 3-pointer of the first half evened the score as the two teams went into halftime tied, 28-28.
Next up, the Tritons head to Hayward to take on Cal State East Bay on Saturday in a rematch of the 2017 CCAA Tournament championship game beginning at 1:30 p.m.