Photo by: Andy Wilhelm
Senior Dalayna Sampton scored a game-high 23 points with 10 rebounds on her birthday to lift the Tritons to a win over Sonoma State.

Tritons Explode in Fourth Quarter to Defeat Sonoma State, 90-78

UCSD

LA JOLLA, Calif. — Senior forward Dalayna Sampton scored a game-high 23 points with 10 rebounds and three steals on her birthday, as the University of California San Diego women’s basketball team pulled away late to defeat Sonoma State, 90-78, Saturday night at RIMAC Arena.

Sophomore forward Mikayla Williams recorded 17 points with seven rebounds, senior guard Taylor Tanita finished with eight points and 10 assists and junior guard Kayla Sato scored 14 of her 16 points in key moments during the second half.

Saturday was UC San Diego’s highest-scoring output since Jan. 7, 2016, as the Tritons have now won 13 of their last 14 games overall and have a 3.5-game lead over Cal Poly Pomona and Humboldt State in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) standings.

UC San Diego (17-3, 13-1 CCAA) trailed by one entering the fourth quarter, but outscored the Seawolves 28-15 in the final period to win its 21st-consecutive game against Sonoma State (8-11, 5-10 CCAA). The last time the Tritons lost to the Seawolves was Jan. 4, 2008.

“I think we just needed to take our defense more personally,” said sophomore guard Sydney Sharp, who scored a career-high 14 points off the bench on 5-of-7 shooting. “We have to take an internal approach and have a mentality that no one is going to drive by us.”

Sonoma State led 63-62 heading into the fourth quarter. Then Sato took over. The junior made a driving layup, a three-pointer and a mid-range jumper to put the Tritons ahead by four, 69-65, with 7:48 to go.

A three-pointer by Tanita pushed UC San Diego’s lead to 74-67 with 6:50 left to play, but the Seawolves wouldn’t go down easily. A floater in the lane by Jessica Mitz followed by Jerrica Crosby’s baseline jumper cut UC San Diego’s lead to 76-73 with 3:39 remaining.

However, Williams’ offensive rebound and bucket followed by a Sampton basket inside made it 80-73 with 2:52 left. Moments later, Tanita’s long pass ahead in transition to Williams for an easy two made it 84-75 with 1:35 to go.

Both teams came out hot to begin the game, as UC San Diego knocked down 7-of-10 three-point attempts in the first half and Sonoma State made 6-of-9. The Tritons shot a season-high 55.6 percent for the game, while Sonoma State shot 50 percent.

Sharp made 4-of-5 three-point attempts in the first half and led the Tritons with 12 points before intermission. Her final three-pointer of the half came from the right corner as the buzzer sounded to give UC San Diego a 47-44 lead after a back-and-forth first half.

The Tritons hit the road next weekend for a rematch against Sonoma State on Friday, Feb. 2, before taking on San Francisco State on Feb. 3.

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