Tritons swept within the double header in opposition to CSU Bakersfield, whereas the six-game skid continues

A bad half, a good half, and two losses. This is a quick recap of the UC San Diego women’s basketball team’s games against California State University in Bakersfield last week. In a home double header, the Tritons were swept away by roadrunners 62-38 and 69-66. The Tritons drop to 2 through 7 overall and in the Great West, extending their losing streak to six games.

The first game was a train wreck for UCSD, but it didn’t start that way. After the Tritons were tucked into a hole early in the first quarter, they were able to climb back and keep the game taut. At halftime, UCSD was within striking distance, just two points behind with 25-23. In the second half, the wheels fell off. The Tritons were surpassed 22-6 in the third and 15-9 in the fourth. Without free throws, UCSD would only have scored once in the entire fourth quarter.

The second game started much better for the Tritons as they got off to a hot start and scored 43 points in the first half, beating the overall performance of their last game in just two quarters. The Tritons shot 56.3 percent off the field and were 7 against 12 at the 3-point line. They went into halftime with a comfortable 43:29 lead topped off by a ridiculous three-quarter summer beater from junior guard Brianna Claros. At this point, it seemed like the Tritons had turned a corner, like they’d wiped out memories of the previous game and were on their way to a relaxing win. But Bakersfield put up monster numbers in the third quarter, posting 27 points on UCSD’s 12. Once again, the tritons were beaten by double-digit numbers out of half. By the fourth the score was a draw, 56-56. Four changes in leadership and eight and a half minutes later, the score was still even, 66-66. The final minutes of the game would be goalless until the Roadrunners hit a three in just 2 seconds. A Hail Mary three-pointer from the Tritons on Buzzer missed, sealing the Tritons’ second loss of the week at 69-66.

The entire team fought in the first matchup without players breaking 10 points. Senior Guard Tyla Turner, the team’s most reliable scorer, was limited to just 7 points and an effective field goal percentage of 16.7 percent (eFG%), but she was still the Tritons’ top scorer in the game. Turner recovered in the second game with 18 points and an eFG share of 77.3 percent. In the meantime, Emily Cangelosi, Junior Guard at Redshirt, has cemented her role as the team’s starter. Cangelosi was on the pitch for over 30 minutes in both games, with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists for the week.

Despite the disappointing loss, there was some good news for the Tritons. Junior guard Julia Macabuhay, who was CCAA’s Most Valuable Player last year and was named All-American Division II by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, made her debut in 2021, recording her first significant minutes of play since last season. The top scorer of the Tritons (2019-2020) scored an average of 8 minutes per game in the two games, a total of 16 points, 2 assists and an effective field goal share of 55 percent.

Macabuhay faded in and out during the games and played a more rotating role in the line-up. This could be head coach Heidi Vanderveer, who is slowly training her back after she has not been on the field for so long. During the season we saw an increase in Macabuhay usage. But we are just as likely to see the opposite. Macabuhay is an exceptional player who will continue to make an important contribution to the team for at least another year. If her injury flares up, Macabuhay may be closed for the remainder of the shortened season to avoid further damage and risk her status for the next year.

The Tritons are on their way next week, but they are staying in Southern California. You compete against UC Riverside (7–7, 5–5 Big West) in a brace.

Photo courtesy of UC San Diego Athletics

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