Cougars reach semifinals, fall to rival UCSD 70-63

Krystina Andrade

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The CSUSM women’s basketball team wrapped-up their season after losing, 70-63, to undefeated UC San Diego (29-0) in the semifinal game of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) tournament.

 

The Cougars finished fourth in the CCAA with a 14-8 conference record and 18-10 overall. This was the best record in the school’s history since their transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II competition in 2015.

 

This year’s roster is the first women’s team to compete in the CCAA tournament in the program’s history.

 

After already falling to UCSD on a buzzer-beater (54-52) after their first meeting of the season and a double overtime loss in the second game (68-67), the Cougars dropped another nail-biter. The Triton’s margin of victory in the three games was only by a total of 10 points. UCSD is currently ranked second in the nation.

 

The Cougars finished ninth in the final West Region rankings, one spot away from qualifying for the NCAA tournament.

 

This second round matchup against UCSD featured several CSUSM notable stand-outs. The Cougars were led offensively by sophomore guard, Akayla Hackson, who had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists. Junior forward, Jon’Nae Vermillion, ended the game with 12 points, 10 boards and shot 6-of-11 from the field.

 

Junior guard, Stephanie Custodio, played a total of 36 minutes and dished four assists. Junior guard, Davina Del Castillo, contributed by grabbing 10 rebounds. The Cougars tallied nine second-chance points, 11 points off turnovers and outscored UCSD 13-0 in bench points.

 

UCSD was lead by senior guard, Kayla Sato, with 27 points and 10 rebounds, followed by junior forward, Mikayla Williams, who had 21 points and eight rebounds.

 

Vermillion lead the team in scoring with 368 total points and 228 rebounds on the year. Sophomore forward, Emma Forel, came in second with 359 points and 216 rebounds. Custodio lead the Cougars in assists with 103 and played the most minutes, 903.

 

CSUSM graduating seniors Baylee Olsen and Cheyenne Ertz leave the program, while the rest of the team prepares for next season.

 

Check out csusmcougars.com and follow the team’s progress throughout the off-season to stay up-to-date on schedules, statistics, features and much more!

 

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