First Quarter Shooting Sinks Falcons In Regional Quarters
Julia Haining finished with eight points and five rebounds in the losing effort. Photo courtesy of Azusa Pacufuc University.
Julia Haining finished with eight points and five rebounds in the losing effort. Photo courtesy of Azusa Pacufuc University.

Friday, March 9, 2018

AZUSA, Calif. – A first-quarter shooting slump proved the difference for Seattle Pacific Friday as the No. 6 seeded Falcons fell to No. 3 seed UC San Diego, 64-51, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball West Regional at the Felix Event Center.

Senior guard Rachel Shim led the Falcons in her final game with 14 points. She was the only SPU to finish in double-figure scoring as the Falcons finished shooting 30.8 percent from the field and 18.8 percent from three-point range. Julia Haining finished with eight points to go with five rebounds.

Kayla Sato led UC San Diego with a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds, which included an 8 for 14 effort from the free throw line. Taylor Tanita added 10 points.

Seattle Pacific ends its season with a 23-8 overall record. UC San Diego improves to 28-4 and will face the winner of the second quarterfinal game of the day between Montana State Billings and Hawaii Pacific.

Offensive production was hard to come by for the Falcons in the first quarter as they missed their first four shots of the game and went 3 for 19 over the first 10 minutes. The Tritons capitalized to go up 9-2 on Soto’s jumper halfway through the period and built to their 16-7 lead at the end of the quarter on an offensive putback by Dalayna Sampton.

The shooting woes continued in the second as UCSD kept the heat on. Sato gave the Tritons their first double-digit lead, 21-11, on a free throw at the 4:47 mark and extended it a 27-11 halftime lead with two more free throws with 2:19 left in the stanza. The Falcons closed the half on a 5-0 run with Shim connecting on a three-pointer at the buzzer to come within 27-17 at the half.

Seattle Pacific started to find its shooting touch early in the third quarter. The Falcons scored the first five points of the half, cutting the UCSD lead to 27-22 with Shim’s first three-pointer of the half. The Tritons took the points right back on their next two possessions, but the Falcons came back to within three 36-33, on Haining’s lay-in with 2:34 left before a five-point surge by Marcella Hughes gave UCSD the 41-33 advantage at the end of the period.

The Falcons continued to press offensively entering the fourth, but the first quarter hole proved too much to overcome. Tanita put the Tritons back up 10 points with her lay-in at the 6:10 mark, but a short 6-2 run brought SPU within 51-45 with Shim’s jumper 4:11 to go. Mikayla Williams put the game away when her two free throws put the Tritons back up 10, 57-47, with 1:24 to go.