Cougars fall in NCAA tournament

Despite a strong first half, the APU women’s basketball team was unable to overcome a strong second-half attack from UC San Diego (UCSD) in the West Region semifinals, losing 87-77 at the Felix Event Center.

The Cougars came out of the locker room hot, hitting 11 shots in the first quarter to build a 27-15 lead. It looked like the Cougars were going to overwhelm the Tritons, but UCSD reduced the deficit to just eight points before halftime, 38-30.

The Tritons came out of the halftime break firing on all cylinders. The Tritons shot 55 percent from the field, hitting six of nine three-pointers and scoring 35 points in the quarter. With 6:32 left in the third, a three-pointer from Triton junior Taylor Tanita put her team up 43-42, and the team maintained its lead for the rest of the game.

Triton senior forward Farrah Shokoor scored 12 of her game-high 25 points in the quarter. The offensive onslaught from UCSD turned an eight-point Cougar lead into a nine-point lead for Triton, which led 65-56 after three.

However, the senior-dominated team of Cougars did what they could in the fourth to mount a comeback. They pressed and pressured their opponent, but ultimately could not get to the Tritons, who had their own group of talented seniors leading the way.

Shokoor and CCAA Player of the Year, senior Jamie Katuna, scored a combined 18 points in the fourth quarter to keep the Cougars at bay.

The pair finished with 25 and 22 points respectively. Shokoor also added 10 rebounds and five steals.