CHICO, Calif. - Finishing its final road game of the regular season with the label of conference leader on the line, the UC San Diego women's basketball team rallied to defeat No. 11 Chico State, 67-65, on Saturday at Acker Gym to win its ninth straight game.
The Tritons improve to 17-8 overall and 15-3 in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) contests. In addition, the Tritons move into first place atop the CCAA. UCSD hosts fourth-place Cal State East Bay (13-9, 11-7 CCAA) on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
"It was an excellent win in an extremely competitive environment," said UCSD head coach Heidi VanDerveer. "Down the stretch, we made some tremendous plays and got some big stops."
For the fifth time this season, junior forward Erin Dautremont claimed a double-double with her 14 points and game-high 11 rebounds to go along with two assists.
Senior guard Emily Osga also scored 14 points, finishing with a 5-for-9 effort from the field, and had six rebounds, three assists and a steal. Sophomore guard Miranda Seto put up 11 points in addition to seven rebounds, a game-high five assists, one block and three steals. Junior guard Megan Perry ended with 10 points and an assist.
"Miranda really set the table," commented VanDerveer. "She was aggressive from the get-go and created shots for herself and others."
CSUC was led by senior guard/forward Monni Davidson-Mays with her game-high 16 points, two rebounds, two assists, one block and a steal. Junior guard Jazmine Miller contributed 11 points, a team-high nine rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Despite making one fewer basket from the paint than the Wildcats, who converted 26, the Tritons won the three-pointer count, 7-5, and the free throw tally, 10-8. UCSD was outshot from the field, going 25-for-63 (39.7%) from the paint for the game compared to the Wildcats, who concluded the game with a 26-for-61 (42.6%) performance. However, UCSD owned a clear advantage over the Wildcats in second-chance points, winning that battle, 17-8.
Trailing by a point at the start of the second half, 31-30, the Tritons took the lead at the 12:59 mark when Dautremont drained a jumper to give UCSD a slim 44-43 advantage. This marked the first of seven lead changes in the second half.
Down 65-61 with 3:43 to play in the game, sophomore center Dana Webster hit a jumper to cut the Wildcats' lead in half, 65-63. At the 2:00 reading, Osga's jumper found the bottom of the net to tie the game for the seventh time at 65-65.
With only 1:19 remaining in regulation and the score still tied, Osga was fouled and went to the free throw line. While there, Osga sank both of her attempts to put the Tritons up by two, 67-65, to cap off the Tritons' game-ending 6-0 run.
The second half proved to be a tug-o-war for the lead, but the first half also proved to be a foreshadow of what was to come in the closing frame.
With a trey separating the teams, 26-23, at the 3:45 mark of the first half, senior guard Daisy Feder nailed a three-pointer to tie the score for the fourth time in the opening 20 minutes at 26-26. But the lead remained with the Wildcats when sophomore point guard Hannah Womack made a layup with 2:58 left before halftime, putting CSUC ahead, 28-26.
Down by a three-pointer with 22 seconds left before the intermission, Dautremont hit a jumper to trim the Tritons' deficit to a point, 31-30, which they took into halftime.
"We continue to get better every day and this win was a big step in that improvement process," said VanDerveer.
The Wildcats, who drop to second place in the conference, fall to 19-3 overall and 15-3 against CCAA teams. CSUC plays host to 10th-place Cal State Dominguez Hills (7-15, 6-12 CCAA) on Friday in a game set for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off.
-- UCSDtritons.com --