SEASIDE, Calif. - The UC San Diego women's basketball team began its six-game road trip in rough fashion on Friday, losing to the Otters of Cal State Monterey Bay, 57-48, at The Kelp Bed to snap a three-game winning streak.
"We had a very tough game against a very good Monterey team. Defensively, they were very aggressive," said Tritons head coach Heidi VanDerveer. "I thought we battled, but down the stretch, we needed a couple of stops that we didn't get. We also needed to be a little more aggressive offensively."
The Tritons drop to 8-8 overall and 6-3 against California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) teams. UCSD will travel to Pioneer Gym to take on Cal State East Bay (5-7, 3-5 CCAA) on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Senior guard Daisy Feder led all scorers with 13 points. The Santa Monica native also had five rebounds, contributed three assists and matched her career-high of four steals.
Junior forward Erin Dautremont stacked the stats with her third double-double on the season. Dautremont scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with one assist, two steals and a block.
The Otters were led by sophomore guard Nikki Beckman with her 12 points. Beckman also had a rebound, two assists and a steal. Senior forwards Gabby Munsch and Brittani Jefferson both had 10 points and one steal. Munsch also had eight rebounds and an assist while Jefferson had six rebounds.
UCSD shot a season-low 25.8 percent from the field in the first half, going 8-for-31 in that frame while making 17 of 55 (30.9%) for the game. In comparison, the Otters went 10-for-26 (38.5%) in the first half and 21-for-52 (40.4%) in the contest. Additionally, the Tritons were outscored by the Otters in bench points, 17-8, and second-chance points, 14-7. However, the Tritons outrebounded the Otters, 43-33, in the game.
Down by a free throw going into the second half, 23-22, sophomore forward McKennan Bertsch tied the game with just that, 23-23, only 33 seconds into the closing half. However, a layup by Munsch 14 seconds later gave the Otters the lead again, 25-23.
The game remained a one-possession affair for most of the first eight minutes of the second half. But after sophomore center Dana Webster drilled a jumper at the 12:13 mark to trim the Tritons' deficit to two points, 36-34, Jefferson commenced a 6-0 Otters run to quadruple the CSUMB lead. Jefferson's jumper with 10:03 left in regulation concluded the run, giving the Otters a 42-34 advantage.
CSUMB led by as many as 10 points, 46-36, when Beckman made a jumper with 7:43 remaining in the game. This preceded a span in which UCSD scored four unanswered points on account of a tip-in by Dautremont and a pair of free throws from Feder. The latter points changed the score to 48-42 with 4:46 to go in the contest.
Another free throw by Feder brought the Tritons within six points, 50-44, at the 2:47 reading to keep the game within reach. However, Beckman unexpectedly scored seven of her 12 points in the final 1:34 in the game, nullifying layups by Dautremont and Feder with 30 seconds and three seconds before the final buzzer, respectively.
Beckman's final pair of free throws with three seconds remaining were not only the final two points in the game but also gave her the team-high in that category.
The opening half was not the kindest one the Tritons have experienced this season, which saw UCSD shoot its lowest first-half shooting percentage this season while also tying the season-low in points scored during the first half.
Despite a pair of ties in the first five minutes of the game, the Tritons' first 20 minutes were highlighted by a 7-0 scoring drive, which temporarily gave UCSD the lead. Down 17-15 at the 4:53 mark, sophomore guard Miranda Seto drilled a three-pointer to cap off the run and give the Tritons an 18-17 lead.
In just 27 seconds though, Jefferson's layup returned the lead, 19-18, to the Otters.
UCSD did prove undaunted though in the closing minutes, turning a five-point, 23-18 CSUMB lead into a one-point game. Dautremont hit a jumper with 1:26 to go before halftime, making the score, 23-20. With just 46 seconds prior to the intermission, Feder's pair of free throws trimmed the lead to only a point, 23-22, where the score stayed for the rest of the half.
Despite the loss, both VanDerveer and her team remain optimistic about what the future holds this season.
"Overall, I was proud of our effort," VanDerveer said. "We have a quick turnaround and we're looking forward to getting back on the winning track tomorrow."
The Otters (8-3, 5-3 CCAA) will finish their homestand against Cal State San Bernardino (6-7, 4-5 CCAA) on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
-- UCSDtritons.com --