LOS ANGELES - With an opportunity to strengthen its standing in the conference, the UC San Diego women's basketball team prevailed at Eagles Nest against Cal State L.A. on the heels of senior guard Emily Osga's career-high 28 points to win, 68-58, on Saturday.
"We came out with a lot of energy and focus and got off to a great start both offensively and defensively," said UCSD head coach Heidi VanDerveer. "It was another 40 minutes of solid basketball."
The Tritons climb to 13-8 overall and 11-3 against California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) foes while holding onto second place in the conference standings. UCSD will return home on Friday to host 10th-place Humboldt State (9-11, 4-9 CCAA) in a contest slated for a start time of 5:30 p.m.
Osga also had a share of the game-high seven rebounds, a game-high five assists and a steal. She also had help from senior guard Daisy Feder, who had 13 points and matched Osga with seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Miranda Seto scored 11 points and had two rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Senior guard Tessondra Williams, the reigning CCAA Player of the Week, and freshman guard Chiara DiMarco led the Golden Eagles with 15 points each. Williams also was credited with a share of the game-high seven rebounds, one assist and a game-high three steals while DiMarco had three rebounds and a steal.
For the game, UCSD went 23-for-52 (44.2%) from the paint, 10-for-23 (43.5%) from three-point range and 12-for-20 (60%) at the free-throw line. The Tritons shot better from both the field and the arc than the Golden Eagles, who went 24-for-61 (39.3%) and 7-for-24 (29.2%) from those respective areas. At the line, CSULA made three of four (75%) attempts. However, the Tritons scored four times as many second-chance points than the Golden Eagles, 16-4, en route to their victory.
Ahead with an 11-point, 32-21 lead going into the second half, junior forward Erin Dautremont needed only seven seconds to put up a jumper and add to the Tritons' tally. Osga followed suit with a pair of free throws at the 19:18 mark to give UCSD a 15-point lead of 36-21.
The Tritons maintained a comfortable lead throughout the second half and never let it fall into the single-digit range. During the middle of the closing half, the longest stretch of points the Golden Eagles could score was five, when Williams' trey and junior guard Alisha Belt's succeeding layup turned the Tritons 43-27 lead to a 43-32 advantage. Belt's layup occurred with 13:53 to go in the game.
But after senior guard Alyssa Hanson trimmed the lead to 10 on a layup, 50-40, at the 7:45 reading, the Tritons went on an 8-0 run. Seto spearheaded the run with a layup with 5:58 to go, and Osga finished it off with a trey at the 4:30 mark to put UCSD up by 18 points, 58-40.
UCSD's lead grew as high as 20 when a layup by Feder made the score, 62-42, with 3:17 left in the game. Seven seconds later on the very next possession though, senior guard Kelli Lewis kicked off a 7-0 run for CSULA, which was concluded on another layup by freshman guard Kaija Powell with only 59 seconds to spare.
Junior guard Kim Manlangit contributed UCSD's final four points in the game on free throws. The last of those four put the Tritons up by a score of 68-55 with 11 seconds left in the game.
Though the Tritons had considerable runs in the second half of the contest, both teams had double-digit runs in the opening 20 minutes.
With a score of 6-5 and 15:10 to go in the first half, Seto hit a three-pointer to give the Tritons a 9-5 lead while kicking off a 15-0 run for UCSD.
"Miranda got us going by pushing and getting different people involved," VanDerveer said. "When she's aggressive, which she was, she really sets the table for our shooters."
In all, the Tritons made five consecutive treys in a span of just under three minutes. Osga capped the run, 21-5, at the 12:14 mark of the first half.
Desperate to end their drought, the Golden Eagles emerged from their scoring woes and answered the Tritons with a 12-0 run of their own. Williams, who scored five of the points in the run, closed the book on the run on a layup with 6:32 remaining in the first half and trimmed the Tritons' lead to only four points, 21-17.
Seto prevented the lead from getting any smaller by making two free throws at the 6:03 mark to begin an 11-0 scoring drive. Osga highlighted to run by scoring seven straight UCSD points across all three shooting categories. Feder finalized the run with a jumper with 3:35 to spare in the opening half, giving the Tritons a 32-17 advantage.
Williams and senior forward Richelle Najera attempted to shift the momentum back to the Golden Eagles by scoring four unanswered points off of jumpers before halftime. Najera's jumper occurred at the 41-second mark and brought CSULA within 11 points of UCSD, 32-21, where the Golden Eagles remained at the halftime buzzer.
The fourth-place Golden Eagles (14-7, 9-5 CCAA) will spend a weekend on the road, beginning their road trip at third-place Cal State Monterey Bay (13-3, 10-3 CCAA) on Friday in a game scheduled to tip off at 5:30 p.m.
-- UCSDtritons.com --