LA JOLLA, Calif. -
Junior guard Chelsea Carlilse led four players in double figures as the UC San Diego women's basketball team posted a resounding 90-55 triumph over Western New Mexico on the first day of the UCSD Thanksgiving Classic on Friday evening at RIMAC Arena.
Playing at home for the first time this season, the Tritons (1-5) shot a blistering 61% in the first half and never looked back, earning their first victory with ease. Carlisle scored a game-high 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while Lauren Freidenberg and Daisy Feder finished with 11 points apiece and Elaina White chipped in with 10.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak to open the season for UCSD and marked the program's largest margin of victory since the Tritons dismantled the University of Alaska, 87-41 last December.
"It was so nice to be back at home," head coach Charity Elliott said. "You could just feel the energy, feel the excitement having our crowd here. The familiar surroundings were great."
Carlisle finished with three rebounds and a season-high seven assists to go with her second-straight 21-point effort, while Freidenberg converted 4-of-6 shots from the field and grabbed four rebounds in just 19 minutes. Feder was 4-of-7 from the floor and White reached double figures for the first time as a Triton, finishing 4-of-7 overall and 2-for-4 from the three-point line.
Amanda Tucker scored 16 first half points to pace the Mustangs (0-2), finishing 6-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from behind the arc. Jaleesa Russell finished with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting and hauled down a game-high eight rebounds.
UCSD was on fire from the opening tip, converting 20-of-33 shots in the first period. The Tritons were nearly as impressive in the second, dropping 14-of-24 shots, 58%, and went on to wrap up the game at a blazing 59%, a season-high.
UCSD forced 15 first half turnovers, leading to 24 points, and outscored WNMU 24-9 in the paint.
The Tritons took a 10-5 advantage on White's first three of the game a little more than three minutes in and led 26-12 following a layup by Emily Osga and a Feder jumper five minutes later. Tucker sank back-to-back threes as the Mustangs scored eight straight to cut the deficit to six (26-20), but it was all UCSD after that, as the Tritons closed the half on a 28-7 run to take a 54-27 lead into the locker room.
Carlisle scored 10 of her points during the stretch, helping UCSD effectively put the game out of reach. The Tritons didn't let up in the second, extending their advantage to as many as 40 points at 88-48 with 3:31 remaining.
After starting the season 0-5, Elliott made some adjustments to her starting lineup, electing to go with a pair of freshmen in White and Nicole Anderson-Jew and the move paid off.
"Any time you start off shaky, you want to stir the pot a little bit and that's kind of what I wanted to do," Elliott said. "We're still trying to figure things out, but I was really pleased tonight."
UCSD will now take on Notre Dame de Namur on the final day of the Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday. Tipoff is slated for approximately 7:00 p.m. at RIMAC Arena.
Cal State San Bernardino defeated NDNU 59-54 in the first game of the day.