Photo by: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios
The Tritons held the Seawolves to just 33% shooting and kept the home team off the scoreboard for nearly 10 minutes during a decisive stretch in the second half to earn the hard-fought road victory.
UCSD improves to 11-9 overall and 9-4 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play, responding after suffering a pair of tough home losses last week. The Tritons have won nine of their last 12 overall, including their last five on the road.
UCSD sweeps the season series with Sonoma State (6-11, 4-9 CCAA) after taking the first meeting in La Jolla on December 30. The Tritons have now won their last eight matchups with the Seawolves overall.
Chelsea Carlisle and Emily Osga did most of the scoring for UCSD, finishing with 19 points apiece to account for 38 of the Tritons' 58 points. Carlisle was 6-of-13 from the field, while Osga finished 6-for-12. Both players grabbed nine rebounds and both sank three triples in the game.
Aly Henington scored 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting to lead the Seawolves, while Taylor Vigil finished with 10 points and five assists. Aly Conway scored nine points and brought down a game-high 15 boards.
While UCSD boasts the top offense in the CCAA, it was the defense that stole the show on Thursday, as the Tritons put the clamps down late in the second half and never looked back.
Trailing 43-41 with 11:13 remaining, UCSD proceeded to hold SSU without a point for the next 9:49 to take over. The Tritons scored 11 straight during that time, with Osga accounting for eight of their points, including a big three that put UCSD up 52-43 with 4:22 left to play.
The home team refused to roll over, however, as Henington hit a three and Conway scored on an offensive rebound to cut the deficit to 54-48 with 45 seconds left. Carlisle missed the front end of a one-and-one to leave the door open and Roxanne Rentschler followed with another three to bring the Seawolves to within 54-51, but Osga sank a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left to seal it for the Tritons.
UCSD shot 39% for the game and held a narrow 38-36 edge on the glass. The Tritons had a great night at the free throw line, sinking 15-of-17, while the Seawolves were just 3-of-5.
The Triton defense, which ranked 11th in the conference entering Thursday's game, has been much improved lately, holding five of the last nine opponents to 55 points or less. UCSD opponents are now scoring an average of 67.3 points per game on the season.
UCSD raced out to a 16-6 lead with 12 and a half minutes left in the first half, but SSU rallied to take a 22-20 advantage with 5:25 left in the period. Five points from Erin Grady in the final four minutes would help the Tritons reclaim a 29-24 halftime lead.
UCSD led 38-30 four minutes into the second half, before Sonoma used a 13-3 run to grab a two-point lead with just over 11 minutes remaining.
The Tritons will now travel to Arcata for a showdown with Humboldt State on Saturday evening. UCSD has lost the last three meetings with the Lumberjacks, including a 92-88 double overtime decision in the first meeting of the year in December.