Energized by a vocal crowd of 1,049, the Tritons turned in a spirited defensive effort to hand the league-leading Otters their second defeat of the season.
UCSD improves to 14-9 overall and 12-4 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play with the win and climbs to within two games of first-place CSUMB. The Tritons have won four straight and 10 of their last 12 to stay in the hunt for a third consecutive CCAA regular season crown.
Cal State Monterey Bay, which won its first 16 games before falling to Cal Poly Pomona on January 28, drops to 18-2 on the season and 14-2 in conference play. The Broncos took over the top spot in the CCAA standings at 14-1 after defeating Cal State Dominguez Hills on Saturday.
Chelsea Carlisle led three players in double figures for UCSD, finishing with 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. She was just 3-for-11 from the field, but got to the free throw line 12 times, converting seven.
Daisy Feder scored 13 points off the bench, while Emily Osga recorded her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 boards to go with two assists and a two steals. Lauren Freidenberg scored eight points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Triton defense was the real story, as UCSD held CSUMB to just 28% shooting for the game -- the lowest mark by a Triton opponent this season. The Otters finished with just 17 field goals on 60 attempts and converted 8-of-30 from the three-point line, 27%.
LaShawn Johnson led all scorers with 16 points for Monterey Bay, but it took her 21 shots to get that total and Michelle Santizo finished with 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
The Otters entered the game averaging just under 64 points per game on 41% shooting.
UCSD jumped out to an early 18-7 lead 10 and a half minutes into the opening period as CSUMB missed 16 of its first 19 shots to start the game. Osga and Feder hit back-to-back threes and Feder followed with a layup to highlight the stretch.
The Tritons extended their lead to as many as 16 in the first half at 25-9, before the Otters scored nine straight to pull within seven. UCSD led by nine at the half, 31-22.
UCSD scored the first four points of the second half to take a 35-22 lead, but Monterey Bay answered with another run, scoring 10 of the next 11 to pull within four at 36-32 with 13:50 left to play.
The Tritons punched right back though, as Feder hit a pair of free throws and Erin Grady drained a big three to put UCSD back up by nine with less than 12 minutes remaining
The Otters would make one more push, closing to within six at 53-47 on a Johnson triple with 3:41 remaining, but that was as close as they would get as the Tritons hit five free throws in the final 1:31 to seal the victory.
UCSD shot just under 40% for the game and connected on 6-of-13 shots from downtown, 46%. The Tritons were also plus-eight at the free throw line.
The Tritons will look to keep rolling next week when Cal State Stanislaus and Chico State come to town in their final two home games of the regular season.