The Tritons dropped seven first half threes to build a 16-point lead and then held off a late Wildcat rally in the second period to sweep the season series with Chico and collect their 12th win in the last 14 games.
UCSD improves to 16-9 overall and 14-4 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play, moving into third place in the conference standings with four games remaining. The Tritons are currently three games behind league-leading Cal Poly Pomona in the loss column and own a one-game cushion over fourth place Cal State San Bernardino.
Chico State falls to 14-8 overall and 11-7 in the CCAA. The Wildcats, who were at the top of the league standings earlier this season, are now sitting in fifth place following their third consecutive defeat.
Chelsea Carlisle finished with 17 points, four rebounds and four assists for UCSD, while Emily Osga recorded her third career double-double with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. She also dished out four assists.
Pauline Ferrall tallied 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench to lead Chico State, while Taylor Lydon scored 10.
UCSD's offense was firing on all cylinders in the first half, as the Tritons converted 15-of-25 field goals and finished 7-for-11 from behind the arc in the period. UCSD trailed by five early, but answered with 10 straight points to grab a 12-7 advantage. Osga and Megan Perry hit back-to-back threes and Erin Grady knocked down a jumper to cap off the stretch.
Grady's three-point play gave the Tritons a 10-point lead at 25-15 with seven minutes remaining in the period and five straight points from Carlisle four minutes later made it 37-21 in favor of UCSD. The Wildcats closed to within 42-30 at the half, outscoring the Tritons 9-5 over the final 2:55.
Chico State pulled to within five at 47-42 following a layup by Jazmine Miller with 14:12 remaining, but Daisy Feder answered with a three and Elaina White scored on a putback to push the lead back to 10. The Tritons would score seven straight to take their biggest lead of the game at 61-44, but just when it looked like they were going to put the game away, the Wildcats put together a huge 14-2 run to pull within 63-58 with 4:21 left to play.
UCSD was able to weather the storm though, limiting Chico to just two points from there on out to pull out the win. The Tritons corralled three big offensive rebounds on one trip and Carlisle and Feder combined to sink eight free throws in the final 1:31.
UCSD cooled off considerably in the second half, shooting just 29%, but Chico wasn't much better, firing at a 34.5% clip after halftime. The Tritons finished at 43% for the game, while the Wildcats shot 37%. UCSD finished 10-of-21 from the three-point line and Chico was just 6-of-18.
The Tritons will now hit the road for four straight to wrap up the 2010-11 regular season, beginning with matchups at Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State L.A. next week. UCSD defeated both squads earlier this season in mid-January.