Junior guard Annette Ilg
hit a spinning 17-footer from inside the key at the final buzzer, lifting third-seeded UC San Diego to a 66-65 victory over CCAA rival and No. 6 seed Cal State Dominguez Hills in the first round of the NCAA Division II West Regional at Seattle Pacific’s Royal Brougham Pavilion. Chelsea Carlisle
scored a game-high 17 points, while Ilg finished with 15 to lead the Tritons past the Toros for the third time this season.
UCSD improved to 27-4 on the year, turning back a late Dominguez rally in the final minutes. The Tritons advance to face No. 2 seed Alaska-Anchorage in the regional semifinals Saturday at 5:00 p.m. UAA defeated No. 7 Northwest Nazarene 64-54 in the second first round matchup of the day.
After winning the program's first CCAA Tournament Championship since 1995, the Toros’ season comes to an end at 21-10.
“Both teams played their hearts out today,” head coach Charity Elliott
said. “Annette hit an incredible shot to cap off an incredible finish. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but we found a way to win and we beat a very, very good Dominguez Hills team. We get to play tomorrow and that’s all you can ask for.”
UCSD led 64-57 with 2:44 remaining before CSUDH scored eight unanswered points and took a 65-64 lead on a three-pointer by Whitney Gantt with 57 seconds to play.
Carlisle missed a three on the Tritons’ next possession and the Toros ran the shot clock all the way down before Neka Mixon missed a jumper. Alexis Gaskin
secured the rebound with nine seconds left, giving UCSD one final shot.
Ilg got the ball at half court and drove just inside the arc. With three defenders surrounding her, she spun to her left and swished the jumper as the horn the sounded, delivering the victory for the Tritons.
“I couldn’t be happier for Annette hitting that shot,” Elliott said. “She has worked so hard this season and she had two very good games against Dominguez earlier in the year, so it was a very fitting ending.”
Ilg, who averaged 17.5 points and 3.5 assists against the Toros during the regular season, scored 10 of her 15 points in the first half, helping UCSD build a 36-29 lead.
Dominguez led by as many as five points midway through the first half and held a 23-19 advantage before UCSD scored 10 straight points to take a 29-23 advantage. Gaskin started the run with a jumper in the paint and ended with a pair of free throws with 4:14 remaining in the period.
The Toros closed to within 31-27 on a jumper by Mixon, but Kristen Cabral
made the front end of two free throws, Erin Noonan
hit a jumper, and Lauren Freidenberg
scored on a tip-in to give UCSD its largest lead of the game, 36-27.
The Tritons led 38-29 less than two minutes into the second half, before a 14-4 Dominguez surge gave the Toros a 43-42 edge with 14:52 left to play.
The lead then changed hands five times before the Tritons used a 13-6 spurt to take the 64-57 advantage on two free throws from Noonan. Ashley Johnson followed with a jumper to ignite the Toro rally and UCSD would not score again until Ilg’s game-winner.
Carlisle hit 6-of-14 shots from the field, including 3-of-8 from the three-point line to lead all scorers. Ilg hit 4-of-11 shots and 6-of-8 at the free throw line.
Gaskin finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for the Tritons, while 2008-09 Daktronics West Regional Player of the Year Michelle Osier
finished with 10 points, seven boards, and three steals.
Ennisha Kyles scored 17 points to pace Dominguez, while Mixon added 14.
UCSD shot just 34.5% (19-55) for the game, while CSUDH finished at a 43.1% clip (25-58). The Tritons were +14 at the free throw line, however, converting 24-of-33 attempts.