LA JOLLA, Calif. - Entering the game, the UC San Diego Tritons knew it wouldn’t be easy against a defensive-minded team. To counter, they played some tough-D of their own.
Despite a sub-par night from Leora Juster, the region’s top player, UCSD still managed to pull away from Alaska Anchorage, 66-51, in a semifinal game of the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball West Regional Championship at RIMAC Arena on the campus of UC San Diego.
With the win, No. 1 UC San Diego advances to the championship game versus No. 2 Chico State Monday at 7 p.m. Chico State, attempting to make its second consecutive Elite Eight appearance, defeated Seattle Pacific, 75-60, earlier on Saturday.
Juster, who didn’t scored her second field goal until the second half, finished with 11 points – tied for her second lowest point total of the season. Hillary Hansen and Michelle Osier led the way for UCSD with 18 and 13 points, respectively. Hansen also had a game-high 12 rebounds while Alexis Gaskin chipped in eight points.
UAA’s Rebecca Kielpinski, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s player of the year, was held to just eight points and 11 rebounds. Jayci Stone led Alaska Anchorage with 20 points and seven rebounds. The Seawolves shot 29.8 percent for the game and committed 21 turnovers.
UC San Diego led by as many as 31 points on an Osier free throw with 8:15 left to play that gave the Tritons a 55-24 advantage. UAA managed to cut that deficit in half against the Tritons reserve players in the final minutes.
Alaska Anchorage got off to a poor starting, making just one of its first 10 field goal attempts with the first bucket coming almost five minutes into the game. By the time the first half was over, UAA was 5-for-25 from the field. Hansen scored 13 of UCSD’s 35 first half points while teammate Osier turned in eight points.
The winner of the regional will advance to the Division II Women's Basketball Elite Eight, set for March 21-24 in Kearney, Nebraska. The West Region champion will face the winner of the East Region.