LA JOLLA, Calif. - Michelle Osier had 22 points and 18 rebounds to lead the UC San Diego Tritons to a 80-63 win over Chico State to win the West Region Championship Monday night at RIMAC Arena on the campus of UC San Diego.
With the win, UC San Diego (26-4) earns its first trip to the Division II Women’s Basketball Elite Eight, set for March 21-24 in Kearney, Neb. The national quarterfinal game will be against Glenville State (33-2), the winner of the East Region.
Meaghan Noud came off the bench to pour in 19 points and tournament’s most outstanding player Leora Juster also netted 19 points and dished off 10 assists. Hillary Hansen contributed with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Amber Simmons, who missed her first six shots and did not score her first points until late in the first half, finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead Chico State (24-5).
Despite a poor first half, where they shot just 27 percent from the field and trailed 36-25 at the break, Chico State mounted a comeback with a 14-4 run to start the second half. Melissa Richardson’s three-pointer at 15:49 brought the Wildcats back within one at 40-39. UCSD would respond with its own 14-4 spurt to build a 54-43 lead with nine minutes remaining.
After the Tritons extend the lead to 12 points with a Hansen basket three minutes later, the Wildcats would again rally to cut the deficit to five when Audriana Spencer capped a 9-2 run with a lay-up with 4:02 on the clock. UCSD would not let Chico State get any closer as the Tritons turned in nine unanswered points to go ahead 73-59 inside the two-minute mark en route to the win.
UC San Diego scored the game’s first 12 points and had a 12-0 lead less than five minutes into the game. Chico State made just one of its first 11 field goal attempts. The Tritons led by as many as 19 points.
Juster became the fifth player in CCAA history to reach 2,000 points in a career with a pair of free throws at the 8:55 mark in the first half.
The match-up was the first All-CCAA West Regional championship game – and the first between two schools from the same conference -- since 1989 when Cal Poly Pomona defeated Cal State Northridge, 83-82 in overtime.