"We were not in a great rhythm offensively and maybe a step slow defensively in the first half," said Tritons head coach Heidi VanDerveer. "After halftime, we showed a tremendous amount of character and effort and poise and really ground it out for a very solid road win."
The Tritons improve to 11-8 overall and 9-3 in games against California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) opponents. UCSD will begin the final stretch of its road trip on Friday at Cal State Dominguez Hills (6-10, 5-7 CCAA) in a game set to go off at 5:30 p.m.
Junior forward Erin Dautremont led all scorers with 16 points to go along with eight rebounds and two steals. Senior guard Daisy Feder scored 12 points and had six rebounds and a game-high four assists while sophomore forward McKennan Bertsch contributed 10 points, four rebounds and an assist.
SSU was led by sophomore guard/forward Travis Newman, who put up 11 points, a share of the team-high five rebounds and one assist. Senior center Elizabeth Day had 10 points and five rebounds.
The Tritons not only took control of the game in the second half, they dominated it, outscoring the Seawolves, 40-16, in the closing 20 minutes. For the game, UCSD shot better from the field and at the line, going 21-for-51 (41.2%) from the paint and 17-for-19 (89.5%) from the line while the Seawolves made 16 of 50 (32.0%) in the paint and seven of 12 (58.3%) at the line. SSU did however perform better from three-point range and went 6-for-20 (30.0%) in that category compared to the Tritons, who turned in a 3-for-16 (18.8%) effort.
In addition, UCSD made 13 of 24 (54.2%) in the second half from the field, improving its field-goal shooting by 24.6 percent in the second half while SSU's shooting in the paint plummeted 21.5 percent in the same frame.
With the possibility of a Seawolves upset looming at the start of the second half, UCSD made the necessary adjustments and broke from its scoring slumber with an incredible 9-0 run to open the closing frame.
Tied 29-29 with 16:42 remaining in the game, Feder made both her free throws and capped off the run to give the Tritons their first lead, 31-29, since the middle of the first half.
Though a jumper by freshman center Hannah Sourek tied the game, 31-31, at the 16:23 mark, Feder answered with a trey to bring the Tritons to a 34-31 lead.
The contest remained relatively close during for the next six minutes. Up 41-39 with 10:32 to go in the game, the Tritons started to run away from the Seawolves with an 8-0 run, highlighted by the fact that all eight points were scored at the free-throw line on successful trips from sophomore guard Miranda Seto, Dautremont, Bertsch and junior guard Megan Perry.
"Down the stretch, Miranda controlled the tempo of the game for us and Megan Perry had some outstanding plays both offensively and defensively that really sealed the deal," VanDerveer said.
Bertsch both began and concluded a 7-0 run on layups in the final minutes of the game. The first occurred at the 2:25 mark and made the score, 57-45, while the second layup represented the final basket of the contest and gave UCSD a 17-point, 62-45 advantage, its largest lead of the game with 44 seconds to spare in regulation.
The Tritons appeared to be in control of the game early on, especially from a defensive standpoint as UCSD held SSU scoreless for the first four minutes of the contest. But a three-pointer by Newman with 11:59 to go in the half gave the Seawolves their first lead, 10-8.
After Seto evened the score with a layup at the 11:43 mark, 10-10, the Seawolves kicked off a 7-0 run on junior guard/forward Kristina Fahey's layup with 11:24 remaining in the half and ended the run with sophomore guard/forward Bronte Sheahan's pair of free throws at the 8:58 reading.
Feder trimmed the deficit to two points, 19-17, on a jumper with 5:27 before halftime. However, SSU then expanded its lead to as high as nine when Day hit a jumper to give the Seawolves a 28-19 lead at the 58-second mark.
A trey by Feder with 39 seconds left brought the Tritons within six points, 28-22, but Newman tacked on one more with a free throw just 10 seconds prior to the buzzer and pushed the Seawolves to a seven-point, 29-22 lead.
The Seawolves (5-11, 3-9 CCAA) will travel to Pioneer Gym to face Cal State East Bay (6-9, 4-7 CCAA) on Friday at 5:30 p.m.