LA JOLLA, Calif. -
With an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament at stake, the No. 2-seeded UC San Diego women's basketball team began the conference tournament on Tuesday at RIMAC Arena and pulled out a 55-46 victory over seventh-seeded Cal State San Bernardino to advance to the semfinals.
The Tritons improve to 20-10 overall and will play No. 3-seeded Cal State Monterey Bay (19-7) in a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championship Tournament semifinal on Friday at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif. The game is set to tip off at 2:30 p.m. UCSD split its series with the Otters this year, losing on the road, 57-48, on Jan. 18 before defeating CSUMB, 56-44, at home on Feb. 23.
Senior guard Daisy Feder, the CCAA's Most Valuable Player, led all scorers with a double-double of 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. The Santa Monica native also had three assists and a steal. Junior forward Erin Dautremont contributed 12 points, six rebounds and an assist, while senior guard Emily Osga finished with 10 points, five rebounds and a steal.
Freshman guard/forward Adriana Brodie paced the Coyotes with her 14 points, eight rebounds, one block and a steal. Helping Brodie out were junior guard/forward Trinidee Trice, who had 12 points, eight rebounds, a game-high two blocks and a steal, and senior guard Eliza Dy, who ended with 10 points, seven rebounds, a game-high four assists and two steals.
A superior second half from the field proved to be the difference in the Tritons' victory. For the game, UCSD went 21-for-54 (38.9%), including a quality 12-for-26 (46.2%) effort in the second half from the paint. The Coyotes made 19 of 64 (29.7%) field-goal attempts over the 40 minutes, including a lackluster 9-for-36 (25%) performance in the final frame in the field.
UCSD was at the wrong end of a 22-20 score to begin the second half. But just 1:04 into the closing half, Feder hit a jumper to tie the game, 22-22. On the next possession, sophomore forward McKennan Bertsch made a layup to put the Tritons ahead, 24-22, with 18:29 left in the game to extend the eventual 11-0 run spanning both halves. Dautremont capped the run with a layup at the 16:28 mark to bring the Tritons to a six-point, 28-22 lead.
The Tritons started to pull away from CSUSB five minutes later, going on an 8-0 run, which lasted more than two minutes. A pair of free throws from Feder concluded the run with 8:36 to go in the game to put the Tritons up, 42-28.
Feder's next free throw, as part of a three-point play with 6:25 to spare in the contest, not only gave the Tritons their largest lead of the game, a 17-point, 47-30 cushion, but also put the game completely out of reach for the Coyotes.
UCSD had to fight hard for its points in the first half as the Coyotes guarded the paint well and prevented the Tritons from attempting a single free throw.
With the Tritons up by a point, 8-7, with 14:35 remaining in the first half, Brodie began a 6-0 CSUSB run upon making a go-ahead layup to give the Coyotes a 9-8 lead. Another layup by Brodie capped the run with 12:27 to go in the opening 20 minutes, bringing the Coyotes to a 13-8 advantage.
After Dy's jumper at the 9:28 mark grew the Coyotes' lead to eight, 18-10, the Tritons embarked on a 7-0 run, concluding with Osga's three-pointer with 6:31 before the intermission to cut the deficit to a point, 18-17.
The Tritons trailed, 22-17, with 2:38 prior to the halftime buzzer. However, Feder drilled a trey at the 2:20 mark to pull UCSD within a field goal, 22-20, and shifted the game's momentum towards the Tritons. Feder's three-pointer marked the start of an 11-0 run spanning both halves.
With the loss, the Coyotes finish the season with an overall record of 13-14.
Cal State Monterey Bay earned its spot in Friday's semifinal by defeating sixth-seeded Cal Poly Pomona, 73-59, in Seaside Tuesday.
Playing in Friday's first semifinal at noon will be top-seeded Chico State (23-4) and No. 4 seed Cal State L.A. (20-10) The tournament championship game will take place Saturday in Ontario at 5:30 p.m. The winner earns an automatic spot in the NCAA Regional.
-- UCSDtritons.com --