On Friday, Feb. 3, the Tritons faced Cal State Los Angeles — the second ranked CCAA conference squad.
With 2,296 people in attendance, UCSD sought its 21st season win at Spirit Night.
The 13-5 Golden Eagles shot out to an early lead as 6’0” senior forward Lacy Ramon overpowered the Tritons’ sophomore forward Erin Dautremont to score eight of Cal State Los Angeles’ first 10 points.
Trailing 10-5 with Triton senior shooting guard Daisy Feder 1-for-5 in just the first five minutes of play, UCSD head coach Charity Elliott called for the timeout, replacing Feder with freshman shooting guard Natalie Luzar.
The change proved crucial as Luzar drew a charge from Ramon in the next possession and then hit a three-pointer to get the Triton offense going.
Down 24-19 with five minutes remaining, the game had yet to fall into tempo. The well-conditioned Tritons executed their typical run-and-gun offense while the Golden Eagles kept pace the entire half by cutting deep into their bench, fielding 12 players out of their 14-man roster.
With the first period coming to a close, Elliott put her starting line-up back on the court. UCSD went on a 7-2 run, with Feder sinking a three-pointer to put the Tritons up before the half.
“That first half was about as poor as we could play and shoot the ball offensively, and I’m just so proud that we stuck with our defense and the shots started coming in the second half,” Elliot said.
In the second half, the Tritons adjusted their game by attacking inside, instead of relying on their perimeter play.
Compared to the 22 three-point attempts in the first half, UCSD chanced just six in the second half, sinking two buckets.
At the same time, the Tritons were more prudent with their possessions, putting away 17 of their 27 field goal attempts for an impressive 63.0 percent from the field.
Outscoring the Golden Eagles 35-49 in the second half, strong play from Dautremont made a huge impact on the match down the stretch.
Dautremont — who had a difficult time matching up against the heavier Ramon and went without a bucket in the first half — finished the game with 12 points.
The Triton forward came out aggressive in the paint, attacking Ramon to get to the free-throw line on three occasions, while also nabbing five rebounds and two crucial steals.
From there, the Tritons ran away with the game, with senior forward Lauren Freidenberg finishing with a double-double, 17 points on 10 rebounds.
Junior guard Emily Osga recorded eight points to go along with eight rebounds and a team leading five assists.
Senior guard Chelsea Carlisle also contributed 16 points.
When asked about how the Tritons manufactured a 15-point lead coming out of the half up by just one, Carlisle said UCSD was just determined to get the win.
“It’s always what we do,” Carlisle said. “That’s just what this team’s about. We shot terribly, we’re never going to shoot like this again, but we fought and we knew that we’re resilient and we knew that we were going to win.”
On Saturday, the Tritons took another 15-point win, beating Cal State Dominguez Hills 77-52.
Unlike the day before, the Tritons had no problem taking the lead. In the first half, off of 14-29 shooting, the Tritons ended the first half with a 21-point lead.
The 3-20 Toros never put up much of a resistance, as all of UCSD’s bench saw significant minutes.
Osga led UCSD with 19 points, while Feder went 4-for-4 from behind the arc to chip in 14 points.
With six games still remaining in CCAA play, the Tritons are the only team in the conference to have secured a post-season conference berth.
UCSD will continue its homestead this weekend.
On Friday, Feb. 10, the Tritons will face off against middle of the pack Chico State and on Saturday, Feb. 11, UCSD will host bottom of the conference Cal State Stanislaus.