Tritons to Host Gators in First Round Game

    WOMEN’S BASKETBALL — Taking care of business on the road,
    the UCSD women’s basketball team clinched a postseason home game by winning its
    last two regular season contests, which earns it the third seed in the
    California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. The Tritons posted a
    74-50 victory over Cal State Monterey Bay on Feb. 28 before finishing off their
    regular season with a 63-47 win over San Francisco State on Feb. 29. The two
    wins push UCSD’s CCAA record to 14-6 and its overall record to 22-8 as the
    Tritons enter the postseason.

    The Tritons and Gators played a contested first period in San
    Francisco
    . The Tritons opened up the scoring with a
    jump shot from senior guard Alexis Mezzetta, who played all 40 minutes of the
    game for UCSD. The Gators started off well, keeping up with scores from junior
    forward Michelle Osier and senior forward Meaghan Noud for the Tritons’ scoring
    to take a 12-8 lead over UCSD with 15:15 left in the half.

    Senior forward Meaghan Noud will play her last home game when No. 16 UCSD hosts San Francisco State in the first-round game of the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament on March 4. (Sanh Luong/Guardian file)

    UCSD took the lead back with a three-pointer from Noud with 11:20 left in the half to give the Tritons a
    16-14 lead. The Tritons used a balanced offensive attack to finish the first
    half strongly and take a lead into halftime. With 54 seconds left in the
    period, senior center Alexis Gaskin converted on a layup to give the Tritons
    the lead at 33-23. San Francisco
    got the last basket of the half to send both teams into the locker room with
    the Tritons nursing a 33-25 lead.

    The Tritons picked up right where they left off in the
    second half, opening the period with three consecutive baskets from sophomore
    forward Erin Noonan, Osier and Gaskin. Staying with their starters for most of
    the game, the Tritons extended their lead to 14 points after a three-point
    basket from Noonan with 14:04 left in
    the half.

    San Francisco State battled back to cut UCSD’s lead to seven
    points with 5:20 left in regulation, but seven points would be the closest the
    Gators would get to the Tritons. The Tritons did not let up late in the second
    half, getting scores from all over the court and taking a 63-47 victory over
    the Gators.

    Only seven Tritons played in the contest with the bench
    logging just 12 minutes. The starters took care of business against the Gators,
    with Osier leading the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Noud came close to a
    double-double with 15 points and eight rebounds, and Noonan added 12 points for
    the Tritons.

    “Rebounding was really the key in this game,” head coach
    Charity Elliott said. “We outrebounded them [51 to 38].”

    These two teams will face off on March 4 at RIMAC Arena for
    the first game of the CCAA Championship Tournament. The Tritons and Gators are
    the No. 3 and No. 8 seeds in the tournament, respectively.

    “It’s very important getting that home game,” Noud said.
    “It’s obviously an advantage getting a break from traveling, but it’s also a
    confidence builder.”

    UCSD’s win over Cal
    State Monterey Bay

    one night earlier helped the Tritons clinch home-court advantage in that first
    postseason game. UCSD took its second lead of the game by a score of 8-7 less
    than two minutes into the contest and never relinquished the lead to the
    Otters.

    The Tritons took a double-digit lead over Cal
    State Monterey Bay

    on a jump shot from Osier with 16:01
    left in the half. UCSD continued to knock down its shots, taking a 20-point
    lead off a jump shot from senior center Diahn Futalan with 8:42 left in the first half. With UCSD in complete control,
    the Tritons took a 46-27 lead over the Otters into halftime.

    Down by 19 points, Cal
    State Monterey Bay

    came out in the second half with a sense of urgency. The Otters began slowly
    chipping away at the Tritons’ lead, cutting it to 46-55 with 7:05 left in regulation. But UCSD did not let
    the Otters get any closer, as the Tritons scored 13 unanswered points to put
    the game out of the Otters’ reach.

    “I’m really proud of our team,” Noud said. “It’s not easy
    going on the road and winning two games. It’s something that we’ve struggled
    with all season.”

    The Tritons will begin their postseason against San
    Francisco
    State
    on
    March 4 at home for their first game of the CCAA Championship Tournament.

    San Francisco State
    is a dangerous and athletic team — they play hard,” Elliott said. “We need to
    focus on rebounding and taking care of the ball and we’ll be in good shape.”

    If the Tritons win that contest, they will head to San
    Bernardino
    , where the semifinals and championship game
    will be held on March 7 and March 8.

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