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
. 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

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
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
, where the semifinals and championship game
will be held on March 7 and March 8.