Win Streak Hits 14 With Clutch Comeback

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL — As the UCSD women’s basketball team continues on its winning streak, the Tritons are quickly establishing themselves as the preeminent contender for the California Collegiate Athletic Association title.

The team defeated San Francisco State by a score of 74-61 on Saturday night, extending its season-long streak to 14 games. Sophomore guard Chelsea Carlisle led the way, scoring a game-high 17 points and dishing five assists. Senior forward Erin Noonan scored a season-high 11 points and senior guard Annette Ilg tacked on 10 points for the Tritons.

The Gators came out fast, shooting well from the field, for an early 14-6 lead after two consecutive three-pointers. However, Triton defenders forced several turnovers that let them back into the game. UCSD took its first lead with 11:22 left in the first half, after Carlisle received a kick-out pass from senior guard Leilani Martin and knocked down a three — despite being fouled in the process. She then converted the free throw into a four-point play.

The give-and-take of the first half was reflected in the score: The teams went into halftime tied at 32.

“Every team is going to have their best game against us, and they are going to be emotionally high,” junior forward Tiffany Hunter said.

This was the first time in four games that the Tritons did not have the lead at halftime. But head coach Charity Elliot said she refused to panic.

“Our mentality every game is to remain poised and calm,” Elliot said. “So even when teams come out and jump out to a lead, we talk about being steady and just doing what we need to do.”

The Tritons came out of the locker room with new found intensity and took the lead with an Erin Noonan bucket at the 17:54 mark — a lead they would not relinquish. San Francisco State, however, tried to stay in the game with tough work on the glass, out-rebounding the Tritons 38-32 and creating nine second-chance points in the second half.

The Gators cut the lead to nine after a three-pointer by Andrea Ohlssen with 5:09 remaining. Ilg answered back with a three of her own, and the Tritons kept a double-digit lead for the remainder of the contest.

The game against CSUSF capped off a four-game home stand in which the Tritons defeated their opposition by an average of 16 points. The win improved the Triton season record to 14 unbeaten, 9-0 in conference play, right on the heels of a close 68-63 win over Cal State Monterey Bay on Thursday Jan 14.

The Tritons survived a furious second-half comeback against the Otters. UCSD took a seemingly comfortable 35-20 lead into halftime, but a feisty CSUMB refused to go away. The Otters poured in seven second-half three-pointers and shot 45 percent from the field, cutting the lead to one point with 2:15 remaining. However, UCSD never surrendered the lead, making all their free throws down the stretch for the win.

The Tritons were paced by sophomore Chelsea Carlisle, who scored a game-high 20 points — including nine of the team’s final 11 points.

The close game against CSUMB followed two routine victories. Head coach Elliott said she was able to see the positives of withstanding the comeback.

“I remind the team daily: It’s a process. And right now, we are still not as good as we need to be,” she said. “It reminds us that we have a lot of work to do.”

The Tritons will take a two-game road trip this week, with a matchup on Thursday at Humboldt State, followed by a game on Saturday at Sonoma State.

Readers can contact Liam Rose at [email protected].

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