It took two overtime periods, but the third-ranked women’s basketball team emerged victorious once again, earning a hard-fought 97-91 win over a scrappy and determined Chico State squad on Saturday evening at Acker Gymnasium.
Emily Osga and Erin Dautremont scored 23 points apiece to lead the Tritons, who erased an eight-point second half deficit and eventually pulled away for their 14th consecutive victory. UCSD outscored Chico State 15-9 in the second OT, hitting five of their six shots in the period.
After rolling to an 83-61 triumph at Cal State Stanislaus on Friday, the Tritons had to work much harder to get past the Wildcats, but they made the plays they needed to down the stretch to keep their perfect record intact. UCSD improves to 14-0 overall with the win, equaling the two-year old program record for consecutive victories to open a season. The Tritons now stand at 8-0 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play.
Chico State falls to 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the CCAA with the loss. The Wildcats had won four of their last six games before falling to UCSD.
“That was an unbelievable effort from our group tonight,” head coach Charity Elliott said. “We simply refused to lose tonight. We were down and we weren’t shooting very well from the perimeter, but we kept battling and we found a way to win against a very good Chico team. I’m so proud of this team for how hard they played.”
All five starters reached double figures for the Tritons, who shot 49 percent (39-79) from the field. Osga finished 11-of-16 from the floor en route to a new season-high, while Dautremont connected on 10-of-17 and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
Daisy Feder scored 18 points, including 11 in overtime, while Chelsea Carlisle finished with 14 points and dished out a season-high 10 assists. Lauren Freidenberg chipped in with 14 points and six boards.
Synchro Bull scored a career-high 29 points on 13-of-23 shooting to lead the Wildcats, who finished at 47 percent (36-76) from the field. Natasha Smith scored 12, McKenzie Dalthrop finished with 11 and Courtney Hamilton and Jazmine Miller put in 10 apiece.
UCSD, which had trailed in the second half of a game just once this season prior to Saturday, found itself down 60-52 with 8:51 remaining in the second half, but rallied to within 62-60 on a bucket by Osga two minutes later.
The Wildcats led 68-62 with 4:02 left to play, but a Feder layup and two free throws from Freidenberg brought the Tritons to within two once again. After Bull scored in the paint to put Chico on top 70-66 with 2:40 remaining, Dautremont scored on a nice feed from Feder to bring the Tritons to within 70-68.
After forcing a Wildcat turnover and coming up empty on their next possession, Carlisle came up with a huge steal and took it down for an easy basket to tie the game at 70 and send it to overtime.
Neither squad led by more than three in the first overtime period. UCSD led 82-80 with five seconds remaining following another big bucket by Carlisle, but Dalthorp was able to answer for Chico State, scoring the tying basket with one second on the clock to force a second overtime period.
It was all UCSD after that as the Tritons scored nine of the first 11 points in the second OT. Dautremont scored back-to-back baskets to open the scoring, Feder hit a three and Freidenberg got free in the paint to stake UCSD to 91-84 lead with 2:06 remaining.
The Wildcats cut the deficit to five at 94-89 following a Harrison three with 13 seconds remaining, but it was too little, too late, as Carlisle followed with two free throws to put the Tritons back on top by seven and seal the victory.
Despite shooting just 3-of-17 from the three-point line, UCSD’s offense still managed to score a season-high 97 points on the night, eclipsing the team’s previous mark of 92 that came in a rout of Cal State L.A. on Dec. 3.
UCSD will now come home for four straight beginning with matchups with Cal State East Bay and Cal State Monterey Bay next weekend. The Tritons will take on the Pioneers on Friday, before welcoming the Otters to town on Saturday. Both contests will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. at RIMAC Arena.
– UCSD sports information office press release issued Jan. 7, 2012.