Los Angeles, California - The UC San Diego women's basketball team clinched a spot in next week's California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Tournament with a 68-61 victory against Cal State L.A. Friday at The Eagle's Nest.
The win, UCSD's fifth straight, moved the team to 16-9 overall and 13-8 in the CCAA. With one regular season game remaining, the Tritons have secured their spot in the league's six-team tourney, which will be held March 6-8 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif.
It was the fourth consecutive loss for CSULA, which fell to 15-10 overall and 12-9 in the CCAA.
Megan Perry paced UCSD with 20 points and six assists, both game-highs. All six of Perry's field goals came from beyond the three-point arc. Miranda Seto finished with 11 points, while McKennan Bertsch and Erin Dautremont each contributed 10 points and a team-best eight rebounds.
The Golden Eagles got 13 points out of Paige Melville and 12 from Alisha Belt. Destinee La Fountain put away nine points with a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Tritons took the lead for good with 15:54 left in the first half. After a Dautremont jumper tied it up at 7-7, a pair of free throws by Bertsch put UCSD up 9-7 and it would not trail again. The Tritons extended their lead to 12-7 when Seto canned a three-pointer two minutes later.
A trey by Cassie MacLeod with just under four minutes left in the opening half gave UCSD a 12-point lead at 33-21, the team's largest advantage of the game. However, the Golden Eagles finished the frame on an 8-2 run, making the score 35-29 at the break.
Back-to-back jumpers by Melville and Belt opened the second half, getting Cal State L.A. back within two points at 35-33. With UCSD leading 48-45 with 13:39 left, the Tritons went on an 8-0 run, backed by two three-pointers from Perry, to take a commanding 56-45 advantage.
CSULA would get no closer than five the rest of the way. A jumper by Kaija Powell with 11 seconds remaining in the game made the score 66-61, but two free throws by Seto closed out the night.
The Tritons out-rebounded the Golden Eagles 45 to 30, including 20 to 12 on the offensive glass. CSULA out-shot UCSD 41 percent to 37 percent.
UCSD plays at Cal State Dominguez Hills (16-9, 12-9 CCAA) Saturday at 5:30 p.m. to wrap up the regular season. The Toros hosted Cal State San Bernardino Friday and lost by a score of 75-60.