March 10, 2012
LA JOLLA, Calif. -
Center Britt Harris (Jr., Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck) scored a career-high 23 points, but it wasn't enough as Western Washington University could not overcome a big first-half deficit and was defeated by UC San Diego, 81-66, in a West Regional semifinal of the NCAA Division II National Tournament at RIMAC Arena on the UCSD campus.
The Vikings, the No.4 seed in the region, ended their season at 22-8.
UC San Diego, the No.4 team nationally in NCAA II and the top seed in the West Region, improved to 30-2. Guard Chelsea Carlisle, the West Region Player of the Year, had 20 points and seven assists for the Tritons, and center Lauren Freidenburg added 14 points, 12 in the first half, and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Vikings led only once at 5-4 a little over two minutes into the game. UCSD then ran off eight straight points, and quickly extended the margin to 23-9 with 11:42 left in the first half.
The Tritons held a 50-27 lead at halftime, scoring16 points off 13 WWU turnovers.
The Vikings battled back in the second half, holding UCSD to 31.8 percent (7-of-22) shooting from the floor. WWU pulled within 11, 77-66, on a layin by Erika Ramstead (Jr., Everson/Nooksack Valley) with 2:32 to go, but didn't score again.
"We can be proud of this team," said WWU coach Carmen Dolfo, whose squad returned just one starter from last season. "To consider where we started and how we finished, we're proud of how we improved and what we accomplished."
Harris was 11-of-13 from the field and had a team-high eight rebounds.
Kristin Schramm (Chelan), WWU's lone senior, completed her collegiate career with 21 points, hitting five three-pointers.
"Kristin did a great job of being a leader this season," said Dolfo. "She stepped up in so many ways and her growth through the season was very impressive."
Guard Daisy Feder had 19 points for the Tritons. UCSD meets Alaska Anchorage on Monday in the regional championship game, with the winner earning a berth in the NCAA II Elite Eight at San Antonio, Texas.