LA JOLLA, Calif. -- In front of its home crowd, No. 1-seed UC San Diego opened its postseason campaign with a decisive 84-66 victory against No. 8-seed Chico State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Tritons, who improve to 29-2 on the year, advance to play No. 4-seed Western Washington (22-7) on Saturday. The Wildcats finish their season with an 18-12 record overall.

“We're just excited and glad to get this one under our belt,” head coach Charity Elliott said. “We knew Chico would come out and battle as they always do. What I loved tonight was our energy, our intensity on both sides of the floor. I'm real excited to play again [Saturday].”

Senior guard Daisy Feder had a night to remember, scoring 24 points while grabbing eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. In just 15 minutes of play, freshman guard Annie Ward led the Wildcats with 13 points.

“We were really hungry coming off last week's loss,” Feder said. “I just wanted to be aggressive and my teammates set me up really well.”

Coming off a 47-28 halftime lead, the Tritons played a more aggressive Wildcats team than the one they faced in the first half. While CSUC made its free throws, it failed to do much else. In the meantime, the Tritons answered their heightened intensity with a 13-0 run, lasting nearly three minutes.

“After last week's loss, we were pretty upset and angry and the coaches weren't happy either,” junior guard Emily Osga said. “Practice was not too fun this week but we got our work done and coaches were after us and they were how they were at the beginning of the year where we got down to business.”

The Tritons led by as many as 27 when Feder hit a jumper to give UCSD a 68-41 lead with 9:46 remaining. CSUC's deficit got no smaller than 17 when junior forward Samantha Messersmith hit a 3-pointer to make the score 78-61 with 3:48 left in regulation.

The Tritons dominated the Wildcats in the early minutes of the first half, getting out to a 10-1 lead in under three minutes. Just 10 seconds into the game, Feder's layup got the Tritons on the board and was quickly followed by another layup from senior center Lauren Freidenberg.

CSUC cut the Tritons' lead to seven on a few occasions. The last instance occurred when freshman guard Annie Ward drilled a 3-pointer with 6:27 left in the half. For the rest of the half however, it was all Tritons, who doubled their lead to 14 with a 7-0 run capped off by Carlisle's 3-pointer at the 5:00 mark.

“I think they're going to represent the conference well in the next game against Western Washington,” Wildcats head coach Brian Fogel said. “Tonight we ran into a buzzsaw. We got off to a slow start. We kind of just dug ourselves into too deep of a hole, but I could not be more proud of our group. I felt we competed all through the course of the game as we did all season long.”

UCSD led by as many as 20 points at 46-26 when Feder successfully converted a three-point play at the free-throw line with 1:18 left in the half. Carlisle and Feder led all scorers in the half with 14 and 13 points, respectively. As a team, seven Tritons contributed points and scored 14 points off of turnovers.

Elliott believes their past playing history against WWU will benefit the Tritons during Saturday's game.

“We faced Western very, very, very early this year and we've played them enough times in the past to have an idea of their system and the coaches did get to see them tonight,” Elliott said. “These kids are such great, quick learners and they listen and they are able to really process and apply the things that we want to do and we'll be ready.”