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#AztecWBB Drops Tough One to CSU, 64-61

Cierra Warren logged her first double-double in an Aztec uniform on Thursday vs. Colorado State.
Cierra Warren logged her first double-double in an Aztec uniform on Thursday vs. Colorado State.

Jan. 2, 2014

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SAN DIEGO - Senior Cierra Warren (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) posted her first double-double in an Aztec uniform with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman Ariell Bostick (Oakland, Calif.) recorded career-highs of 16 points and eight boards of her own, but it wasn't enough as the San Diego State women's basketball team suffered a disappointing 64-61 loss to Colorado State in the 2014 Mountain West opener for both squads Thursday at Viejas Arena.

The Aztecs (3-8, 0-1 MW) also received a double-digit scoring performance from senior Danesha Long (Long Beach, Calif.) who finished with 12 points and five rebounds, while junior Khristina Hunter (Fairfield, Calif.) added seven points and seven caroms. However, the opposition cooked up the right recipe for success against SDSU for the second straight outing, timely three-point shooting and an opportunistic defense. The Rams (9-3, 1-0 MW) connected on 10 of 29 attempts from beyond the arc and outscored their hosts 22-10 on points off turnovers.

Despite maintaining a 48-32 advantage in rebounds and a 32-14 spread on points in the paint, the Aztecs also suffered from inconsistency at the free-throw line, draining just 12 of 23 foul shots, while CSU went 16-for-25 at the charity stripe, including a 12-for-16 clip in the final 7:16 to help secure the win.

The Rams were paced by Caitlin Duffy's game-high 20 points, highlighted by a clutch 5-for-7 effort from three-point territory, while Sam Martin, Gritt Ryder and Alicia Nichols finished with eight points each.

CSU led by as many as 11 points in the first half as a triple by Nichols provided the visitors a 19-8 cushion at the 11:30 mark. SDSU gradually chipped away at the deficit, pulling to within two at 27-25 following a Warren jumper and a free throw by Long with 17 seconds remaining. However, the Aztec momentum was tempered somewhat by Hayley Thompson's jumper from the left baseline as time expired, giving the contest its 29-25 score at intermission.

Stung, SDSU flashed its resolve in the second half, fashioning a 16-8 run over a span of 7:38 to take a 41-37 lead by the 12:22 mark. Bostick scored 10 points during that stretch, including a pair of triples, while Warren got free inside with two layups. However, the Rams regained the upper hand moments later, 46-43, when Duffy drained three straight treys during a 9-2 spurt.

The two sides traded four baskets over the next four minutes before the game turned into a free-throw shooting contest with 7:51 left. After the Aztecs out-pointed CSU on foul shots, 5-2, during a 35-second span, Warren converted a layup to give the Scarlet and Black its last lead of the night, 54-52, with 6:16 to go. However, SDSU picked an inopportune time to go cold, missing five straight shots and committing a pair of turnovers during the next 4:21, while the Rams nailed 5-of-6 free throws to take a 57-54 lead with 2:05 on the clock.

Bostick's layup on the ensuing possession ended the Aztecs' scoring drought, narrowing the gap to 57-56 with 1:51 to go. However, Ryder promptly sank two foul shots and found the bottom of the net on a layup after two huge offensive rebounds, giving the Rams an insurmountable 61-56 advantage with just 33 seconds remaining.

SDSU returns to the hardwood on Wednesday, Jan. 8, when it travels to Boise State for a MW showdown beginning at 7 p.m. MT/6 p.m. PT.