Aztecs Fall to CSU in 65-63 Nail-Biter

McKynzie Fort logged her third career double-double with 22 points and 16 rebounds on Wednesday vs. Colorado State.
Jan. 3, 2018

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SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego State women's basketball team experienced a heartbreaking 65-63 loss to Colorado State on Wednesday in a Mountain West game at Steve Fisher Court. The Rams' Grace Colaivalu hit a layup with two seconds left to provide the margin of victory after the Aztecs overcame a four-point deficit at the 1:07 mark to tie the score with nine seconds to go.

Colaivalu notched a season-best 29 points on 12 of 20 field-goal attempts, outdueling SDSU star McKynzie Fort, who logged her third career double-double with 22 points (8-14 FGs, 6-8 FTs) and a personal-best 16 rebounds to go with a game-high seven assists.

The Aztecs (7-7, 1-2 MW) also received double-digit scoring totals from Geena Gomez (14 pts) and Najé Murray (12 pts), but it wasn't enough, as CSU (10-4, 2-1 MW) shot 83.3 percent from the floor in the fourth quarter (10-12), highlighted by a trio of three-point baskets by Hannah Tvrdy, to escape with the win and send the Scarlet and Black to its second straight narrow defeat.

The Rams connected on 27 of 60 shots from the floor (27-60), compared to SDSU's 36.5 percent clip (23-63), with each side draining seven treys each. Despite trailing in rebounds 41-33, including a 13-6 spread on the offensive glass, CSU also maintained a 38-28 advantage on points in the paint.

The Aztecs opened up a 47-41 lead with 9:44 left in the fourth quarter following a Murray layup. However, the Rams got back into contention thanks in large part to Tvrdy, who scored 11 of her 16 points over the next 4:45, including her third triple of the period with just under five minutes left to cap a 15-5 run that put the visitors in front by a 56-52 count.

Gomez kept the Scarlet and Black close with two treys of her own, the latter of which knotted the score at 59-59 with 2:55 remaining. However, CSU reclaimed a four-point bulge at 63-59 after baskets by Colaivalu on consecutive possessions.

In closing minute, Fort converted an old-fashioned three-point play and later sank one of two free throws, which evened the contest once again at 63-63 with nine seconds on the clock. Following a Ram timeout, Coleivalu soon hit the go-ahead shot with a kiss off the glass from the right side of the lane, while Sofie Trygedsson blocked the Aztecs' last-chance three-point attempt at the buzzer.

In a game that witnessed timely runs by both teams, SDSU stumbled out the gates in the first quarter, falling behind 13-5 following an and-one opportunity by Colaivalu at the 5:36 mark of the period.

The Aztecs quickly regrouped, fashioning an impressive 24-3 blitz over the next eight minutes and change, punctuated by a Cheyenne Greenhouse jumper with 6:23 to go in the second quarter that put the host school in front 29-16. Murray scored eight points during that stretch, while Gomez added five points of her own.

However, the lead gradually evaporated as CSU crafted a 14-4 spurt to crawl back into contention. SDSU was held scoreless over the last three minutes of the half after a pair of Fort free throws. Nathalie Linden followed with a reverse layup, while Colaivalu tallied consecutive baskets, including a runner with two seconds left, which gave the contest its 33-30 score at intermission.

The Aztecs reclaimed a 10-point cushion at 40-30 after a Lexy Thorderson triple at the 7:20 mark of the third quarter, but the Rams kept things close with another Colaivalu three-point play and a Stine Austgulen layup to highlight an 11-5 run, which set the stage for a frantic final period.

Following an open date this weekend, San Diego State will return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 10, when it travels to the Bay Area to face San José State. Game time is set for 7 p.m. PT.

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