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#AztecWBB Holds Off Colorado State, 48-44

Chelsea Hopkins helped key the Aztecs' win over CSU with 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Chelsea Hopkins helped key the Aztecs' win over CSU with 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Jan. 13, 2013

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. - San Diego State seniors Chelsea Hopkins (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Gabrielle Clark (Los Angeles, Calif,) tied for game-high honors with 13 points apiece, and the Aztec women's basketball team held on for a 48-44 victory over Colorado State Sunday in a Mountain West clash at Moby Arena.

SDSU jumped out to a big 17-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game, but had to survive some anxious moments in the second half to raise its record to 10-5 on the year and 1-1 in conference play. The Aztecs shot just 32 percent for the contest (19-59) and 23 percent (7-30) after intermission, but a splendid defensive effort and some clutch baskets down the stretch successfully kept the Rams (4-10, 0-1 MW) at bay.

SDSU won the turnover battle (17-10) and outscored CSU 16-0 off those miscues despite sinking just 7 of 17 free-throw attempts, compared to the Rams' 12-for-15 clip at the line.

In addition to her point production, Hopkins finished with game highs of eight rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Clark connected on 6 of 13 field-goals to tie her career-best scoring output. The Aztecs also received seven rebounds from sophomore Erimma Amarikwa (Vacaville, Calif.), while fellow classmate Khristina Hunter (Fairfield, Calif.) came up with three steals of her own.

Conversely, Caitlin Duffy was the lone CSU player to reach double figures, collecting 10 points on the strength of a 7-for-8 effort at the foul line, while Meghan Heimstra and Hayley Thompson notched eight apiece in the loss. As a team, the Rams were just 6-of-22 from the floor in the first half, finishing 14-for-42 (33 percent) for the afternoon.

SDSU kept the host school off the scoreboard through the first 9:39 of the first half, as senior Courtney Clements (Long Beach, Calif.) nailed a 3-pointer, while freshman Aleiah Brandon (Corona, Calif.) and Amarikwa converted layups to stake the visitors to a 17-0 advantage. CSU finally broke the ice with seven straight points to pull within 10, following an old-fashioned three-point play by Kara Spotton with 9:08 remaining. Moments later, Clark responded with two straight baskets, including a trey, to give the Aztecs a 22-7 cushion at the 7:15 mark. Then with the half winding down, sophomore Kiyana Stamps (Moreno Valley, Calif.) dialed up from beyond the arc, while Hunter drained a free throw to provide the Aztecs a seemingly comfortable 30-16 lead into the locker room.

However, the Rams took advantage of SDSU's shooting woes following the break, employing a 17-7 run capped by Alicia Nichols' 3-pointer, to trim the deficit to 37-33 with 8:32 left on the clock. Hopkins soon connected on two free throws, while Stamps came up with a key steal and drove in for a layup to increase the Aztec lead to 41-33 with 6:01 remaining. The two teams exchanged baskets on the ensuing possessions, as Clark sank a critical jumper from the left wing after gathering a loose ball with the shot clock about to expire.

Yet CSU kept within striking distance thanks to Duffy, who tallied seven points during a 9-4 spurt that narrowed the gap to 47-44 with 49 seconds to go. SDSU turned the ball over on its next foray down the court, but a Duffy layup was off the mark and Hopkins quickly grabbed the rebound before getting fouled. The Aztec guard missed the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity, but Amarikwa alertly corralled the offensive board and promptly sank one of two free throws with four ticks on the clock to secure the hard-fought win.

SDSU returns to the hardwood on Wednesday, Jan. 16, when it squares off against UNLV in Las Vegas, starting at 7 p.m. PT.