W. Hoops Stumbles Against Fresno State, 59-51

Feb. 4, 2017

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SAN DIEGO -

Despite playing solid defense for the final three quarters, it wasn't enough for San Diego State women's basketball, who dropped its fourth-straight Mountain West game to Fresno State, 59-51, at Viejas Arena Saturday afternoon.

Fresno State improves to 6-5 against conference opponents and 13-9 overall. The Aztecs, meanwhile, lose their fourth straight, dropping to 3-7 in MW play and they are now 8-13 on the year.

"We need to finish the rest of the season like we finished the last six minutes of this game," head coach Stacie Terry said. "We have to have the same `want to' to defend, the same intensity on the offensive side. We need to finish the rest of the season with that mentality."

For the 13th game this season, junior McKynzie Fort was SDSU's top point-getter with 14 points to go alongside three rebounds and assists each. Classmate Khalia Lark grabbed a team-high five boards, recording eight points.

The game, SDSU's Girls and Women in Sport Day, opened with Fresno State dominating the early clock. They shut out the Aztecs, 7-0, for the opening 3:56, and went on to win the period, 22-17.   

In the second quarter, San Diego State returned to the court with renewed vigor. The Aztecs opened the frame by out-scoring the Bulldogs, 10-4, and took its first lead of the game at 6:20. Baylee Vanderdoes went in for the left-handed layup and the ball careened off the rim. But Ariell Bostick corralled the rebound and laid it in for the 27-25 SDSU advantage.

Fresno State, though, closed out the frame by embarking on an 8-2 run for the 34-29 lead at the half, and a 12-12 second-quarter tie.

The second half saw SDSU tighten up its defensive play. The team, which had been out-rebounded, 23-11, and out-scored, 34-29, in the opening 20 minutes, was, in the second half, only edged by one board, 19-18, and three points, 25-22.

In the third quarter, Fresno State opened the period by getting a pair of layups in the first 1:08, then, save for a pair of free throws, didn't get another point until 3:09. In that time, San Diego State scored seven unanswered points to bring the game within two points. However, the Bulldogs paced the Aztecs, 5-1, for a 45-39 lead after 30 minutes of play. In the quarter, Fresno State held a narrow 11-10 advantage.

In the fourth quarter, both teams combined to score just three field goals in the first 7:40 of the frame.

In front of 2,142 fans, the Aztecs weren't ready to go down without a fight and at 2:20, Fort picked up the rebound of a missed Bulldog three and went all the way, floating in the ball to cut the deficit to seven points at 52-45.

Fresno State answered with a pair of two-point field goals, but Kymberly Ellison stopped the Bulldogs at 43 seconds with a long three from the near side, cutting the score to 56-48. With just 12 ticks on the clock, she drilled a second three to cut the margin to six points. But it wasn't enough, as Fresno State added a pair of late free throws for the final 59-51 score.

In the contest, the Bulldogs won the battle on the glass, 42-29, led by reigning MW Defensive Player of the Year Bego Faz Davalos's 19 rebounds. Fresno State also scored more points in the paint, 30-24, and more second-chance points, 14-6. SDSU held the advantage on points off turnovers, 8-4, fast break points, 8-0, and bench points, 14-3.

 San Diego State showed improved ball-sharing, getting 11 assists, its most in four games. The Bulldogs posted eight assists. SDSU had its second-straight game with fewer than 10 turnovers, committing just seven to Fresno State's 12 turnovers. Lexy Thorderson grabbed all three off San Diego State's steals, while the Bulldogs had five steals.

San Diego State stays at home for the second straight game when it welcomes San José State to Viejas Arena on Weds., Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m.

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