Strong Defense Leads W. Hoops to 66-59 Win Over Utah State
Feb. 15, 2017
SAN DIEGO -
San Diego State women’s basketball took the lead in its Mountain West contest against Utah State just 16 seconds in and never looked back, topping the Aggies, 66-59, on Wednesday evening at Steve Fisher Court in Viejas Arena.
“This win instills in us a lot of confidence,” junior Geena Gomez said. “It tells us that as long as we play together, we can do whatever we want. Our mindset coming in to the game was to play together defensively. We’re a good defensive team when we want to be so we wanted to focus on that, and we played good defense tonight.”
The loss snapped a six-game skid for the Aztecs and their record in now 4-9 against conference foes with a 9-15 mark overall. Utah State drops to 6-8 in MW play with a 13-12 mark this season.
McKynzie Fort led all players with 19 points, grabbing seven boards and dishing out a team-high trio of assists. Gomez brought down a career-best and eight rebounds for the team high to go alongside nine points on three long balls. Lexy Thorderson also nailed three 3-pointers, posting 11 points, while Ariell Bostick served up three helpers and snatched as many steals.
San Diego State opened up the game with a flourish. The Aztecs scored six unanswered points, and responded to a pair of Utah State 2-point field goals with a second 6-point run. But the Aggies closed the frame by netting seven straight points, cutting SDSU’s lead to 12-11 after 10 minutes of play.
The Aztecs fired on all cylinders in the second quarter. The Scarlet and Black powered past Utah State by winning the period, 23-11, with Gomez knocking down three long balls in that time. SDSU possessed a 35-22 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, the Aggies were able to close the gap to the tightest margin since the early second quarter. Utah State opened the period with a 14-9 point advantage to get the score within eight. Due in large part to Thorderson’s threes on consecutive possessions, however, San Diego State created a 14-point chasm at the end of the third quarter.
The final frame saw the Aggies attempt the comeback. After Baylee Vanderdoes dropped in her first two points of the game off an assist from Kymberly Ellison, Utah State went on 13-2 run, cutting the Aztecs’ lead to 58-53 with three minutes to go for the slimmest margin since the early second quarter.
But Bostick out-smarted the Aggies at 2:42 when she got a steal in her opponent’s end and raced it down the court, laying in the uncontested basket for the 60-53 Aztec lead. SDSU would end the game by going 6-for-8 from the charity stripe as Utah State got six points of its own for the final 66-59 score.
Said San Diego State head coach Stacie Terry, “What I was most impressed with is that when Utah State made a run, we were composed and didn’t completely fold. That’s huge growth for our program.”
SDSU won the battle on the glass, 28-19, for the first time in four games, and scored 12 fast break points, of which Utah State got zero. The Aggies recorded more assists, 15-10, blocks, 3-2, steals, 9-5, and fewer turnovers, 15-20.
“This win is totally on the girls,” Terry said. “We had a team meeting after our last loss and they committed to each other and to this program to do more and to do the little things, and rebounding was one of them. I hope that this is a trend going forward because this is a huge win tonight for us, to win the battle at the boards.”
San Diego State takes its first of two trips this season to Las Vegas on Sat., Feb. 18 for a 4 p.m. game at UNLV.