#AztecWBB Falls at Utah State, 79-69
Feb. 19, 2014
LOGAN, Utah - Despite a team-high 17 points from senior Cierra Warren (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and double-doubles by fellow classmate Danesha Long (Long Beach, Calif.) and junior Khristina Hunter (Fairfield, Calif.), the San Diego State women's basketball team came up on the short end of a 79-69 decision against Utah State Wednesday in a Mountain West clash at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah.
With the loss, the Aztecs slip to 9-14 overall and 6-7 in conference play, while the Aggies move to 11-14 on the year and 5-9 in the MW.
SDSU maintained a 46-39 rebounding advantage and a 34-24 margin on points in the paint; however, USU never trailed in the contest, building an 11-point halftime lead on the strength of five three-pointers and an 11-for-13 performance at the free-throw line. In addition, the Aggies capitalized on 21 Aztec turnovers overall, scoring 27 points off those miscues to help key their victory.
Although both teams connected on 26 field goals apiece, SDSU hurt itself at the foul line as well, sinking just 13 of 23 attempts (56.5 percent). The Aztecs also had difficulty containing the 1-2 punch of Jennifer Schlott and Makenlee Williams, who combined for 52 of USU's 79 points. Schlott, the MW's leading scorer, poured in 33 points, including four triples and an 11-for-15 effort at the charity stripe, while Williams finished with 19 points--all in the first half--to go with seven rebounds and four steals.
Conversely, SDSU had four players reach double figures for the second game in a row and the eighth time this season. In addition to Warren's total, freshman Chloe Johnson (Phoenix, Ariz.) notched a career-best 13 points, including a trio of three-pointers, while Hunter contributed 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds to go with five assists. Not to be outdone, Long produced her second straight double-double with 10 points and 11 boards in the loss.
Williams set the tone early for USU, scoring her team's first eight points, while teammate Franny Vaaulu (12 points) followed with a layup to put the host school in front 10-4 with just under five minutes elapsed in the first half. The Aztecs responded with an 8-3 spurt, capped by freshman Ariell Bostick's (Oakland, Calif.) jumper, to trim the deficit to 13-12 by the 12:30 mark.
Strangely, that would be as close as SDSU would get, however, as the Aggies began to gradually pull away over the ensuing six-and-a-half minutes. A Schlott triple subsequently punctuated a 20-12 spurt that provided USU a 33-24 advantage with 5:50 left. SDSU reeled off the next five points, before USU closed the half with a timely 11-4 run, including buckets by Williams and Elise Nelson in the final minute to give the game its 44-33 tally at intermission.
Following the break, the Aggies quickly increased the margin to 14 points at 54-40 on another Schlott three-pointer with just over four minutes gone by. The Aztecs would spend the remainder of the game in pursuit mode without the services of Bostick, who exited with a knee injury and did not return. Still, the Aztecs managed to whittle USU's lead down to six on three occasions, but could not draw any nearer.
After a Hunter basket tightened the score at 69-63 with 4:40 left on the clock, SDSU came up with a key defensive stop and had a chance to pull within four. However, sophomore Deidra Smith (Aurora, Colo.) misfired on two free throws, while Vaaulu made the Scarlet and Black pay dearly, converting consecutive layups to restore the Aggies' 10-point cushion. Moments later, Schlott nailed two foul shots, and the Aztecs never threatened again.
San Diego State will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 22, when it plays host to New Mexico at Viejas Arena. Game time is set for 2 p.m. PT.