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#AztecWBB Gets Defensive in 53-48 Win over UNM

Deajanae Scurry came off the bench to post a game-high nine rebounds vs. New Mexico.
Deajanae Scurry came off the bench to post a game-high nine rebounds vs. New Mexico.

Feb. 22, 2014

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SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State women's basketball team rallied from an eight-point deficit Saturday to claim a 53-48 victory over New Mexico in a Mountain West clash at Viejas Arena.

The Aztecs limited the Lobos to three field goals in the second half on 19 attempts (15.8 percent) to raise their record to 10-14 on the season and 7-7 in conference play. In addition, New Mexico was held to just three free throws in the final 11:37 of the game, falling to 9-16 overall and 4-10 in the MW.

Individually, SDSU was led by senior Cierra Warren (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif,), who recorded a game-high 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting (58.8 percent). With her effort, the Aztecs have now won seven in a row when Warren reaches the 20-point plateau. Meanwhile fellow classmate Danesha Long (Long Beach, Calif.) added 16 points, including a clutch 8-for-9 performance from the free-throw line to help the Scarlet and Black capture its seventh straight against the Lobos.

Despite posting a goose-egg on three-point attempts (0-5) and committing 21 turnovers, which led to 22 UNM points, SDSU maintained a 43-20 rebounding advantage and a 32-16 margin on points in paint. The 20 boards tied a season-low by an Aztec opponent.

With just seven healthy players dressed for the third time in its last four games, SDSU still managed to build a 20-12 cushion in the first half following two Warren free throws at the 9:30 mark. However, the Lobos caught fire at this juncture, unleashing a 13-4 blitz, as a Brea Mitchell three-pointer put the visitors up for the first time in the game, 25-24, with 4:27 remaining.

The Aztecs reclaimed a pair of three-point leads over the ensuing two-and-a-half minutes, including a 30-27 spread on a Warren jumper with 2:38 left. UNM responded with a triple by Antiesha Brown, while Deeva Vaughn converted an and-one opportunity to put the Lobos back in front, 33-32, with 58 seconds before intermission. The two sides took that score into the locker room after Long misfired from the left wing as the horn sounded.

SDSU shot 54.2 percent from the field in the opening frame (13-24), but still trailed, as UNM drained four three-pointers and went 7-for-7 at the charity stripe. Although Warren tallied 16 points in the period, the Aztecs also were outscored by the Lobos, 14-3, on points off turnovers during the first 20 minutes.

Things looked bleak for SDSU in the opening five minutes of the second half after the host school missed its first seven shots from the field and committed three additional miscues. The Aztecs only two points during that stretch came courtesy of two Long free throws. However, UNM was unable to completely capitalize on SDSU's offensive woes despite triples by Brown and Sara Halasz. When Warren sank a layup to end her team's shooting drought at the 15:02 mark, the Scarlet and Black was still in contention, facing a slim 39-36 deficit.

After an exchange of single foul shots, the Lobos scored five quick points, capped by a Brown layup, to build its biggest lead of the afternoon at 45-37 with 11:37 left to play. Incredibly, that would be UNM's last basket for the remainder of the contest as the visitors came up empty on their final 11 shots from the floor. Meanwhile, the Aztec defense dug deep, forcing five UNM turnovers over a span of 4:32 to kick-start its eventual winning rally. When Long stole the ball and raced the length of the court for a layup with 7:05 to go, SDSU went ahead to stay, 47-45.

The Aztecs weren't completely home free, however, missing two shots and a free throw over the next two-and-a-half minutes, until junior Khristina Hunter (Fairfield, Calif.) banked in a layup off a spectacular feed from sophomore Deajanae Scurry (Los Angeles, Calif.) to give the host school its 12th straight point and a 49-45 advantage with 4:25 left.

After the Lobos broke their scoring drought on a foul shot by Khadijah Shumpert with 2:21 remaining, SDSU had a chance to essentially salt the game away. However, two jumpers went awry, while Shumpert connected on two additional free throws at the other end to cut the deficit down to 49-48 with 59 seconds to go. The Aztecs kept their composure, patiently moving the ball, when Warren got free underneath for a layup on the right side to provide SDSU a 51-48 lead with 37 seconds left.

UNM's final hopes soon evaporated when Vaughn's three-point attempt was off the mark. Warren gathered the loose ball and passed to Long, who was promptly fouled. The Aztec guard then sank both free throws to complete the comeback.

In addition to Warren and Long's point totals, SDSU received a game-high nine rebounds and five assists from Scurry, while Hunter finished with seven boards of her own to go with two steals.

On the flip side, the Lobos were led by Brown's 15 points, while Vaughn contributed 14 points in the loss.

The Aztecs will return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 26, when they travel to San José State for a MW matchup, beginning at 7 p.m. PT.