W. Hoops Powers Past UNM for 63-51 Win

March 3, 2017

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San Diego State women’s basketball used a dominating third quarter to defeat New Mexico, 63-51, in the Aztecs’ final regular season Mountain West contest of the year Friday night in Viejas Arena.

With a 64-51 loss for Nevada at Colorado State and the SDSU win, the Scarlet and Black will be the No. 9 seed in the Mountain West Women’s Basketball Championship, which begins Mon., March 6, at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. The Aztecs will play No. 8 seed San José State in the first game of the tournament at 2 p.m.

SDSU ends conference play with a 6-12 mark, heading into the conference tournament riding its second two-game win streak in MW play after topping Air Force, 64-51, on Tues., Feb. 28. The Aztecs have an 11-18 record overall. New Mexico, meanwhile, concludes the regular season with a 10-8 mark against MW foes and is now 15-14 this season.

“This season has been a roller coaster year,” head coach Stacie Terry said. “We’ve always felt that we were talented enough, we just didn’t get the right breaks or play for 40 minutes. But there were times this year that we showed we’re one of the best teams in the conference. We’re hoping that this two-game win streak will push us over the edge and give us that jump that we need.”

In her final home game as an Aztec, senior Ariell Bostick grabbed a career-high 12 boards and dished out a team-best five assists. Classmate Kymberly Ellison had a strong night, as well, recording eight points and six rebounds. Juniors Lexy Thorderson and McKynzie Fort each posted 16 points to pace the team, with Thorderson getting a career-high nine rebounds.

After UNM opened scoring just 38 seconds in on a three, the Aztecs responded with seven unanswered points. The Lobos would end the period by out-scoring San Diego State, 13-11, with Thorderson knocking down another two 3-pointers and Bostick drilling an impressive half-court buzzer-beater. The Scarlet and Black held a tight 18-16 advantage after 10 minutes of play.

That margin only got slimmer in the second quarter. The second quarter saw six different Aztecs score at least one point and lead, 31-30, at the intermission.

It was the third quarter that saw San Diego State really dominate. The Aztecs limited New Mexico to just six points and two field goals on 15 attempts, with the Lobos making four turnovers in the final 3:05 of the period. New Mexico notched just six points while SDSU scored 18 of its own. SDSU held a commanding 49-36 advantage heading into the final frame.

New Mexico looked to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter. The Lobos cut the Aztecs’ lead to single digits with 3:14 to go thanks to a 15-11 run, with the 60-51 score in favor of SDSU. San Diego State, though, was determined to go into the conference tournament with a commanding victory and made good on three of its four attempts from the charity stripe to end the game for the 63-51 win.

The Aztecs brought down 46 rebounds to the Lobos’ 39, the second-most rebounds for SDSU this season (53 in an 81-80 overtime loss to San José State on Jan. 11). San Diego State also had a better field goal percentage, shooting 35.0 percent (21-for-60) from the field versus New Mexico’s .290 field goal percentage (18-for-62). The Aztecs blocked three shots, the most since Jan. 25 versus Air Force, and served up 14 assists, the 20th game this year with double-digit helpers. UNM, meanwhile, blocked five shots and had 16 assists.

“I’m ready to cut down nets,” Bostick said. “Tonight is definitely going to be momentum to push us. We cannot underestimate anybody or overestimate anybody. We have to play our game, play defense like we did tonight, stop those top players and do our work early. That’s what’s going to help us to transition into the tournament.”

“There’s something about postseason that gets you excited,” Terry said. “I know that when we step off that bus and go into the arena in Vegas, they’re going to be a little more jacked up. Our freshmen are going to be in for a treat and I know that our seniors will play their hearts out one last time to make sure that there’s something special happening in Vegas. Our motto going forward is, ‘Why not us?’ Someone has to win it, so why not us?”

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