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SDSU Women's Basketball's Season Ends With Loss To Colorado State, 69-58

Michelle Strawberry had 21 points in her final game as an Aztec.
Michelle Strawberry had 21 points in her final game as an Aztec.

March 7, 2006

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DENVER - Despite 21 points from senior captain Michelle Strawberry (Corona, Calif.), the San Diego State women's basketball dropped a 69-58 decision to Colorado State Tuesday in the first game of the 2006 Mountain West Conference Championship at the Pepsi Center. With the loss, the Aztecs ended their season with an overall record of 3-24, while the Rams improved to 9-19 and move on to face top-seeded BYU Wednesday in the quarterfinals.

Strawberry, who earned honorable mention all-conference honors for the second year in a row, logged her sixth game this season with 20 or more points, shooting 50 percent from the field (8-for-19) and converting on three of the Aztecs' four three-pointers. Her 21 points tie as the most by an SDSU player in an MWC championship game with Atim Otii's total versus New Mexico in 2001.

Strawberry finished her senior campaign with 20 games in double-figures and her season scoring average of 13.5 is the best by an Aztec since 1999-2000.

SDSU also got 14 points from redshirt sophomore Erin Jackson (Sparks, Nev.) with 10 of those coming in the first half. Sophomore Shanna Demus (Palmdale, Calif.) tallied eight points and tied for the team lead in assists with four with senior Veronica Shaw (Phoenix, Ariz.), who was shut out offensively in her final game in the Scarlet and Black. Junior Desiree Johnson (Kahuku, Hawaii) recorded a team-best seven rebounds in her first career MWC tournament contest.

The two sides combined for just four points in the first 3:13, before SDSU went up by five at 7-2 on a three-pointer from Strawberry and a jumper from Jackson. CSU struck back with a 5-0 run to knot the game at seven and the score was also tied at nine before the Rams took their first lead of the night on a free throw with 12:27 remaining. The two sides traded advantages four times over the next two minutes with the third and final tie of the night at 14-14.

CSU broke out of the 14 all tie with a 7-0 run and was up by nine at the half, 33-24.

The Rams lead grew into double-figures at 44-33 on one of guard Vanessa Espinoza's four second-half three-pointers and was at 15 with 7:18 remaining in the contest. SDSU made a late 11-2 run, cutting the 15-point deficit down to just six with 2:38 left, but Espinoza converted a four-point play and CSU was 3-for-5 from the line in the final 1:19 to secure its third win over SDSU in 2006, at 69-58.

The teams ended up tied or close to it in most statistical categories, including field goals, rebounds, steals, turnovers and assists, but CSU shot 45.3 percent from the field, including 71.4 percent from beyond the arc, and went to the line 10 more times than SDSU.

Espinoza was the game's leading scorer with 23 points, while CSU teammate Melissa Dennett had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.