Women's Basketball Closes Out Its Season With A 54-49 Loss To New Mexico
March 12, 2003
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Despite a furious second-half rally, the San Diego State women's basketball team was knocked out of the first round of the Mountain West Conference Championships by New Mexico for the third straight season, falling 54-49 Wednesday evening at the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV. With the loss, the Aztecs finished their season with a 9-18 record, while the Lobos improved to 20-8 overall and moved onto the semifinals to face the winner of the Colorado State-Wyoming game played later this evening.
SDSU senior Ashonda Williams (Crockett, Calif.), who had a career high 19 points versus the Lobos in the team's home finale on March 1, finished with a team-best 18 points. Freshman Ashlee Dunlap (Los Angeles, Calif.) also added her MWC-leading 10th double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
SDSU came out of the game with the hot hand, racing out to a 4-0 lead and then a 6-1 advantage in the first two minutes as three different players contributed the first three buckets. The Lobos cut the lead to one on one possession when Mandi Moore converted a four-point play, hitting a three-pointer from the right angle and the ensuing foul shot.
New Mexico jumped ahead for the first time at 9-8 on back-to-back buckets from Tiffany Scaglione and Abbie Letz. The two baskets helped spark a 8-2 run as New Mexico took the a seven-point lead at 17-10.
The Lobos went up by as many as 12 points at 28-16, as the Aztecs were unable to match their opponent's offensive surge. Williams then single-handedly got the Aztecs back into the game with the next six points, cutting the deficit to six at 28-22.
A three-point play by Cristal Garcia and a long three-pointer from Letz put the Lobos up by 12 points, 34-22, going into the locker room.
SDSU grabbed the early momentum in the second half by scoring five straight buckets, beginning with a three-pointer from Jamey Cox (Waterloo, Iowa) and ending with a reverse lay-up and a jumper from Dunlap at 34-33.
The Aztecs held New Mexico off the scoreboard for the first five-and-a-half minutes until Moore came back with her third three-pointer of the game at 37-33. The two schools then traded baskets with the Lobo lead never reaching more than seven points until Chelsea Grear's rebound basket but her team up 52-43.
In the final 4:30, SDSU rallied to pull within five points following two free throws from Tynisha King (Moreno Valley, Calif.) at 52-47. A New Mexico foul shot put the Lobos up 53-47, but the Aztecs bounced back with two more free throws to come to within four points with less than a minute remaining.
Another New Mexico foul shot put the margin at 54-49. SDSU's Heather Wolf (Stayton, Ore.) had a chance to bring the Aztecs closer, but her running shot was blocked and the Lobos gathered the rebound and ran out the clock for the 54-49 victory.
Despite the loss, San Diego State committed a season-low 11 turnovers and outscored the Lobos 27-20 in the second half. Three Aztecs, Cox, Williams and Wolf, also played all 40 minutes of the game, while Dunlap sat at for just one minute.
New Mexico's Moore led her team with 15 points, including three, three-pointers, while leading scorer Jordan Adams was held to just seven points with three of those coming at the line.
The loss was the final game for SDSU seniors Cox, the school's all-time career three-point leader, Andrea Kiesling (Helena, Mont.), King and Williams.