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#AztecWBB Falls to Nevada in MW Quarterfinals, 53-48

Cierra Warren tied a MW tournament record with a career-high seven blocks vs. Nevada on Tuesday.
Cierra Warren tied a MW tournament record with a career-high seven blocks vs. Nevada on Tuesday.

March 12, 2014

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LAS VEGAS - The sixth-seeded San Diego State women's basketball team gave No. 3 seed Nevada all it could handle in its quarterfinal matchup at the 2014 Reese's Mountain West Championship, but ultimately came up short, dropping a 53-48 decision in a defensive struggle Tuesday night at Thomas & Mack Center.

With the loss the Aztecs finish the year with a 13-17 overall record, while the Wolf Pack move to 18-12 on the season and advance to the semifinal round on Friday against Fresno State.

The two teams combined to shoot just 30 percent from the field (31-103) and committed 34 turnovers collectively in the ragged contest. However, SDSU came up empty on nine three-point field-goal attempts, while Nevada drained five of 20 shots from beyond the arc. The Aztecs were also victimized by a 12-0 run midway through the second half that catapulted the Wolf Pack into the lead for good.

Individually, SDSU was led by senior Danesha Long (Long Beach, Calif.) and junior Khristina Hunter (Fairfield, Calif.),who finished with nine points apiece, while senior Cierra Warren (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) totaled eight points, 11 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks, which tied a MW tournament record.

The Aztecs stayed close thanks to some clutch free-throw shooting, sinking a season-high 18-of-20 tries from the charity stripe (90 percent), including a 6-for-6 effort by Warren and a 5-for-5 performance by Long.

Conversely, Nevada was paced by Danika Sharp's game-high 12 points that featured a trio of baskets from beyond the arc, while Warren's counterpart, Mimi Mungedi, made her presence felt in the middle as well with seven rejections of her own to go with 10 points and two steals.

The two sides witnessed six ties and four lead changes in the first half, including a 19-19 deadlock, when the Wolf Pack reeled off seven straight points on a Sharp three-pointer, followed by two foul shots and a basket by Nyasha LeSure with 32 seconds remaining. Then with the clock winding down to four seconds, sophomore Deidra Smith (Aurora, Colo.) drained a jumper from 17 feet away at the top of the key to give the contest its 26-21 score at intermission.

The Aztecs turned the tables in the first nine minutes of the second half as sophomore Deajanae Scurry scored six straight points in a 12-5 spurt that put the Aztecs back in front 33-30 with 11:05 remaining. Hunter and freshman Chloe Johnson (Phoenix, Ariz.) also got into the act with buckets during that span, while Warren added a pair of free throws.

However, SDSU was kept off the scoreboard over the next 4:46 as Nevada seized control of the contest with a 12-0 run of its own. The Wolf Pack sank five of six free throws during that stretch, while Sharp connected from three-point territory once again to help her team claim a 42-33 advantage by the 6:19 mark.

The Aztecs were forced to play catch-up for the remainder of the game, but could only muster eight free throws over the ensuing five minutes, until a jumper by junior Desi Culberson (Oakland, Calif.) broke the drought, narrowing the gap to 49-43 with just 1:27 remaining.

SDSU twice cut the deficit to three in the final minute, including a 51-48 spread on a Johnson jumper with five seconds remaining. The Aztecs were able to foul on the inbounds pass; however, Sharp drained both free throws at the other end to seal the win for the Wolf Pack.