Seniors Lead W. Hoops in 58-55 Win Over CSUN

Nov. 14, 2017


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With its senior class leading the way, San Diego State women’s basketball held off a late fourth-quarter comeback attempt by CSUN and beat the Matadors, 58-55, Tuesday night in Viejas Arena.

For the first time since the 2011-12 season, the Aztecs open the season 2-0, making an outstanding 23 3-pointers over that time (11 tonight). The Matadors, picked to finish second in the Big West this season, fall to 0-2.

“It wasn’t pretty, but we got the win,” head coach Stacie Terry said. “This is the first time in the seniors’ tenure that we’re 2-0 to start the season so we’re really proud of what we’re doing and we’re moving in the right direction.”

Seniors Lexy Thorderson (17), McKynzie Fort (16) and Khalia Lark (13) combined to produce 79.3 percent of the team’s total offense and nine of the team’s 11 3-pointers. Lark was one rebound away from her first career double-double (9), making a pair of crucial free throws to help her team take the 58-55 lead with nine seconds on the clock.

“I was really happy with the way Khalia came back and played,” Terry said. “She made some crucial free throws down the stretch and that’s something she’s been working really hard on. She shot all kinds of different techniques but those were huge free throws.”

Senior Geena Gomez dished out a career-high 10 assists, while junior Arantxa Gomez Ferrer blocked a pair of shots while grabbing five boards. SDSU blocked five shots in total, the most since the team blocked seven shots in the 2015-16 season finale against Colorado State.

The first quarter was a battle for both teams, who each struggled offensively. San Diego State was 5-for-20 (25 percent) from the floor, and 2-for-9 from beyond the 3-point arc, while the Matadors shot 27.8 percent (5-for-18), making just one long ball on nine attempts.

San Diego State’s offense perked up a bit in the next frame. Freshman Najé Murray opened the period by putting in a layup and knocking down a trey, propelling SDSU to a 17-13 lead 1:11 into the quarter. After CSUN took the lead, 18-17, two-and-a-half minutes in, Lark had an outstanding play, deking around a defender and lifting the ball into the basket 3:02 into the quarter to regain the lead. Fort tacked on another layup 22 seconds later for the 21-18 margin. San Diego State continued its attack, out-scoring the Matadors, 10-4, to enter halftime with a 31-22 lead.

The Scarlet and Black continued to fire on all cylinders in the ensuing frame. Thorderson opened the period with a long ball and after CSUN matched that with one of their own, the Aztecs went on a tear with an 11-point run, including a pair of threes by Thorderson and one by Lark. Thorderson knocked down a fourth trey to end the quarter, a last-second three from the right side of the basket for the 54-39 score after 30 minutes of play.

But the fourth quarter saw CSUN display renewed vigor and buckle down defensively, limiting San Diego State to just one shot on 15 attempts, while shooting 6-for-14 on its own. After scoring nine unanswered points in the final half of the period, the Matadors were able to cut the margin to within one at 56-55. But the Scarlet and Black shut out the Matadors from the 2:21 mark on, and Lark’s pair of free throws with nine ticks on the clock sealed the Aztec victory.

CSUN out-rebounded SDSU, 44-39, and had more assists, 18-15, second-chance points, 6-5, and fast-break points, 5-4. The teams had equal shooting percentages (32.8 percent), and each blocked five shots. The Matadors were 8-for-10 from the free-throw line to the Aztecs’ 5-for-7 from the charity stripe.

“There were things that I saw that we need to continue to work on,” said Terry. “We need to work a little harder on our press offense and making sure that we’re all wanting the ball in those pressure situations, so there’s a lot teaching in what we saw today.”

San Diego State closes its three-game homestand to kick off the season on Sat., Nov. 18, hosting Cal State Fullerton in Viejas Arena at noon.

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