W. Hoops Wins Thriller vs. Cal State Fullerton to Stay Undefeated

Nov. 18, 2017

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With just five seconds on the clock, senior captain Geena Gomez scored the go-ahead basket to give San Diego State women’s basketball its third straight win to open the season, a 59-58 nail biter over Cal State Fullerton Saturday afternoon in Viejas Arena.

San Diego State opens the campaign 3-0 for just the 10th time in the program’s history. Cal State Fullerton, meanwhile, falls to 1-2.

With just eight seconds on the clock and her team training, 58-57, senior Khalia Lark attempted a long ball from the right side of the basket. However, the ball ricocheted off the glass and into the hands of Gomez, waiting a few steps in front of the free-throw line. She drove the basket and one-handed the ball in for the 59-58 go-ahead score.

For the game, senior McKynzie Fort led the Aztecs offensively, recording 17 points, six boards and four assists. Lark grabbed 10 boards to go alongside three points, while Gomez scored seven points with six rebounds. Freshman Najé Murray notched 11 points, going 3-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line.

San Diego State got its offense going early in the game. Twenty seconds in, Fort nailed a jumper just inside the 3-point arc and drew a foul. A three by Gomez from the right corner 35 seconds later put SDSU up, 5-2, but the Titans were able to tie the score.

Fort regained SDSU’s lead 2:40 into the period when she powered through the Titans’ defense and lifted the ball into the left side of the basket. Gomez made an identical play 100 seconds later to give SDSU the 9-5 lead with 5:40 to play in the quarter.

After trading baskets and allowing the Titans to knot the score at 11-11, the Aztecs scored eight unanswered points, capped by Fort. With one-and-a-half minutes to go in the quarter, she broke up a pass in Cal State Fullerton’s half of the court and raced to their basket, putting in the uncontested layup for the 19-11 margin. San Diego State took a 19-14 lead into the second quarter.

SDSU’s freshmen extended its lead by 10 on a long ball by Murray and a layup by Te’a Adams. But the Aztecs started to struggle offensively and went on a 5:15 scoring drought before sophomore Baylee Vanderdoes scored on consecutive possessions for the 28-18 score with two-and-a-half minutes left in the half. The Aztecs allowed consecutive treys by the Titans and took a 28-24 advantage into the half.

But the Aztecs' offensive woes were perpetuated in the second half.

In the third quarter, the Scarlet and Black was just 3-for-14 from the floor and allowed Cal State Fullerton to take the lead, 42-40, behind a frame that saw the Titans outscore SDSU, 18-12.

Midway through the fourth quarter, San Diego State cut the lead to one but allowed a 5-0 run by the Titans. The Aztecs again slimmed the margin to one with 26 seconds to go on a three by Lexy Thorderson and a jumper by Fort before Gomez’s game-winning shot.

For the game, SDSU shot 37.7 percent (23-for-61) from the floor, while Cal State Fullerton faired a bit better, shooting 38.6 percent (22-for-57). From 3-point range, San Diego State was 8-for-22 (36.4 percent), and the Titans were 7-for-21 (33.3 percent). The Aztecs pulled down more rebounds, 42-35, blocked more shots, 4-2. The Scarlet and Black also recorded more points off turnovers, 11-7, and knocked down more second-chance (11-9) and fast-break points (9-2).

Next up for San Diego State is a trip to the Bahamas for the 2017 Junkanoo Jam. SDSU opens the Thanksgiving tournament on Fri., Nov. 24 against Central Michigan at 5:15 p.m. (ET) and will play either Tulane or Iowa State on Sat., Nov. 25.

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