No. 23/24 Aztec Women's Basketball Nearly Pulls Off Upset Of No. 5/6 Notre Dame
Nov. 26, 2009
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands - The San Diego State women's basketball team cut a 21-point, first-half deficit all the way down to two with less than 30 seconds remaining, but was unable to pull off the Thanksgiving Day upset, dropping its first game of the season to No. 5/6 Notre Dame, 84-79, in day one action of the 2009 Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. With the loss, the Aztecs fell to 3-1 on the year, while the Irish improved to 4-0.
"I was disappointed in our start," said SDSU head coach Beth Burns. "I knew going in that Notre Dame does a great job spreading the floor and their experience really shows - they capitalize on every mistake. I thought Quenese (Davis) played a fabulous game. She's the only reason we stayed in the game. I encouraged our team at halftime to give her a little bit of help, and I thought we came back and competed in the second half."
The senior guard tandem of Jené Morris (San Francisco, Calif.) and Quenese Davis (Sacramento, Calif.) carried the team offensively, as the Aztec front court was saddled with foul trouble most of the day. Morris notched her fifth career 30-point scoring outing, recording 26 of her game-high 32 points in the second half. Morris, who needs just 10 more points to reach 1,000 in her three-year stay on The Mesa, also tallied all four of the team's three-pointers after the break, came away with six steals and added five rebounds and a blocked shot.
Quenese Davis, meanwhile, kept SDSU in the game in the first 20 minutes of play, making six of her 10 shots for 15 of her 25 points, which matched a career-best. The senior co-captain was just one rebound off of a double-double with a team game-high nine and tied for the lead in assists with five in playing all 40 minutes.
Besides Morris and Davis, junior forward Jessika Bradley (Sacramento, Calif.) also scored in double-figures with 12 points to go with eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks. Junior Coco Davis (Sacramento, Calif.) finished with seven rebounds and five assists and forward Allison Duffy (Lakeside, Calif.) chipped in six rebounds and two steals before fouling out.
The game turned out to be the tale of two halves for San Diego State, as the Aztecs fell behind early, missing six of their first seven shots to trail by eight. Notre Dame, meanwhile, couldn't miss, going up by 10 points at 16-6 and then more than doubling that lead in a matter of just over three minutes, capped by a three-point play by Erica Solomon at 30-9. The deficit hung at around 20 until the 5:49 mark, when SDSU went on a 13-8 run to head into the locker room down by 15 at 44-29.
The Aztecs continued to chip away at the Irish lead coming out of the break, but didn't get to within single-digits until there was just under six minutes left to play on a Bradley lay-up at 69-60. Notre Dame edged their advantage back up to 13 and then 11, before Morris found her touch from outside, nailing three triples on SDSU's next five trips up the floor, including her final one from well beyond the top of the arc to get to within four at 79-75.
San Diego State was within a single basket following two Quenese Davis free throws with 29 seconds remaining, but the Irish made three of their four shots from the charity stripe to preserve the 84-79 victory.
The Aztecs owned a plus-three advantage on the boards (43-40), but had three more turnovers (23-20) and were outshot from the field 50.8 to 42.0, despite only making 35.5 percent of their field goals in the first half.
Notre Dame was led by freshman Skylar Diggins's 21 points and Lindsay Schrader's 16 points.
San Diego State will play its second outing of the 2009 Paradise Jam at the University of the Virgin Islands' Sports and Fitness Center, beginning at 12:15 p.m. PT (4:15 p.m. AST), against another ranked foe in No. 20 Oklahoma on Friday afternoon.