W. Hoops Prepares for Midweek Clash vs. Colorado State
Jan. 2, 2018
SAN DIEGO -- San Diego State resumes its Mountain West schedule with a single game this week when it welcomes Colorado State to Steve Fisher Court on Wednesday, Jan. 3, starting at 6:30 p.m. PT.
SDSU alumnus Chris Ello will call the action courtside for a live video stream via the Mountain West Network/Stadium on GoAztecs.com.
The Scarlet and Black split its first two conference games of the 2017-18 campaign last week, posting a 68-62 come-from-behind victory over Wyoming at home before falling just short in a 62-58 setback at Utah State.
After connecting on just 2 of 12 field-goal attempts in the first quarter against the Cowgirls, the Aztecs shot 50.0 percent the rest of the way (21-42) to claim their third MW opener in the last four years.
SDSU received a game-high 20 points from senior McKynzie Fort, while fellow classmate Khalia Lark chipped in 10 points of her own, including a pair of clutch triples. In addition, senior Geena Gomez and freshman Te'a Adams got into the act with nine points each, while sophomore Baylee Vanderdoes topped all players with nine rebounds.
Fort once again led all players with 19 points at Utah State, but it wasn't enough as the Aggies hit three free throws in the final 15 seconds after the Aztecs trimmed a 17-point first-half deficit down to one at 59-58.
Entering Wednesday's contest, Fort occupies the second spot in the Mountain West with an average of 16.4 points for all games and ranks sixth with a .487 field-goal percentage. In addition, Gomez is tied for third in assists (4.4/gm), while senior Lexy Thorderson finds herself among the league leaders in three-pointers per game (4th, 2.4), three-pointers made (4th, 31) and three-point field-goal percentage (6th, .408).
As a team, SDSU is fourth in the conference with an average of 65.8 points per game allowed, but ranks sixth in scoring offense with 65.5 points per outing. In addition, the Aztecs remain among the middle of the pack in the MW in three-point field-goal percentage (5th, .337), offensive rebounds (5th, 12.3/gm), opponent field-goal percentage (5th, .405) and rebounding margin (5th, +0.6).
Despite the loss at Utah State, SDSU has shown displayed its penchant for winning the close ones this year. The Aztecs are 4-2 in games decided by six points or less, including last-second victories at home over Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 18) and San Diego (Nov. 29).
The Scarlet and Black has faced the Rams on 54 previous occasions, marking the fourth-most frequently played opponent in program history behind New Mexico (60), UNLV (55) and Wyoming (55).
Although the all-time series is tied at 27-27, Colorado State has dominated recently, winning nine straight meetings. During that stretch, the Rams have limited SDSU to just 47.6 points per game.
Not surprisingly, defense has exemplified the rivalry of late, with the wining team scoring over 70 points just nine times in the past 38 games dating back to 2000.
The Aztecs sport a 16-9 record against CSU in San Diego, but have lost four straight at Steve Fisher Court. SDSU came up just short in 2014 (61-64) and 2016 (57-60) when it dropped a pair of three-point decisions.
Colorado State (9-4, 1-1 MW) split its first two conference games of the season at home, dropping a 62-58 decision to Boise State before rebounding with a 63-48 triumph over San José State.
After capturing four straight Mountain West titles, the Rams were picked to finish second in the league's preseason poll released on Nov. 1. CSU earned 211 points and six first-place votes, trailing Boise State (221 pts, 7 first-place votes) and Wyoming (216 pts, 6 first-place votes) by a close margin.
Wednesday's clash marks the Rams' first road game outside of the Centennial State this season. CSU's two previous trips away from Fort Collins included short drives to the University of Denver (W, 61-56) on Nov. 30 and Northern Colorado (W, 55-44) on Dec. 10.
Offensively, the Rams are led by freshman Grace Colaivalu (10.3 ppg), who ranks among the conference leaders in field-goal percentage (4th, .511) and assists (8th, 3.9/gm), while junior Annie Brady (9.2 ppg) is tied for fifth in rebounds (7.7/gm).
In addition, senior Stine Austgulen occupies the second spot in the league with a .500 clip from beyond the three-point arc, which ranks fourth in the nation. The Bergen, Norway, native has drained a team-high 29 triples on 58 attempts.
CSU has also received a boost from redshirt senior Hannah Tvrdy, who is averaging 8.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
The Rams have been particularly stingy on defense so far this year, limiting opponents to a conference-worst .337 overall field-goal percentage and a .248 clip from three-point territory. In addition, CSU ranks second in the MW with just 56.2 points per game allowed, but is only eighth on the other side of the ball with 63.9 points per outing.
Nevertheless, the Rams are still third in the league with a plus-7.8 scoring margin and find themselves in the top half of the conference in blocked shots (4th, 3.2/gm), rebounding margin (4th, +0.7) and rebounding (5th, 39.0/gm).
Following its clash with CSU, San Diego State will enjoy an open date before traveling to the Bay Area next week to battle San José State on Wednesday, Jan. 10, beginning at 7 p.m. PT.