Women's Hoops Set for Road Clash at Air Force
Feb. 2, 2018
SAN DIEGO -- After an open date, the San Diego State women's basketball team enters the final month of its regular-season schedule this week when it returns to the front range of the Rocky Mountains to battle Air Force on Saturday, Feb. 3, starting at 1 p.m. MT/Noon PT.
SDSU alumnus Chris Ello will call the action courtside at Clune Arena for a live audio webcast on GoAztecs.com, with a link to streaming video courtesy of the Mountain West Network/Stadium also available online.
The Aztecs are coming off a disappointing 75-64 loss at home to UNLV in front of a season-high 4,568 fans on Jan. 27. SDSU was unable to build on a 35-17 lead in the second quarter, as the Lady Rebels used a 23-0 run during a nine-minute span over the second and third periods to change the complexion of the game. Later in the fourth quarter, the Aztecs still nursed a slim 60-59 lead with 5:53 to go, but UNLV closed with a 16-4 surge to win going away.
SDSU received 17 points apiece from seniors Geena Gomez and Khalia Lark, while fellow classmate McKynzie Fort (10 pts) reached double figures as well to a with a career-high tying eight assists and two blocks. However in the second half, the Lady Rebels made 13 of 16 free throws and connected on 16 of 32 field goals to help key their victory.
Entering Saturday's contest, Fort occupies the third spot in the Mountain West with an average of 16.8 points for all games and ranks seventh in field-goal percentage (.484) and ninth in assists (3.5/gm). In addition, Gomez (9.7 ppg) is fourth in assists (4.2/gm) and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5), while freshman Najé Murray (9.3 ppg) has climbed into the eighth spot in three-point accuracy (.378) and is tied for ninth in triples made (1.9/gm).
Despite getting limited to just 10 points vs. UNLV, Fort inched closer to third place on the Aztecs' career scoring list. The Fontana, Calif., native has amassed 1,553 points in a Scarlet and Black uniform and needs just 46 more to surpass current SDSU player of development Paris Johnson for the No. 3 spot all-time.
Collectively, the Aztecs are slotted fourth in the MW this weekend in three-pointers made (7.4/gm) while ranking fifth in rebounding offense (37.9/gm), rebounding defense (37.1/gm) and rebounding margin (+0.3).
As a team, SDSU is averaging 65.8 points per game while yielding 68.6 on the defensive side of the ball. In addition, the Scarlet and Black is shooting 39.6 percent from the floor and 33.6 percent from three-point territory.
Saturday's clash will be the 42nd meeting between the two schools, with the Aztecs maintaining a 34-7 lead in the all-time series, including a 16-4 mark at the Academy.
SDSU has won six straight at Clune Arena, including a 64-51 triumph last season. All 11 Aztec players appearing in that contest scored at least one basket, including McKynzie Fort and Ariel Bostick, who led the team with 13 points apiece, while Lexy Thorderson (10 pts) reached double digits as well.
SDSU's 34 victories over Air Force are the school's most over any current Mountain West team, ahead of New Mexico (28), UNLV (28) and Wyoming (28).
The Aztecs have defeated the Falcons on 19 of the last 21 occasions, including 12 straight from Feb. 19, 2011 to Feb. 13, 2016. In those 19 wins, SDSU's average margin of victory was 19.3 points.
Air Force (1-19, 1-8 MW) is coming off an open date of its own after dropping a 64-48 decision at Fresno State on Jan. 29.
Prior to that defeat, the Falcons lost three straight games by a total of five points vs. San José State (75-74), Colorado State (40-39) and at Boise State (49-46). During that stretch, Air Force picked up its first victory of the year with a 57-50 triumph over Utah State at home.
The Falcons also experienced some bad luck during their non-conference schedule, falling by seven points or less in six games against Eastern Washington (65-63 (OT)), at Florida International (70-69), at Navy (71-64), vs. Colorado Christian (68-66), vs. Army West Point (65-59) and at Utah Valley (59-56).
Offensively, Air Force is led by freshman Kaelin Immel, who ranks eighth in the Mountain West with 14.9 points per game, including a season-high 26 vs. San José State on Jan. 13. The Falcon guard tops the squad with 44 three-point field-goals, while her average of 2.6 triples per contest is fifth in the league entering the weekend.
Air Force has also received a boost from senior Cortney Porter and freshman Emily Conroe, who are averaging 9.6 points for all games. Porter leads the conference in steals (3.0/gm) and occupies the third spot in assists (4.3/gm), while fellow classmate Dee Bennett finds herself among the league's top 10 in steals (T-3rd, 2.0/gm) and rebounds (8th, 6.5/gm).
Following Saturday's venture, SDSU will play back-to-back home games for the first time in conference this season when it battles Fresno State on Wednesday, Feb. 7, in a special noon matinee, followed by a clash with Nevada on Saturday, Feb. 10, starting at 1 p.m. PT. The Aztecs-Wolf Pack contest will mark SDSU's annual Play4Kay Game to highlight breast cancer awareness.