Centenary College On Tap For Aztec Women's Basketball Opener Friday
Nov. 20, 2002
SAN DIEGO -
San Diego State Officially Kicks Off Its 2002-03 Season Friday Versus Centenary
The game with the Ladies marks a short stay at home for the Aztecs, as they travel to the Bay Area for another non-conference contest with St. Mary's College Monday. The team will then head to Fresno for Thanksgiving and the four-team Fresno State Classic, Nov. 29-30.
Centenary, meanwhile, is coming off a loss in its only exhibition of the season this past Monday, falling to Czech team TJ Sokol, 68-63. The Ladies' game with the Aztecs is the first of three for Centenary in the state of California, as they will also travel to Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine, Nov. 24-25.
Doing The Splits:
Aztec freshman Amber Fouse (Compton, Calif.) led the way with a team-high 20 points, while senior Valencia Howard (Richmond, Calif.) registered 15 points. Freshman Ashlee Dunlap (Los Angeles, Calif.) was the only player to reach double-figures in rebounds, grabbing 14 boards, including 10 on the defensive side.
San Diego State came out strong in the first half, taking the early lead at 4-0, thanks to lay-ups by Veronica Shaw (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Nicolette McCartny (Chicago, Ill.). Senior Jamey Cox (Waterloo, Iowa) buried three, three-pointers in the first 20 minutes helping the Aztecs maintain their momentum for the duration of the first half, leading 35-28 going into the locker room.
SDSU did not relinquish its lead until five minutes into the second half, when All-Star Nicky McCrimmon gave her team its first lead with a lay-up at 40-39. West Coast's defense held Cox scoreless in the second half, but the Aztecs managed to regain the lead until All-Star Tanisha Johnson buried a her team's only three-pointer of the game with 50 seconds remaining the score tied at 67.
The Aztecs then committed two costly turnovers as McCrimmon scored five straight points to bring her squad's lead up to 72-67. Fouse made a late three-pointer to make it close, but two more free throws secured the All-Stars' 74-70 victory.
The West Coast All-Stars were led by McCrimmon's 30 points. McCrimmon, who plays for the WNBA's L.A. Sparks, was helped offensively by Johnson, who tallied 24 points.
Exhibitions - They're A Wrap
Ash Is Back
Williams is a valuable part of the SDSU front court as one of the team's three returning starters, averaging 7.5 points and 4.2 rebounds a year ago in her first season on the Mesa.
A New Crew
Other Newbie Coaching Notes
- SDSU is not the only Mountain West Conference school to have a new head coach at the helm this season. Colorado State's Chris Denker enters his first season in Fort Collins, while two other conference coaches, Ardie McInelly (Air Force) and Jeff Judkins (BYU), both begin their sophomore campaigns.
- Of San Diego State's 13 other non-conference opponents, four will feature first-year head coaches. At the Fresno tournament in late November, three of the four teams have first-year head coaches, including Tomey, Butler's Beth Couture and Fresno State's Stacy Johnson-Klein. Creighton (Dec. 22) and CSU Northridge (Dec. 28) also both have first-year head coaches.
Aztecs In Openers
In the past five years, the team has won four of five home openers, but on the flip side, is 2-3 in season-openers.
Scouting The Centenary Ladies
In the team's exhibition game this year, the Ladies fell to Czech team TJ Sokol, 68-63, Monday in Shreveport, La. Four players reached double-figures in scoring in a losing effort, including Alexis Pettway, who poured in a team-high 15 points. Pettway, a junior forward, was the team's leading scorer in 2001-02, averaging 12.8 points and 7.7 rebounds. Fellow returnee, junior guard Julie Danieles, also averaged in double-figures with 10 points per game.
Friday's meeting with Centenary will be the first for the two schools.
Other than the two, first-time opponents, the Aztecs will be restoring its rivalries with a number of familiar foes. The last and only time SDSU faced St. Mary's was in 1990, while the same can be said about Murray State, which fell to the Aztecs back in 1989. Games with UC Irvine (last meeting 1991) and cross-town rival University of San Diego (1996) highlight this season's reunions, as does the December 28, game versus Cal State Northridge, marking the first time the two sides have meet in a decade (1992).
Going With The Guards - Line-Up Notes
In The Books
Cox is second all-time in career three-point field goals with 172, trailing only Falisha Wright (1992-95), who tallied 206 during her career. The senior is ninth in career assists (291) and has led the team in scoring in two of her three seasons on the Mesa.
Mark It On Your Calendar
SDSU will play host to 13 home games at Cox Arena, which includes two doubleheader days with the men's team, scheduled for December 28 and January 18.
Back To Cox ... Arena That Is
The two Mountain West Conference games had been moved to Peterson Gym to help accommodate festivities for the upcoming Super Bowl, slated for Sunday, Jan. 26, 2003, in San Diego, Calif.
Aztecs Picked To Finish Seventh In The MWC
BYU received eight of the 16 first-place votes, becoming the third different school to be picked to win the MWC title in as many years.
The media has correctly picked the regular season conference winner in each of the previous three polls, with Colorado State earning the nod in 2001-02, and Utah claiming the title in 1999-2000 and 2000-01.
Sign On The Dotted Line
"With the two players that we signed, we feel that we've really added to the basketball I.Q. of our program," Tomey said. "We signed two girls who have a great feel for how to play the game and their greatest attribute is their ability to strengthen and bond the group that is out on the floor - they're leaders.
"I feel terrific about them both as people and players. They are the kind of student-athletes that we want to bring into San Diego State to help us build this program."
San Diego State's other assistant coach Matt Hart, meanwhile, has spent his entire coaching career in the Southern California area, serving as a Division I men's assistant coach at Long Beach State and USC, in addition to a pair of head coaching jobs at Bishop Amat and St. John Bosco High Schools.
- Valencia Howard (6-1, Sr., F) - In her second year with the Aztecs after transferring from Contra Costa Community College in the Bay Area ... appeared in 27 games a year ago, making seven starts ... averaged 3.8 ppg and 3.9 rpg ... SDSU's top rebounder in six games ... one of five Aztecs named to the MWC all-academic team.
- Andrea Kiesling (6-3, Sr., C) - Played in 28 career games ... limited by injuries most of her stay at SDSU ... one of just two of the team's five seniors to have played all three of her previous collegiate seasons at San Diego State ... appeared in seven games in 2001-02, averaging 1.1 ppg and 0.7 rpg ... one of the team's tallest players at 6-3, along with freshmen Tami Garnett and Megan Bryant.
- Tynisha King (5-10, Sr., F) - Begins third year at SDSU (sat out 2000-01 under NCAA transfer rules) ... played in five games in 2001-02, averaging 1.0 ppg ... the oldest player on this year's squad, who is a vocal team leader on and off the court.
- Nicolette McCartny (6-2, Jr., F/C) - Second on the team in career games played with 50, which includes 24 starts ... made 11 starts a year ago, fifth-most on the team ... started at both center and forward, earning starting roles in seven of the final eight games ... averaged 3.5 points and 3.1 rebounds as a sophomore, missing first eight weeks with a severe ankle sprain.
- Maggie Sauls (5-9, So., G) - Recovering from off-season knee surgery, after missing most of her freshman campaign with a knee injury ... appeared in nine games, scoring six points in 19 minutes.
- Ashonda Williams (6-0, Sr., F) - Returning starter from a year ago, who averaged 7.5 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game ... scored in double-figures 11 times, leading the team in scoring in eight games ... a threat from beyond the arc, tallying 35 three-point field goals in her first season with the Aztecs ... appeared in all 28 games, starting 22 ... recovering from a dislocated right shoulder, suffered in pre-season workouts, October 7 ... played in the team's final exhibition versus the West Coast All-Stars.
- Heather Wolf (5-6, So., G) - Appeared in 17 games before missing the final seven with an ankle injury ... a good ball handler at the point guard position, making two starts as a freshman in 2001-02 ... served as the first guard off the bench, averaging 1.8 points.
- Ashlee Dunlap (6-1, Fr., F) - A proven scorer out of Fairfax High School in Los Angeles ... flexible player who can shoot from the inside or outside ... three-time all-city selection and league MVP as a junior ... averaged 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists per game.
- Amber Fouse (5-7, Fr., G) - Played at two-time national champion Narbonne High School in Harbor City, Calif. ... NHS won state title twice ... led team to state finals as a senior, finishing with a 27-4 record and a No. 14 ranking ... averaged 9.0 ppg and 90 percent from the free throw line ... one of the team's best passers, who will see time at point guard.
- Tami Garnett (6-3, Fr., C) - One of three Aztecs at 6-3 ... played at Sam Houston High School in Arlington, Texas ... McDonald's HS All-America team nominee ... four-time letterwinner in cross country and track ... an accomplished violinist.
-Veronica Shaw (5-7, Fr., G) - Played at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix ... led high school to the 5A state title as a senior ... all-Tribune 5A player of the year ... honorable mention Street & Smith's All-American ... averaged 16.5 points, 6.2 assists and 7.7 steals.
- Michelle Strawberry (5-10, Fr., G) - One of the team's most highly rated recruits ... 38th-ranked wing by All-Star Girls Report ... first team all-CIF, all-county and all-league out of Centennial High School in Corona, Calif. ... averaged 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as a senior ... recovering from off-season knee surgery.
- Ashley White (6-1, Fr., F) - Averaged 11 points and eight rebounds at Ayala High School ... team was four-time league champs ... all-league and all-CIF selection.
Key Points For SDSU In 2002-03
- Defense - The Aztecs proved to have one of the top defenses in the MWC last season. SDSU ranked third overall and second in league games in steals, reaching double-figures in that category 13 times ... opponents only shot 40 percent or better from the field 12 times in 28 games ... the Aztecs held 10 of their final 20 opponents under 60 points.
- At the line - The Aztecs have struggled at the line in recent years, shooting just 65 percent in 2001-02. Part of that figure, however, can be attributed to the fact that SDSU took almost 200 less foul shots than its opponents (438-623).