Late Run Guides #6 San Diego State Past #11 Air Force
LAS VEGAS - San Diego State broke open a 50-50 second half tie with a 9-0 run as the No. 6 Aztecs defeated No. 11 Air Force 63-56 in the first round of the 2014 Reese's Mountain West Women's Basketball Championship at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
San Diego State (13-16) will take on No. 3 Nevada (17-12) in Tuesday's quarterfinal round at 8:30 p.m. PT. The Wolf Pack defeated the Aztecs 84-65 in their lone regular-season meeting. Air Force completes its 2013-14 season with a 1-28 record.
"Just really happy we got the victory tonight," said San Diego State head coach Stacie Terry. "I thought Air Force came out and gave us a really good game. Their record does not reflect how good they are. I just want to give them so much credit because they play hard and play everybody tough. I admire that about that team."
Down 50-42, Air Force poured in a pair of 3-pointers and a long-range two-pointer to draw even with 5:18 to play, but were unable to take the lead as the Aztecs took control on the offensive glass, forced consecutive Air Force turnovers and sprinted out to a 9-0 run to grab control of the game.
"I think our mindset was just to stay calm and play harder," said San Diego State junior forward Khristina Hunter. "It's win or go home, and we're not ready to go home yet."
The Aztecs' Cierra Warren, a senior center, recorded a double-double with 11 rebounds and a game-most 20 points. It's her fifth-career double-double and the 11th straight game she's scored in double figures. Warren was one of three San Diego State players to hit double figures, as Danesha Long netted 14 points and Hunter added 10.
"Everybody knows how talented our bigs are," Terry said. "The two that sat next to me (Warren and Hunter during the press conference) are two of the best in the conference. Everyone knows that we're going inside. Air Force did a great job taking that away. That being said, our guards were patient, knocked down shots when they needed to. Chloe Johnson had seven assists for us. She was amazing for us. If she can play steady like that, we'll be good."
Junior guard Jimi Blagowsky led the Falcons with 18 points, while senior guard Camille Thompson chimed in with 12 points.
"It's the best game we played all year," said Air Force head coach Andrea Williams. "It was great team energy, effort and focus from the tip with our scouting report, what we wanted to do."