Women's Hoops Bounces Back With 77-64 Win Over UNLV

Feb. 11, 2012

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After 15 lead changes, the San Diego State women's basketball team used a 7-0 run midway through the second half to break open a 43-43 game and go on to defeat visiting UNLV 77-64 on Saturday at Viejas Arena. The Aztecs bounced back from their lone conference loss to improve to 18-5 on the year, including 11-1 at home, and maintained their top spot in the Mountain West at 8-1. The Lady Rebels, meanwhile, dropped to 17-8 and 5-4 in league action in 2011-12.

The Aztecs received several outstanding performances on the day with junior Courtney Clements (Long Beach, Calif.) leading the way with her ninth 20-point scoring outing of the season with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Classmate Chelsea Hopkins (Las Vegas, Nev.) pulled off her third double-double by matching her career high in assists with 12 to go with 12 points and six rebounds before fouling out with 1:46 left in the game.

The team got a huge lift off the bench from senior Sajoyia Griffin (San Antonio, Texas), who tallied a career high 14 points, highlighted by a 3-for-5 performance from beyond the arc. Junior Malia Nahinu (Hayward, Calif.) added eight points and six boards in only 12 minutes, while freshman Chairese Culberson (Oakland, Calif.) had seven points and three of the team's nine steals.

UNLV opened the game with a 3-pointer on its first possession and would go up by as many as seven at 9-2 at the 17:34 mark. San Diego State rallied to take its first lead on a lay-up from Culberson at 16-15 and held a four-point advantage at 19-15. After the Lady Rebels tied the game at 23, neither side led by more than a bucket with the Aztecs owning a 31-29 advantage at the break.

The contest was knotted five times in the early part of the second half until a triple from Griffin sparked a 7-0 Aztec run that put the home squad ahead 50-43 with 11:03 left in the game. SDSU jumped in front by as many as nine, but UNLV closed it to just four on a 3-pointer at just under the six-minute mark.

Another Culberson basket restored the Aztec lead to six and ignited a 9-2 run that moved their advantage to double-figures at 67-56. San Diego State closed out the final minutes by making 10 of 12 trips to the free-throw line to secure the 77-64 win.

SDSU matched its season high for scoring in a conference outing by posting 77 points on 50 percent shooting, including an impressive 61.9 mark in the second half. The squad owned just a slight plus-three advantage on the glass in an outing that featured 67 free-throw attempts between the two sides.

UNLV was led by Kelli Thompson's 20 points, while Jamie Smith contributed 16 points and a game-high seven rebounds in the loss.

San Diego State played one game on the road and one at home next week, starting Wednesday when the Aztecs head to Albuquerque to take on host New Mexico beginning at 7 p.m. MT/6 p.m. PT at The Pit.