Women's Basketball Claims 20th Victory 59-46 Over Air Force
Feb. 18, 2012
The San Diego State women's basketball team earned its 20th victory of the season by downing visiting Air Force 59-46 in a hard-fought game Saturday afternoon at Viejas Arena. With the win and a loss by second-place Colorado State, the Aztecs (20-5, 10-1 MW) now own a two-game lead in the conference standings with three contests left to play.
"I'm really proud of this team for getting to 20 wins, which is a tremendous accomplishment," SDSU head coach Beth Burns said. "I look forward to taking a deep breath and then getting ready for a team that is a diametric opposite in Wyoming on Tuesday."
SDSU received solid performances from both its starters and bench players. Junior point guard Chelsea Hopkins (Las Vegas, Nev.) pulled off her fourth double-double of the season and second in the last three outings with 15 points and 10 of the team's 11 assists, while also shooting 90 percent from the free-throw line. Classmate Courtney Clements (Long Beach, Calif.) fell one rebound short of a double-double with a team-high 16 points and nine boards. Clements was 6-of-14 shooting from the field, including a 3-for-4 outing from beyond the arc, in 30 minutes of action.
The Aztecs also got nine points and eight boards from freshman Chairese Culberson (Oakland, Calif.), seven points from senior Sajoyia Griffin (San Antonio, Texas) and a career-best four steals from senior Kalena Tutt (Long Beach, Calif.).
San Diego State led by just a pair six and a half minutes into the game, before going on an 11-0 run with five consecutive points from Griffin and back-to-back triples from Clements. The Falcons would get three of those back, but the Aztecs kept the visitors in single-digits all the way until the 5:15 mark when Air Force's Megan O'Neil made a pair of free throws to make the score 26-11.
The SDSU grew to as many as 18 points on three occasions in the final 3:40, including at the break with the score 33-15.
The Falcons came out of the locker room determined not to let the game slip away as their pressure defense contributed to the Aztecs missing their first 11 shots of the second half until Clements hit the team's first field-goal at the 12:11 mark and the score 38-24.
Air Force would cut its deficit down to just nine points on a three-point play from Cherae Medina with 10:26 left to play, but Hopkins and Culberson contributed back-to-back baskets to put the Aztec lead back out to 13 at 42-29.
The Falcons got as close as 12 on three occasions, including with 2:26 left to play, but San Diego State made seven of eight free throws to secure the 59-46 win.
The Aztecs owned a plus-12 advantage on the glass and shot over 70 percent at the stripe for eighth game in a row to overcome a 32.1 field-goal percentage. Air Force, meanwhile, had 21 turnovers and made just one 3-pointer on the afternoon.
The Falcons were led by Dymond James' 16 points, while Katie Hilbig had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
The Aztecs have two road games next week starting Tuesday when the team travels to Laramie for a contest against host Wyoming beginning at 5 p.m. PT/6 p.m. MT. The game is being televised live on The Mtn.