Women's Hoops Races Past SMU, 88-72
Dec. 28, 2012
SAN DIEGO - San Diego State's Chelsea Hopkins (Las Vegas, Nev.) completed a rare triple-double on Friday to lead the Aztec women's basketball team to an impressive 88-72 victory over SMU in the opening round of the eighth annual San Diego Surf `N Slam Classic at Viejas Arena.
Hopkins scored a career-best 22 points and added game highs of 11 assists and 10 rebounds to help SDSU raise its record to 8-3 on the season, while the Mustangs slip to 8-4 on the year. With the win, the Aztecs will now battle 14th-ranked Oklahoma State for the tournament crown on Sunday after the Cowgirls dispatched Harvard by a 92-62 count in the other first-round match-up.
In addition to Hopkins' feat, SDSU received another strong effort from Courtney Clements (Long Beach, Calif.), who finished with 21 points, including 16 in the second half, while Erimma Amarikwa (Vacaville, Calif.) tossed in 13 points of her own on 6-of-8 shooting to go with five boards.
As a team, the Aztecs posted a season-best 56.3 field-goal percentage, sinking 36 of their 64 attempts, while SMU was limited to a 39.0 percent clip (23-59) for the evening. Despite making 13 fewer free-throws (21-8), SDSU outscored the Mustangs, 42-28, in the paint and maintained a 25-17 edge on the defensive glass.
SMU's Keena Mays led all players with 26 points, but was held to just four in the second half after the Aztecs made some defensive adjustments at intermission. In addition, Akil Simpson contributed 20 points and eight rebounds for the visitors, while Alisha Filmore tallied 11 points and four assists in the loss.
Trailing 5-4, a layup by Malia Nahinu (Hayward, Calif.) and a Hopkins 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions ignited a 15-4 blitz that vaulted SDSU in front for good at 19-9 by the 14-minute mark. The Mustangs responded with five straight points over the next minute-and-a-half. However, the Aztecs withstood the challenge, crafting a sizeable 12-3 run during a span of 2:32 to build a 31-17 bulge with 9:32 left on the clock.
SMU trimmed the deficit to single digits at 33-24 following a Mays triple with 7:36 remaining, but SDSU maintained the upper hand for the remainder of the period as consecutive baskets by Dejanae Scurry (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Khristina Hunter (Fairfield, Calif.) down the stretch provided the host school a 46-34 cushion heading into the break.
The Mustangs pulled within nine in the second half, 64-55, after Filmore completed an old-fashioned 3-point play at the 10:48 mark. However, the Aztecs soon vanquished the threat as Clements drained two treys and added two foul shots during a 20-9 surge that gave the host school its biggest lead of the game at 84-64 with 4:31 to go.
With the outcome no longer in doubt, all eyes shifted to Hopkins, who needed just one rebound to complete her magical night. Despite some anxious moments, the SDSU senior finally corralled an SMU miss with just 24 ticks on the clock, much to the delight of the Aztec faithful. Hopkins' achievement is just the fifth triple-double in Mountain West history and first for SDSU since joining the conference in 1998-99.
The Aztecs will now vie for their fourth Surf `N Slam title in the last five years when they square off against Oklahoma State on Sunday, beginning at 2 p.m. PT. SMU will tackle Harvard in the consolation game at noon.