Clements Career Night Fuels SDSU Victory over UCSB, 69-46
March 21, 2013
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Senior Courtney Clements scored a career-high 31 points on Wednesday to power the San Diego State women's basketball team to a 69-46 victory over UC Santa Barbara in the opening round of the 2013 Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) at Viejas Arena.
Clements connected on 10 of 17 field goal attempts, draining a personal-best seven 3-pointers on 10 tries, as the Aztecs (27-6) set a program record for wins in a single season. With her performance, Clements recorded the highest point total by an SDSU player since Jené Morris tallied 32 points at Texas in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2010.
In addition, senior Chelsea Hopkins posted another strong performance with 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while sophomore Erimma Amarikwa finished with nine points and six boards.
SDSU, which never trailed in the contest, shot 47.3 percent from the field (26-55), including a 43.5 percent clip from 3-point range, while maintaining a 38-26 advantage in rebounds. On the flip side, the Gauchos (16-17) were limited to a 33.3 percent field goal percentage on 17-of-51 shooting and came up empty on seven tries from beyond the 3-point arc.
Clements got off to a blistering start, scoring 10 of the Aztecs first 12 points, while senior Gabrielle Clark followed with a 3-pointer to give the host school a 15-8 lead by the 14:37 mark of the first half. UCSB responded with four straight points on a jumper and a pair of free throws by Sweets Underwood to pull within 15-12. However, Clements buried another triple on SDSU's next possession to spark a 12-0 run over a span of 5:10, which provided the Scarlet and Black a 27-12 cushion with 8:11 left. The Gauchos misfired on 10 shots during that stretch and found themselves in pursuit mode for the rest of the night. By the time the halftime horn sounded, the Aztecs were firmly in control at 40-20, with Clements (21 pts.) out-scoring the entire UCSB team.
SDSU maintained the momentum in the second half, as a Hopkins layup at the 16:20 mark extended the hosts' lead to 48-24. The Gauchos reeled off seven straight points, capped by an Underwood foul shot with 11:26 remaining, to pull within 48-31. However, SDSU answered with a 9-4 spurt to dash any hopes of a UCSB comeback. Amarikwa converted two layups, while Clements added another and soon nailed a 3-pointer to give the Aztecs a commanding 57-35 lead by the 6:35 mark.
In all, SDSU owned a 14-0 advantage in fast-break opportunities and out-scored the Gauchos 11-2 in bench points.
UCSB was paced by Underwood's 23 points and game-high nine rebounds, while Destini Mason finished with 10 points and two steals in the loss.
The Aztecs will square off against former Mountain West member Brigham Young in the second round of the WNIT on Saturday in Provo, Utah. Game time will be determined on Thursday.