Aztec WBB Falls to BYU in WNIT Second Round

March 23, 2013

PROVO, Utah - The San Diego State women's basketball team had its season come to a disappointing end Saturday, falling to Brigham Young by a 69-58 count in the second round of the WNIT at the Marriott Center.

The Aztecs (27-7) trailed 33-32 in the early moments of the second half, but were unable to recover from a 14-0 Cougar run over a five-minute stretch, as BYU (23-10) pulled away for the victory.

Senior Chelsea Hopkins tied for game-high honors with 17 points and added five rebounds and assists, while classmate Courtney Clements recorded 15 points of her own, including a trio of 3-pointers. In addition, sophomore Khristina Hunter contributed eight points off the bench, while seniors Gabrielle Clark and Malia Nahinu and sophomore Erimma Amarikwa totaled six points apiece.

As a team, SDSU connected on just 32.3 percent of its field goal attempts (21-65) and was out-rebounded by a 41-33 margin, including a 33-19 spread on the defensive glass. Conversely, the Cougars shot 43.8 percent from the floor (21-48) and sank 10 more free throws (19-9) than the visitors.

Trailing 4-0, SDSU engineered a 14-6 spurt, capped by a Clements 3-pointer and two Hopkins free throws sandwiched around a layup by the Cougars' Jennifer Hamson, to grab a slim 14-12 lead with 9:35 remaining in the first half. However, BYU reeled off eight straight points over a span of 2:25, featuring a triple by Haley Steed and a pair of Hamson foul shots, to vault in front 20-14 by the 7:10 mark.

The Aztecs forged another rally, ultimately tying the score at 26-26 following a Hunter layup and a Hopkins free throw with 2:36 to go, until a Morgan Bailey basket on the Cougars' next foray down the court put the host school ahead to stay 28-26 by halftime.

SDSU kept things close for nearly the first three minutes of the second half, as Amarikwa converted an old fashioned three-point play to tighten the score at 33-32 with 17:10 left. However, BYU drained three straight triples, including two by Stephanie Seaborn and another by Kim Beeston, to ignite a pivotal 12-0 surge that put the Cougars in the driver's seat with 12:02 remaining.

The Aztecs whittled away at the deficit over the ensuing 4:43, as Clark and Hopkins buried back-to-back 3-pointers, while Nahinu followed with a layup to pull the visitors to within striking distance at 49-46 by the 7:29 mark. However, triples by Steed and Beeson served as bookends to another timely 14-7 BYU run that provided the hosts a 63-53 cushion with 2:08 left to play. A Clements trey and an Amarikwa bucket narrowed the gap to 63-58 with 49 seconds to go, but the Cougars sank six free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

BYU was led by Beeston's 17 points, while Steed (13 pts.), Seaborn (12 pts.) and Hamson (10 pts., 17 rebounds) reached double figures as well.

SDSU established a program record with 27 wins this season, highlighted by a second straight Mountain West regular-season title and a 17-game winning streak.