Women’s basketball wraps up non-conference action with home loss to Cal Poly

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Kyle Betz

Senor guard Téa Adams looks to dish the ball to a teammate during the Aztecs’ 73-63 loss to Cal Poly on Dec. 21 at Viejas Arena.

by Reese Savoie, Senior Staff Writer

San Diego State University women’s basketball fell to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo 73-63 in its last non-conference matchup of the 2020-21 season on Monday, Dec. 21. 

With junior guard Sophia Ramos (hand) and Mallory Adams (knee) having remained out of the team’s starting lineup in recent games, junior guard Alex Crain joined the growing list of inactive players. Crain (migraine) did not play during the second half of the Aztecs’ loss to UC Irvine Saturday.

Instead, the Aztecs turned towards youth.

Enter freshman guard Bailee Chynoweth, sophomore guard Isabela Hernandez and freshman forward Kamiara Gipson, who each stepped in to fill the void.

Head coach Stacie Terry-Hutson said leadership is more important now than ever before with the injuries and number of young student-athletes coming off the bench. 

“We had really only two upperclassmen playing today,” Terry-Hutson said. “I just need them to lead more. Keep a level head and continue to teach and grow.

“Our young kids are just trying their best. They’re playing hard.” 

Senior guard Téa Adams said although it’s challenging, only being able to play with nine teammates has given some of the freshmen an opportunity. 

“We’re growing, and we’re getting used to it,” she said. “We have a lot of young players, so the more experience they get, the better. Each game is just more experience that they can get, which I think is a step towards where we need to be.” 

Growth is exactly what the team has been experiencing in non-conference action. 

After having scored a career-high 15 points in Saturday’s game against UC Irvine, Chynoweth contributed nine points versus the Mustangs. This closely trails each of the 10 points put up by Adams, sophomore guard Talia Sireni and junior guard Mercedes Staples, respectively. 

Additionally, Adams had a season-high seven assists. 

“Seven assists is fantastic,” Terry-Hutson said of Adams’ performance. “I want to get her turnovers down, but she’s really our best passer on the floor.” 

Overall, the Aztecs shot 39% from the field and 38% from outside the paint. 

Terry-Hutson said she’s proud of her team’s offensive game tonight despite the Mustangs’ prominent defensive presence. 

“We got bumped around a little bit tonight,” she said. “We didn’t get some of those fouls that we would like, or getting to the free throw line more often. But for the most part, I thought our shooters were hunting, looking to shoot. I thought we shot before we turned it over tonight, which is always good.” 

The Mustangs put constant pressure on the Scarlet and Black, most notably through Cal Poly sophomore point guard Abbey Ellis. 

Ellis was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week immediately preceding Monday’s contest. This became evident as soon as she took to the court.

Ellis contributed 39 of the Mustangs’ 73 points, and went 8-for-11 on three pointers. 

This proved to be detrimental, as SDSU was unable to contain the Yallambie, Australia product. 

Now, the Aztecs look ahead to conference play.

Despite the challenges that the Scarlet and Black have been presented with, Adams said having the opportunity to face off against teams outside of the Mountain West Conference has given the team a boost. 

“It’s been pretty hard to fight through,” Adams said. “Each game has brought us something different, with either a new player getting injured or someone dropping out, and we had a game cancelled so it’s been a rollercoaster.” 

“Honestly, this is just an unprecedented time. I think that we got a lot of good games in, and going into conference we need to lead with some momentum and fire,” she added.  

Terry-Hutson said the challenges the team has had to face in this series and other non-conference contests throughout the season have been learning opportunities for the squad.  

“The adversity. I keep using the word growth. We’ve had a season’s worth of adversity in 2020,” she said. “What we’re going to do with that is just continue to get better. We’re young in some spots, and we have leadership in some spots. We’re just going to continue to mesh those two things and prepare ourselves for UNLV.” 

SDSU will host UNLV on Thursday, Dec. 31 at 1 p.m.

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