Aztecs lose to Air Force as midway point in conference play arrives

Sophomore+guard+Isabela+Hernandez+looks+to+dribble+past+an+Air+Force+defender+during+the+Aztecs%27+58-55+loss+to+the+Falcons+on+Jan.+24+at+Viejas+Arena.

Jason Freund

Sophomore guard Isabela Hernandez looks to dribble past an Air Force defender during the Aztecs’ 58-55 loss to the Falcons on Jan. 24 at Viejas Arena.

by Breven Honda, Senior Staff Writer

San Diego State women’s basketball was defeated by Air Force, 58-55, on Sunday afternoon on Steve Fisher Court at Viejas Arena. 

The Falcons finished the game on a 19-6 run that lasted the final 5:01 of the game. 

Senior guard Téa Adams said this was a difficult game because of how much Air Force wanted to win.

“I think it was a really hard fought game on both ends,” Adams said. “We came out fighting because we knew they were going to come back with a chip on their shoulder from last game. It’s always a super hard team to play because they want it and they play so hard from tip to the last second.”

Here are two observations from the loss. 

1. Adams finds groove offensively 

Adams had 11 points, seven assists and tied her career-high with five steals. 

The 5-foot-9 guard said she would not have posted seven of the team’s eight assists without her teammates getting open. 

“My teammates are in their right spots at the right time,” Adams said. “We have a very structured offense and when they are in the right spots, it is easy to get it to them.”

One of those recipients of Adams’ assist was sophomore guard Isabela Hernandez, who recorded nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point range. 

Adams said the relationship between her and Hernandez, along with junior guard Mercedes Staples, is strong. 

“It’s our connection that we have,” Adams said. “We talk about it, me, Mercedes and (Hernandez). We’re always dishing out to each other.”

Hernandez said the vision from Adams makes her efficient in the passing game.

“Téa’s one of our best passers,” Hernandez said. “She knows where everyone is so she is a really big part of this team in assists, points, steals. She had a good overall game tonight.”

Staples continues to find consistency offensively. She posted 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go along with seven rebounds.  

At the “midway” point in Mountain West Conference play, Staples is averaging 12.8 points and leads the team with 8.2 rebounds per game. 

2. SDSU rebounds better   

In Friday’s 59-54 win, the Aztecs were outrebounded by Air Force 39-33. 

Today was a different story. 

Despite the loss, the Aztecs (5-8, 3-4 MWC) outrebounded the Falcons (4-9, 2-6 MWC) 40-37, with a quarter of those coming from freshman forward Kim Villalobos, who had five rebounds on the defensive glass and five rebounds on the offense glass. 

Hernandez said rebounding was emphasized “a lot” by multiple coaches entering today’s game. 

“We didn’t do as well as we wanted to,” Hernandez said. “They still got offensive boards. We beat them in total rebounds, but they still got too many defensive rebounds. We need to work on that, especially going into Wyoming.”

Villalobos’ five offensive rebounds today bring her up to 31 on the season. Villalobos is averaging 2.81 offensive rebounds per game, which ranks in the top five in the MWC.

In addition, Staples’ seven defensive rebounds today brings her season total to 96 and averaging 7.38 defensive rebounds, which leads the conference. 

Up next, SDSU heads up to 7,220 feet to take on Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo. 

The two teams will face off on Jan. 28 at 5:30 p.m. PST and on Jan. 30 at 12 p.m. PST.

Adams said going to Laramie is always difficult, but if SDSU can plan the right way, then they can find a way to win.

“Wyoming is always a big challenge for us,” Adams said. “It’s always a mental and physical battle. Every year when we play them, we usually play them a little deeper in the season when we’re more in game shape. If we are super prepared and we know the scout, then we are going to pull out two wins.”

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