Women’s basketball ousted in first round of Mountain West tournament

San+Diego+State+women%27s+basketball+senior+guard+T%C3%A9a+Adams+pushes+the+ball+up+the+court+during+the+Aztecs%27+56-48+loss+to+Air+Force+on+March+7%2C+2021+at+the+Thomas+%26+Mack+Center+in+Las+Vegas.

Courtesy of Mountain West/NCAA Photos

San Diego State women’s basketball senior guard Téa Adams pushes the ball up the court during the Aztecs’ 56-48 loss to Air Force on March 7, 2021 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

by Breven Honda, Senior Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS — No. 8 seed San Diego State women’s basketball was defeated by No. 9 Air Force 56-48 in the first round of the Mountain West Conference tournament at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on March 7. 

Like in the second matchup during the regular season, the Falcons closed the game on a big run, going on a 15-3 run over the game’s final 3:50. 

Head coach Stacie Terry-Hutson said she was ultimately proud of her players to endure a season through a global pandemic despite the loss. 

“I am really proud of our student-athletes how they’ve been able to put themselves in a position to play and compete at a high level,” Terry-Hutson said. “Obviously, we’re disappointed that we didn’t get the outcome we wanted (Sunday). Air Force is a very physical, disciplined, tough team and we just came up short tonight.”

Here are two observations from Sunday afternoon’s game. 

1. SDSU unable to find any flow 

The Aztecs were outscored 38-25 in the second half despite having a five-point lead at halftime. 

After scoring just eight points in the second quarter, Air Force imploded for 21 points in the third quarter. Also, Falcons’ senior guard Kaelin Inmael scored 10 of her game-high 17 points in the third quarter. 

Both teams were ineffective from the floor. 

Air Force shot 31% (20-for-64), while SDSU shot 28% (16-for-58).

As a result, both teams had to find ways to create more possessions, resulting in the game becoming a rebounding battle. 

The Falcons merely outrebounded SDSU 46-45, but the Falcons outscored 15-7 on second chance points. 

Terry-Hutson said rebounding became a crucial aspect in the game while the team could execute late. 

“Neither one of us had a great offensive output today, but down the stretch, we couldn’t get stops and they did,” Terry-Hutson said. “We weren’t scoring the ball and gave up some crucial offensive rebounds. I thought that was the key.

“They had 15 points on second-chance opportunities and that’s the game there. When you’re not shooting the ball well, we talk a lot about how defense travels. 56 points in another situation should be good enough to win, but we just struggled.”

With rebounding being a factor, that hurt SDSU as it was without sophomore forward Mallory Adams, who did not play due to personal reasons.

Terry-Hutson said it was difficult not having Mallory Adams for the Sunday clash when scoring became scarce and rebounding became pivotal. 

“We missed her a lot,” Terry-Hutson said. “She actually has been doing a lot for us scoring-wise and her absence was evident (Sunday). Didn’t have a great night shooting the ball and she has been playing really well. She’s worked really hard to get herself back, so we definitely missed tonight offensively.” 

2. Aztecs struggle from deep

The Scarlet and Black only made one 3-pointer. 

That happened with just 33 seconds left in the game, when junior guard Sophia Ramos hit a long-range shot to trim Air Force’s lead down to four, 52-48. 

Prior to Ramos’ 3-pointer, SDSU was 0-for-7. 

Even though SDSU could not find any consistency from deep, the team scored 22 of its 48 points in the paint. 

Senior guard Téa Adams and Ramos scored 13 points each to lead the Aztecs.

Téa Adams, who scored a baker’s dozen on 5-for-15 shooting, said she and her teammates could not get anything going.

“Offensively, I struggled,” Adams said. “I think a lot of us struggled offensively and 13 points is great, but defensively we couldn’t put four quarters together and that’s really what was our downfall.”

For the Aztecs, this loss ends their 2020-21 season. The team finished 7-17 overall and 5-12 in MWC play.

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