The Daily Aztec

Women’s basketball defeats New Mexico

by Ethan Bailey

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The San Diego State women’s basketball team grinded out a crucial Mountain West Conference win on Saturday against the rival University of New Mexico Lobos. The game marked the seventh conference win for the Aztecs as they defeated the Lobos 53-48.

New Mexico’s defense was stout throughout the game, forcing 21 Aztec turnovers and five blocked shots.

[quote]”They did a good job taking away the things we wanted to do,” head coach Stacie Terry said after the game. “We (turned the ball over) trying to get some passes in there.”[/quote]

Fortunately for SDSU, senior center Cierra Warren came ready to play. Warren scored on 10 of 17 shots from the field and added three free throws to post a game-high 23 points and had six total rebounds. The team has won seven straight games when Warren scores 20 or more points this season.

“She’s kind of our centerpiece all the time,” Terry said. “We got her the ball in situations where she can be successful.”

Terry said she was most pleased with Warren’s rebounds and defensive performance during the game.

Speaking of defense, the Aztecs gave the Lobo offense fits throughout the contest, forcing 14 turnovers with nine steals. New Mexico was held to shooting just 29.8 percent from the field.

[quote]”They did things today I’ve been begging for them to do all season,” Terry said. “We got our hands up, we got deflections; we turned them over and finished the game with rebounding. We kind of took a play out of coach Fisher’s playbook: When you defend, you always have a chance to win the game.”[/quote]

The Aztecs seemed to buy into Terry’s philosophy in the second half, as SDSU simply stayed within three possessions of the Lobos for nearly half of the second period. Trailing by eight points with 11 minutes and 37 seconds left to play, the Aztecs began to pick up the intensity on both sides of the ball.

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SDSU junior forward Khristina Hunter closed the gap to four points after hitting a jumper with 9:21 left to play. On the ensuing New Mexico possession, sophomore forward Deajanae Scurry came up on a steal and passed it to Hunter who scored on a layup to make it a two-point game.

Warren then tied the game on a jumper after another Scurry steal with about eight minutes remaining, and soon after the Aztecs had their first lead of the second half when SDSU senior guard Danesha Long stole the ball and scored a layup.

The Lobos made a final run at the Aztecs with less than a minute to play. Two New Mexico free throws cut SDSU’S lead to one, but Warren made a layup and Long sank two free throws with 14 seconds left to seal the Aztecs’ victory.

Next up for the Aztecs is a road game against the San Jose State University Spartans this Wednesday, Feb. 26. The teams last met on Jan. 22 when SDSU won 88-65. The Aztecs improved to 7-7 in MW play after defeating New Mexico, and will look to improve in conference play with just four games remaining in the regular season.

Photos by Kristian Carreon, staff photographer

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