Aztecs drop post-Thanksgiving game to Arkansas State

Junior+guard+T%C3%A9a+Adams+goes+up+for+a+contested+layup+during+the+Aztecs%27+55-45+victory+over+Cal+State+Fullerton+on+Nov.+17+at+Viejas+Arena.

Kareem Jones

Junior guard Téa Adams goes up for a contested layup during the Aztecs' 55-45 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 17 at Viejas Arena.

by Cristian Alvarez, Staff Writer

San Diego State women’s basketball fell 71-62 to Arkansas State on Nov. 30 at Viejas Arena.

Junior guard Tea Adams dropped a team-high 16 points for the Aztecs.

She nailed three out of her seven 3-point attempts, dished out eight assists and pocketed four steals.

All of which are new career highs for Adams.

Despite her performance, the Aztecs (3-5) were troubled by the zone defense from the Bulldogs (2-5) that led to 14 turnovers. Arkansas State scored 23 points off those mistakes.

Senior guard Taylor Kalmer said the team’s offense had a tough time against the zone.

“We got to get better at playing against (the zone) and learn how to pick it apart,” Kalmer said. “Once we get that going we’ll be good.”

The zone paid off for the Bulldogs from the opening tip.

By the end of the first quarter, 16 of Arkansas State’s 17 points came off Aztec mistakes.

Eight of the 14 turnovers came in the opening period alone. The Bulldogs were able to disrupt the Aztecs offense.

Arkansas State showed they could shoot behind the arc, too. The Bulldogs hit five shots from downtown in two quarters and eight of 16 for the game.

Down 34-26 at halftime, the Aztecs tried to turn things around in the final two quarters but fell short.

Adams sparked life for the Aztecs near the end of the third quarter that made things close.

It all started when she sunk a 3-pointer with four and a half minutes left in the period.

On the next play, following her own miss, Adams showed some hustle and stole the ball from two Bulldog players to run down the court for an easy layup.

The lead was down to five.

After a few score exchanges, Kalmer and freshman guard Isabela Hernandez hit separate threes to bring the Aztecs within one possession.

Just when it appeared like the momentum was favoring the home team, Bulldogs junior guard Jireh Washington drilled another 3-pointer in the final seconds to put Arkansas State up 51-45.

That momentum carried into the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs led by as many as 13 and eventually pulled away.

Looking ahead, the Aztecs have two games within the next week – but there’s an added twist – they’re both Mountain West Conference games.

The first one is against Colorado State at home on Dec. 4 and the second is at San José State on Dec. 7.

Adams said the Aztecs have to clean up their mistakes in order to have a chance against both opponents.

“We’re going to have to focus on turning things around,” Adams said. “(Conference play) is a big thing for us. We know everyone’s tendencies from over the years but they know ours too.”

This is the first time where two conference games are moved up during the season. Normally, they aren’t played until closer to the end of the year.

Kalmer said she’s optimistic about the team’s approach.

“Conference is where it all counts,” Kalmer said. “Obviously every game counts as well but once (conference) games start our record is 0-0 and that matters. It’ll be good for us to get a taste of the conference (early) this year.”

The Aztecs will have to adjust to stand toe-to-toe with the Rams – another team that plays zone defense.

“(Colorado State) is notorious for zoning,” Adams said. “If we can learn to be better in that scheme, finding places where we can be successful.”

Cristian Alvarez is a senior studying journalism. Follow him on Twitter @AlvarezTheViper.

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