San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

PREVIEW: Women’s Basketball opens WNIT action against UC Irvine

Aztecs back in the postseason for first time in a decade, will face Big West regular season champs
Maddie Cadena
Sophia Ramos splits the defense against Wyoming on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Viejas Arena.

For the first time in a decade March Madness returns to the Mesa as the San Diego State women’s basketball team will host a WNIT first round matchup.

Fresh off a third-place finish in the Mountain West regular season and a run to the semifinal of the conference tournament, the Aztecs (23-10, 12-6) face the regular season Big West champions UC Irvine at 6 p.m. on Friday at Viejas Arena.

“This is a very special team, so I’m very happy that we get to put it all together for at least one more night, especially at home in Viejas and hopefully in front of a decent sized crowd,” senior Sophia Ramos said in an interview with 97.3 FM on Tuesday.

SDSU put together its best season since 2012-13, led by the stingiest defense in the Mountain West (57.4 points against per game) and the second-best three-point shooting percentage (36.1%) in program history. The Aztecs have gone 15-2 at Viejas Arena, and a win over the Anteaters would set a new program record for most home wins in a season.

“We’re just comfortable, we’re in a routine when we’re at home,” head coach Stacie Terry-Hutson said in an interview on 760 AM on Wednesday. “It’s one of the best college experiences playing in Viejas and we’re just lucky to have another home game.”

UC Irvine (24-6, 16-2) shrugged off season-ending injuries to three key contributors to earn their first ever Big West regular season championship and third postseason trip in the past six years. The Anteaters allow 53.3 points per game, which is ninth-best in the country.

Guards junior Diaba Konate and sophomores Nikki Tom and Déja Lee earned All Big West selections, with 6 feet 3 inches junior forward/center Nevaeh Parkinson earning the circuit’s Best Sixth Player award.

“We’ve got to take care of the ball and take quality shots, they’re going to change defenses on us so we need to recognize and take advantage of that,” Terry-Hutson said. “They have a great post player and they have guards that can get downhill.”

San Diego State had three players finish with all conference honors, as Ramos and sophomore guard Asia Avinger were named to the All-Mountain West team and senior forward Yummy Morris was an honorable mention. It’s the first time in a decade that SDSU has been so well represented in postseason conference honors.

““Everyone that came in had the winning mentality,” Ramos said. “I already knew those that were coming back from the years past wanted to win as well, so it worked out great.”

If the Aztecs win they will face either University of San Diego or Long Beach State, who will play on Thursday at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Toreros (17-13, 11-7) finished third in the WCC and were bounced in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. The 49ers (23-9, 17-3) finished second in the Big West and lost to eventual champion Hawaii in the semifinals of the conference tournament.

SDSU students can attend for free with their RedID, and free tickets have been made available for all San Diego students if they fill out an interest form before 1 p.m. on March 17. General admission tickets are $7, with reserved seating available for $10.

The SDSU Alumni and Aztec Club are hosting a pregame Aztec Fan Party at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center on Friday from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. According to Alumni Relations Specialist Jennifer Ranallo, the event will feature complimentary snacks with rally towels and pom-poms available, as well as a performance by the cheer and dance team. The event is free, and attendees are encouraged to RSVP ahead of time.

“We need everybody to come out; let’s make it a great weekend of Aztec basketball,” Terry-Hutson said. “The more people we can get in the gym the better for us.”

About the Contributor
Eric Evelhoch
Eric Evelhoch, '23-24 Sports Editor
Eric Evelhoch (he/him/his) is a senior media studies major who was born outside of Detroit, Michigan, and lived in Ventura County, California, for a decade-plus. He is a returning college student and transfer from Santa Barbara City College, where he served as Sports Editor for The Channels. Evelhoch is also a Sports Director for KCR College Radio, where he restarted play-by-play coverage post-pandemic. Currently, he serves as the play-by-play broadcaster for the SDSU ACHA DI hockey team and has filled in on the call for Aztecs sports on the Mountain West Network. His prior freelance experience includes print, digital, online video and audio-only, and broadcast radio formats covering football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer and volleyball.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
PREVIEW: Women’s Basketball opens WNIT action against UC Irvine