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

Women’s basketball stuffs visiting Westcliff in second half of 64-42 win

The Aztecs relied on stifling defense to pull away, as Fiso scored a personal season-high 11 points while Villalobos and Quezada combined for 30 points
Christie Yeung
San Diego State guard Meghan Fiso drives with the ball during action earlier this season at Viejas Arena.

There’s a reason why certain dishes are always part of Thanksgiving dinner — they’re a key part of shared tradition.

It’s exactly why whenever a team faces the Scarlet and Black, they can expect a heaping helping of tough defending, coupled with selfless team play.

The San Diego State women’s basketball team made it three wins in a row, relying on the program recipe to knock off the Westcliff Warriors, 64-42 on Tuesday night at Viejas Arena.

“This is San Diego State basketball, we played that type of basketball in the second half and then you could see what happens,” said head coach Stacie Terry-Hutson.

“Steve Fisher laid down the framework a long time ago. We’re just following that.”

SDSU (3-2) had four players score in double figures, including senior guard Meghan Fiso, who scored a personal season-high 11 points off the bench. Senior forwards Kim Villalobos and Adryana Quezada led Aztecs with 15 points apiece, while grabbing seven and six rebounds each.

“After half time, we just knew that we needed to establish ourselves and punch first,” Fiso said. “We had to take pride in our defense because this game was really about us. We had to take a step forward.”

Fiso scored all but three of SDSU’s bench points, two short of her career-best, but marking a high water point since being sidelined last season with an injury during a game against UC San Diego in early December.

“I think having a good support group around me, checking in with me mentally, preparing mentally… I’ve been learning how to make different plays… I just scored last year — now, I’m making the right plays, making the right passes,” Fiso said.

For the senior from Seattle, who has been on the Mesa for three years since transferring from Michigan in 2021, her offseason was spent getting ready for moments like this.

“Physically, just being with my trainers (and) rehabbing, lifting, getting my conditioning and just making sure that I was, when I came back, I was in the best shape possible,” Fiso said.

The Aztecs had assists on five of their first six field goals, finishing with helpers on 19 of their 25 field goals in the game.

Facing a 2-3 zone defense from Westcliff, sharing the ball was a point of emphasis coming in.

“We talked early on, we wanted to get 15 (assists) or above,” Terry-Hutson said.

“We’re much better when we share the ball. So we have to be able to adjust. We have great shooters on our team, but sometimes the ball is not going in as far as our three point shot. So we need to find other ways to score. I thought we did a good job of looking to get the ball inside.”

Westcliff, an NAIA team from the California Pacific Conference, rode hot 3-point shooting to take a lead at halftime, 30-27. The Warriors knocked down 5-of-10 from the land of plenty in the opening 20 minutes, with graduate guard Jalen Long and senior forward Eva Taylor leading the way in scoring.

“I thought they came in and really punched us in the face in the first half,” Terry-Hutson said. “Really came out and shot the ball really well, and I am proud of how our team was able to respond — that was a great test.”

In the second half, SDSU tightened the screws on defense and held the visitors to 18.5% shooting from the field, including forcing three stretches of five or more missed shots in a row. The Aztecs also swiped 10 of their 13 steals for the game in the last 20 minutes.

Westcliff made just three of their final 25 shots from the field.

All the while, SDSU came alive after senior guard Sarah Barcello knocked down the Aztecs’ first triple of the game at the 7:36 mark of the third quarter. The Aztecs had missed their first 10 from downtown in the game, but after Barcello’s first three-ball (of her eight points on the night), the Scarlet and Black went on a pair of game deciding runs.

First, they scored 14 of the final 16 points in the third quarter to turn a 34-39 deficit into a 46-36 lead. Then in the fourth quarter, they held the Warriors scoreless for the final 6:57 while going on an 11-0 run.

“You go on runs and you can separate yourself when you defend,” Terry-Hutson said.

Villalobos corralled an SDSU-best seven rebounds, while finishing level with senior guard Abby Prohaska for a game-high five assists.

Sophomore guard Natalija Grizelj came off the bench late to knock down her first NCAA bucket, a triple from the left corner with 28 seconds left in the game, as the Aztecs had well put the game in their pocket.

“You know what? It’s not going to be the last, we’re going to play her more,” Terry-Hutson said.

“I’m going to challenge her to step up in practice. She’s an excellent shooter and we’re going to need another sub in that guard spot, so I think it’s the first of many”

The Aztecs continue their five game homestand by hosting the San Diego Thanksgiving Classic, in tandem with UC San Diego.

SDSU will host Penn at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25, then will welcome the Tritons to Viejas Arena at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

About the Contributors
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.
Christie Yeung, Photographer
Born in Hong Kong, Christie Yeung is a first-generation transfer student who majors in journalism at San Diego State University. Prior to arriving at SDSU, she served as the Gaming/Tech Editor, Features Editor and Managing Editor of SAC Media at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California where she was placed in on-the-spot competitions such as fourth in News photo, second in Portrait photo, first in Sports photo, first in Social Media and second in News writing, along with a meritorious mention in the Enterprise News Story/Series category from Journalism Association of Community Colleges. She was also awarded second in Best Breaking News Stories by the California College Media Association. During her free time, she likes to watch European soccer games, read, listen to Cantonese-pop music and play video games and Dungeons & Dragons with her online friends. She also has a sweet tooth and cannot turn away anything with Nutella in it.