Fast start leads Aztecs to win

by Ruben Meza

For the second game in a row, the San Diego State women’s basketball team shut down its opponent in the first half and held on to earn its 20th win of the season.

SDSU (20-5, MW 10-1) defeated the Air Force Falcons 59-46 in front of a season-high crowd of 1,763 at Viejas Arena on Saturday.

Junior guard Chelsea Hopkins carried the Aztecs with 15 points and 10 assists, earning her fourth double-double of the season, while junior guard Courtney Clements led the team with 16 points and nine rebounds.

AFA junior forward Dymond James, who led the Falcons with 16 points, put her team up 2-0 for its only lead of the game.

Senior guard Sajoyia Griffin came off the bench and nailed a 3-pointer followed by a layup to begin a 21-5 SDSU first-half run. On the following two possessions, Clements added back-to-back 3-pointers to set the tone in the conference matchup.

“I told them ‘Force the action, don’t react,’” SDSU head coach Beth Burns said. “You can’t be reactive against Air Force, you need to take action and put them on their heels.”

The Aztecs forced 13 turnovers to dig Air Force into a 33-15 hole entering the second half.

The Falcons then started the second half strong with a 12-5 run after switching to a full-court defense, placing plenty of double teams on Hopkins.

“They picked up their tempo and we had to adjust to it,” Hopkins said. “They were aggressive but when we play our game I don’t think anyone can stop us.”

SDSU will attempt to extend its two-game conference lead in Laramie at 5 p.m. tomorrow against the Cowgirls at Arena-Auditorium.

“If we really want to get that banner, we’re going to go out there and get it,” Burns said