WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs turn the tables on Cowgirls

by Staff

Getting to Las Vegas from San Diego is pretty simple.Get on the 15 Freeway, drive a couple hundred miles and you’re on The Strip.For the San Diego State women’s basketball team, their path in the Mountain West Conference Tournament seemed equally simple:Travel to Las Vegas, face off against a third-seeded Wyoming squad, play well against a tough team, but come up short and return home with their heads held high and aspirations of a young, much-improved team next year.But somewhere along the lines, the sixth-seeded SDSU team took a detour.The Aztecs came flying out of the gate and, thanks to their exceptional defense, got out to a nine-point lead halfway through the first period. SDSU carried that lead the whole way, never trailing in the game, en route to a 66-54 upset of the Cowgirls last night at the Thomas & Mack Center.This was the third match-up between the two teams this year, with Wyoming winning both of the first games by double-digit points.Regardless of the team’s now-notorious youth, head coach Beth Burns knew her squad had something even more valuable than experience: momentum.”We have, as well documented, a very young team. And when we play together and play on all cylinders, we’ve had great success this season,” Burns said on TheMWC.com. “And I think that we had great confidence coming into the tournament.”SDSU’s “Big Three” delivered as usual with freshmen Paris Johnson and Allison Duffy patrolling the post and combing for 33 points and 15 rebounds while sophomore guard Jené Morris, the Aztecs’ top scorer, chipped in with 21 points and four steals.But perennial unsung-hero of the team, sophomore guard Quenese Davis did what she does best, make a massive contribution without much fanfare.Davis just had five points on the night but led the game with nine assists; more than twice as many as any other player on the court. She also delivered a block, a steal and four rebounds to help seal the victory.”The locker room MVP right now is Quenese Davis,” Burns said. “Jené got in early foul trouble. Quenese never came off the floor. She played full-court pressure the entire game.”The victory comes as the first MWC Tournament win for SDSU, whose last conference tournament win came in 1997, when Burns ended her first tenure on Montezuma Mesa with a Western Athletic Conference championship.The Aztecs will face second-seeded TCU at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow in the semi-final match.The Horned Frogs also swept the season series against SDSU, defeating the Aztecs by more than 20 both times.But for Burns’ squad, the detour they’re taking has turned out well, and they have no intention of turning back anytime soon.”We came into this tournament looking to go to the championship,” Morris said on TheMWC.com. “We came in here with confidence. And, you know, we’re looking for the next step, the next game.”