Women’s basketball looks to bounce back with home matchups against UC Riverside and UC Davis

by Jacob Sisneros, Senior Staff Writer

Bad news: A 20-point blowout loss on the road to Long Beach State is not how the San Diego State women’s basketball wanted to start its season.

Good news: The Aztecs get a chance to rebound with two home games this week on Monday against UC Riverside and on Thursday against UC Davis.

The team had a majority of its success at home last season with an 8-6 record as opposed to a 2-11 record on the road in a year that it finished 12-19 overall.

SDSU’s offensive struggles from last year carried over in its first game against LBSU and it faces a UC Riverside team Monday that scored 86 points in an 86-68 win over Fresno State last Friday night.

The Aztecs averaged 57 points a game last year under third-year head coach Stacie Terry and were inconsistent on offense in their first game of the season, committing 21 turnovers and scoring 54 points while shooting 42 percent from the field.

Sophomore guard McKynzie Fort, who has the highest scoring average of returning players at 10.1 points per game last season, struggled a bit offensively in Friday’s game against LBSU, scoring eight points on 3-of-8 shooting.

Senior forward Deidra Smith went 4-for-10 for eight points and seven rebounds against LBSU and junior guard Kymberly Ellison provided a spark off the bench for 11 points, including 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range.

After the team’s exhibition game against Point Loma Nazarene University, Terry said her team isn’t going to rely on one player to score 20 points a game. Instead her goal is to have five players average 10 points a game.

UCR is led by a pair of senior guards, Brittany Crain and Annelise Ito, who averaged 21.7 and 13.7 points a game last season, respectively.

The Highlanders finished with a record of 17-14 last season and have 12 players returning this year under 12th-year head coach John Margaritis.

SDSU lost its matchup against UCR last year 64-54 a game in which Crain scored 31 points.

The Aztecs employ a full-court press most of the time on defense, which attempts to increase the pace of the game and force opponents to turn the ball over.

The team was only able to force 12 turnovers against LBSU and faces a UCR team that averaged 11.6 turnovers a game last year, largely thanks to the good ball handling of Ito and Crain.

Thursday’s matchup against UC Davis is more favorable as the Aggies averaged 17.6 turnovers a game last season and lost Sydnee Fipps, their senior leading scorer from last year.

Senior forward Alyson Doherty leads the team this year and collected her 11th career double-double in a 74-45 loss against No. 16 Stanford University Friday night.

UC Davis went 15-16 last year, including a record of 4-8 on the road.

The Aztecs last played UC Davis in November 2006 and won the matchup 59-52.

Both games have a 6:30 p.m. start time this week at Viejas Arena.