In the 39th women’s basketball matchup between crosstown rivals University of San Diego and San Diego State, the Toreros were able to keep their win streak in tact as they topped the Aztecs 60-53 Thursday night at Viejas Arena.
It was the third win in a row for the Toreros in the series and they are 3-0 against SDSU third-year head coach Stacie Terry.
SDSU came into the game with a two-game win streak, its first two wins of the season at 2-4.
“We’re improving so we can’t get discouraged by losses,” sophomore guard McKynzie Fort said. “I think people are seeing a difference in our game and I think that will continue to show as long as we all stay focused and count on each other.”
The Torreros entered the game on a six-game win streak and had an average margin of victory of 19 points.
The Aztecs jumped out to a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter while out-rebounding the Toreros 13-5. The Toreros came into the game out-rebounding opponents 244-193.
SDSU ended up winning the rebounding battle 35-27, but Terry said the team stopped crashing the offensive boards in the second half and that hurt them offensively.
SDSU kept USD scoreless in the second quarter until the 4:11 mark, but USD’s offense exploded for a 9-0 run over the next 3:18 to take the lead 25-22.
An and-one by senior forward Diedra Smith and a pair of free throws by Fort gave the Aztecs a 27-25 lead going into halftime.
The Aztecs hit a snag offensively in the third quarter when the Toreros employed a full-court press that forced eight turnovers for the Aztecs and allowed them to only take six shots.
USD also switched to a zone defense in the second half, which slowed the Aztecs’ offense down.
“We’re really hard to guard man-to-man so a lot of teams are playing us zone and that’s where those lulls (in scoring) are coming,” Terry said.
As a result, USD went on a 15-4 run over six minutes and took a 42-33 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“We have had these stretches where we have gone seven minutes without scoring and that just kills us as far as the offensive production goes,” Terry said. “We have to find a way to get easy baskets when we are struggling to score.”
SDSU made a push to come back late in the fourth quarter, aided by a couple of 3s by junior guard Kymberly Ellison, but USD matched those 3s and pulled away for a 60-53 win.
Ellison and Fort led the Aztecs in scoring with 14 points each and the team shot 40 percent from field for the game.
USD senior guard Malina Hood entered the game averaging 19.8 points and 5.8 rebounds. She finished the game with 21 points and eight rebounds to lead all scorers.
Coming into the game the Aztecs were 2-0 when they held opponents to 60 points or less.
The next matchup for SDSU is Monday at 7 p.m. at Cal State Northridge.