SDSU women’s basketball ends rocky regular season with 62-51 loss to UNLV

by Brandon Truffa, Senior Staff Writer

Looking to spoil its bitter rival’s senior night, the San Diego State women’s basketball team traveled to UNLV to close out its regular season with a matchup against the Runnin’ Rebels.

The Rebels downed the Aztecs, though, 62-51, mainly behind an incredible effort from 3-point range.

Aside from the Rebels honoring their seniors, both teams took the final game as an opportunity to raise awareness for anti-bullying. Both teams wore mismatched socks in support of the “Misfit March Madness” initiative.

However the only thing that was spoiled and mismatched were the Aztecs’ hopes of capping off its rocky season with a win as it heads into the Mountain West Tournament.

SDSU jumped out to an early 9-3 lead in the first quarter. The Aztecs then traded baskets with UNLV and found themselves with only a 17-16 lead at the end of the first frame.

The Rebels pulled away late in the second quarter and didn’t look back.

With the game knotted at 22, UNLV ended the quarter with a 13-3 run, which was capped off with a buzzer-beater by sophomore guard Brooke Johnson.

Heading out of the locker room at halftime, SDSU was looking heat up its cold shooting that closed out the first half. The Aztecs put up only eight points in the second quarter.

But, the cold froze over into the second half, and the Aztecs were held to only seven points in the third, and trailed 47-32 entering the final quarter.

SDSU began to pick up steam in the final frame and pushed UNLV for a comeback.

However, it was too little too late and the rival Rebels were able to coast to the victory.

UNLV drowned the Aztecs from behind the 3-point line, shooting 60 percent from long range (9 for 15).

Four of the Rebels’ nine 3-pointers came from Johnson, who finished 4 for 5 from long range.

Johnson finished with 16 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Friday night’s stat sheet contained a rare sight for the Aztecs, as sophomore guard McKynzie Fort was not the leading scorer.

Senior forward Deidra Smith capped off her final regular season collegiate game with a team-high 14 points, along with eight rebounds and a steal.

Fort, on the other hand, only finished with 10 points, three assists and three rebounds.

SDSU has not won at UNLV since 2013 and this season was swept by its rival. The Rebels defeated the Aztecs 55-41 at Viejas Arena back on Jan. 30. The 41 points were the second lowest total the Aztecs were held to this season.

The Aztecs finished the regular season with a 11-18 overall record, which includes a 6-12 record in the MW, enough to finish eighth in the conference.

All MW teams will make the tournament this season in Las Vegas, but starting in the 2016-17 season, only the top eight will be invited.

On Monday, the Aztecs will return back to Las Vegas for its first-round matchup against University of Wyoming, a team SDSU defeated in both meetings this season.