Aztecs look to build off MWC tournament run

Then-sophomore Téa Adams attacks the post during the Aztecs' 54-45 victory over Colorado State last season on Feb. 13 at Viejas Arena.

Kareem Jones

Then-sophomore Téa Adams attacks the post during the Aztecs' 54-45 victory over Colorado State last season on Feb. 13 at Viejas Arena.

by Breven Honda, Staff Writer

San Diego State women’s basketball is trending upward heading into the 2019-20 season.

In each of the past four seasons, SDSU has increased its three-point percentage, field goal percentage, assists and rebounds.

And SDSU hopes to continue that into the new year.

Despite being the seventh seed in the Mountain West Conference Tournament last March, the Aztecs pulled off an upset over No. 2 New Mexico and lost an overtime heartbreaker against No. 3 Wyoming in the semifinals.

The victory over the Lobos – which included the Aztecs posting a conference record of 59 rebounds –  was their first MWC tournament win in three seasons. It was also the first time since 2013 they beat two teams in the same tournament.

Aztecs’ head coach Stacie Terry said the team used last year’s tournament as momentum into the offseason, hoping to expand off it when the season begins.

“We bottled that up, took it with us in the summer and into the fall because we now feel worthy, or that we’re in the same league as some of the top teams in the Mountain West Conference,” Terry said. “We’ve kind of built on that and use that as fuel to show them how close we were to actually going to the tournament – winning the conference tournament and possibly going to the Big Dance.”

One of the standout players from last year’s team was sophomore guard Sophia Ramos, who was named to the Mountain West All-Tournament team (the only freshman on the team) and the Mountain West All-Freshman Team.

Ramos was the only true freshman in the country to average at least 13.5 points, four rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.

In addition, Ramos posted the most points and assists by an Aztec freshman since 1992.

Although Ramos posted 4.5 assists per game, Terry said she has seen Ramos’ growth but would like to her improve her decision-making.

“She has so much confidence in her game and has consistently been really good in our practices so far,” Terry said. “She’s a different type of kid. She doesn’t do anything fast, she’s not crazy athletic, but she is really efficient. One of our goals is to get her assists up and her turnovers down.”

Ramos’ confidence from last season came from some of her teammates.

“Last year, I got really lucky in having Najé (Murray) and Téa (Adams) be my people to help me be successful, help show me what is expected and make sure I was comfortable in that spot,” Ramos said. “It helped having Mallory (Adams) having (to) keep me calm, keep me sane.”

Despite the loss of Ramos’ guardmate, Najé Murray, who transferred to California, the Aztecs were able to land senior guard Taylor Kalmer, who comes from an Oregon State program that went to three straight NCAA tournaments, including the 2016 Final Four.

Terry, who is in her seventh season as head coach, said Kalmer gives confidence and maturity to a young team with aspirations.

“With the addition of Taylor, we have some veteran leadership,” Terry said. “We got a year older, and we brought a senior in the mix. I think we’re experienced and we’re poised to make a run in the conference.”

The Aztecs begin the season Nov. 5 at Hawaii before playing five straight home games, starting with Towson at noon on Nov. 9 at Viejas Arena.

Aaron Tolentino and Cristian Alvarez contributed reporting to this story.

Breven Honda is a junior studying journalism. Follow him on Twitter @BrevenHonda.

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