Women’s basketball comes up short against Fresno State

Sophomore+guard+Sophia+Ramos+goes+up+for+a+contest+layup+during+the+Aztecs%27+65-60+loss+to+Fresno+State+on+Jan.+15+at+Viejas+Arena.

Aaron Tolentino

Sophomore guard Sophia Ramos goes up for a contest layup during the Aztecs' 65-60 loss to Fresno State on Jan. 15 at Viejas Arena.

by Cristian Alvarez, Staff Writer

San Diego State women’s basketball team fell 65-60 to Fresno State on Jan. 15 at Viejas Arena.

The Aztecs (8-11, 3-4 Mountain West Conference) faced the first place team in the conference in the Bulldogs (13-4, 6-0 MWC), handing SDSU its first home loss since Dec. 28.

Here are three observations from the game.

First half success, second half slump    

Things were ugly the last time the Aztecs played the Bulldogs. The Scarlet and Black lost by 25 points on the road. 21 turnovers were committed and only three assists were dished out in that game. It was their second-worst loss all season.

On Wednesday night the Aztecs’ defensive efforts kept them in a closer affair. After two quarters at Viejas, SDSU had a five-point lead.

Fresno State started the game on a 15-6 run. The Aztecs responded by taming the Bulldogs to 2-of-21 shooting to end the half. The visitors scored only five points in the second period.

The top three scorers for Fresno State – led by the freshmen guard Cavinder twins, Haley and Hanna, along with the Mountain West Player of the Week junior forward Maddie Utti, had their way on Jan. 1 where they combined for 50 points.

By halftime on Wednesday, the three only had 8 points on 4-of-19 shooting.

There was only one problem left: there were two more quarters left to play. Fresno State was different in the second half.

The Bulldogs outscored the Aztecs 45-35 and the three-headed monster for Fresno State came alive. The Cavinder twins and Utti had 32 points in the third and fourth quarters.

Fresno State found a way to win in spite of shooting 33% overall compared to the Aztecs 39% and losing the rebound battle 43-41.

The Aztecs are now 5-4 when winning the rebound margin.

“That one hurt. We kind of did that to ourselves,” senior guard Taylor Kalmer said after the game.

Depth in the rotation

11 of SDSU’s 12 eligible players participated in the contest against the Bulldogs.

More minutes allowed newcomers like freshmen guards Isabela Hernandez and Talia Sireni to get experience in conference play.

The center position had four changes throughout the course of the game.

Senior center Zayn Dornstauder said head coach Stacie Terry-Hutson put an emphasis on the centers to step up.

“I think it shows the hard work is paying off,” Dornstauder said. “In practice, the bigs have definitely stepped up more this year.”

The Aztecs’ bench contributed 19 of their 65 points.

Kalmer said it’s important for teams to carry depth throughout the year.

“We need that depth especially the later we are in the season,” Kalmer said. “Come tournament time we’re going to need that.”

Kalmer said teams like Boise State demonstrate the importance of having an efficient rotation and how its contributed to a lot of their recent success in the conference.

“We noticed (Boise’s) depth is really well and everyone scores,” Kalmer said. “If we can get people more comfortable and get everyone out on the court it’s going to benefit us in the long run.”

Change of focus to what lies ahead

Following the Aztecs third loss in the new year, Kalmer said the team has to remain focused and take the season one game at a time.

“Each game we’re getting closer. It’s still frustrating knowing we could’ve beat the number one team tonight,” Kalmer said.

The Aztecs have two consecutive road games against Nevada followed by Wyoming. Trying to win on the road is a test for any team in college basketball.

Kalmer said the Aztecs are always up for the challenge to play in any type of environment.

“We need to set our standards a little bit higher and know that we can beat these teams,” Kalmer said. “With that mentality we can’t be satisfied with losing.”

San Diego State heads to Reno, Nev. for a matchup against the Wolfpack on Saturday.

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