Jan. 26, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - San Diego State senior Courtney Clements (Long Beach, Calif.) scored a game-high 21 points, including 13 in the first half, and the Aztec women's basketball team won its fifth straight, racing to a 63-39 victory over host New Mexico on Saturday at The Pit.
Clements was one of three Aztec players to grab seven rebounds added tied her career best with four assists and four steals to help SDSU (14-5, 5-1 MW) capture its fifth straight in Albuquerque and maintain its perch atop the conference standings. The Aztecs also received another solid performance from senior Chelsea Hopkins (Las Vegas, Nev.), who finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and a game-high five assists, while sophomore Erimma Amarikwa (Vacaville, Calif.) contributed eight points and seven boards of her own.
SDSU shot 49 percent from the floor (25-51) for the game, while Lobos (10-8, 2-3 MW) were limited to a 34.7 field goal percentage (17-49), including a 29.2 percent clip in the first half (7-24). The Aztecs also took care of business at the free throw line, draining 9 of 12 attempts, while UNM struggled at the stripe, converting just 4 of 18 tries.
In addition, the SDSU outscored the Lobos 26-13 off turnovers, forcing 19 UNM miscues, while maintaining a 34-24 advantage in the paint.
The Aztecs never trailed in the contest, building a 21-9 bulge by the 8:42 mark of the first half following a Clements layup and 3-pointer. Shortly thereafter, sophomores Ahjalee Harvey (Mountain View, Calif.) and Chairese Culberson (Oakland, Calif.) got into the act, draining consecutive baskets on the inside to put the SDSU firmly in control at 28-13 with 6:01 remaining. Then with the clock winding down, senior Malia Nahinu (Hayward, Calif.) converted a layup, Hopkins dialed up a triple, while Amarikwa sank two foul shots to give the Scarlet and Black a 35-16 cushion at intermission.
The Aztecs added to their advantage with a 13-2 spurt in the opening five minutes of the second half, as a Clements jumper put the visitors up 48-18. UNM reeled off seven straight points over the next 2:28, including five by Sara Halasz; however, the deficit proved too much to overcome. SDSU successfully kept the Lobos at bay with another sizeable 13-4 run, capped by a Harvey layup, to give the Scarlet and Black its biggest lead of the night at 61-29 with 3:38 remaining.
UNM was paced by Halasz's nine points and five rebounds, while Deeva Vaughn finished with eight points in the loss. The Aztecs limited the Lobos' leading scorer Caroline Durbin to just two points on a layup with two minutes elapsed in the second period.
SDSU will have a mid-week bye before returning to action on Saturday, Feb. 2, against Air Force at Viejas Arena. Opening tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. PT.