Aztec Women's Basketball Shocks First-Place Utah, 71-66
Feb. 3, 2007
SAN DIEGO - Behind a career-high 21 points by freshman Quenese Davis (Sacramento, Calif.), the San Diego State women's basketball team defeated visiting Utah for the first time in a decade, knocking off the conference co-leader Utes 71-66 Saturday afternoon at Cox Arena. With the victory, the Aztecs logged their first 10-win season since 2001-02, improving to 10-10 overall and 3-6 in league action. The Utes, who won their first seven conference outings before dropping their last two, moved to 14-8 and 7-2 in MWC play.
"We had a watershed moment," Aztec head coach Beth Burns said. "It's a great, great win and the older you get the more you learn to really enjoy the great ones. I want everyone in this locker room to reflect on how hard they've worked and how they've stuck with it. As young and as inexperienced as we are, we came out here ready to play and to win."
Davis scored 15 of her game-high 21 points in the second half, shooting 50 percent from the field and making 11 of 16 free-throw attempts, including 7-for-9 from the charity line in the final two minutes of the game. Davis beat her previous career-high in scoring of 18 points earlier this season versus Southern Utah and also added a team-best four assists to go with seven rebounds.
Fellow newcomer junior Jennifer Layton (Sacramento, Calif.) tallied 15 points, while junior Shannon Clay (Inglewood, Calif.) matched a career best with 12 points off the bench. Senior Desiree Johnson (Kahuku, Hawaii) had seven rebounds and sophomore point guard Tamika Lipford (Oceanside, Calif.), who entered the game averaging only 2.0 points per game, had a season-high nine points and her first career three-pointer.
The Aztecs got off to a slow start, as Utah raced out to an early 5-0 lead to start the afternoon. SDSU responded to that run with a 12-0 spurt with the help of six points by Layton to go up by seven at 12-5. Utah eventually caught up and knotted the game at 17 and 19 points apiece, before a Layton three-pointer with 3:57 left put the host ahead by three. The Aztecs went into the locker room clinging to only a two-point advantage at 28-26.
The two points would be as close as the Utes would get the rest of the afternoon, as SDSU built a 10-point lead at 54-44 on another Layton basket. After two Utah free throws, the Aztecs went on a 7-0 run for their largest lead of the afternoon at 15 points at 61-46.
The Utes remained in the game, trailing by only eight with 2:23 left and the score 64-56. Davis, however, made seven of her nine free-throw attempts in the final 1:59 and secured the final rebound as the Aztecs held on for the 71-66 upset.
Utah was led by Morgan Warburton's 19 points, while Kalee Whipple added a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort.
San Diego State's victory over Utah was its first since beating the Utes at the Western Athletic Conference tournament back on March 8, 1997 in Las Vegas, Nev., a span of 19 games. That game was Burns' final victory in her first stint as head coach of the Aztecs. SDSU's 71 points against Utah on Saturday is its most in the last 24 outings between the two schools, while the Aztecs improved to 9-3 at home this season, including a 3-1 record in conference action.
SDSU plays another conference home game Thursday at 7 p.m. when the UNLV Lady Rebels come to Cox Arena.