Aztec Basketball Ends Utah's 25-Game Conference Win Streak, 55-49
Feb. 11, 2009
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State women's basketball team handed visiting Utah its first MWC loss since March 2007, ending the nation's longest conference win streak at 25 games with a 55-49 victory Wednesday evening at Cox Arena. With the win, the Aztecs stayed perfect at home this season with a 12-0 mark, improving to 17-5 overall following their record eighth Mountain West Conference victory (8-2). Utah, meanwhile, dropped to 16-7 and 9-1 in conference action.
"If you want to be a champion, you have to beat a champion," SDSU head coach Beth Burns said. "Utah is unflappable. We brought as much heat as we could muster, and it still didn't faze them in terms of their ability to keep coming back. (This win) means that much more because of the quality of the [Utah's] coach and the opponent. Our defense was very, very good. We learned a ton from playing them (in Salt Lake) earlier this season. We learned what we had to do (to win) and the combination of our defense and keeping them off the free-throw line, where they are lights out, (were keys in the victory)."
The Aztecs had three players score in double-figures, including sophomore center Paris Johnson (San Diego, Calif.), who dominated inside, hitting her first six shots from the field and finishing with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Johnson also matched a career-high with six blocked shots and tallied a team-high eight rebounds. Sophomore Quenese Davis (Sacramento, Calif.) recorded seven assists for the fourth straight outing to go with 11 points and three steals.
Junior Jené Morris (San Francisco, Calif.) joined Davis and Johnson in playing the entire second half, notching 11 points herself and three steals. Senior Jennifer Layton-Bailes (Sacramento, Calif.) tallied six boards and three steals, while sophomore Coco Davis (Sacramento, Calif.) added three assists and pulled down two critical offensive rebounds in the final three minutes.
San Diego State got off to a quick start, outscoring Utah 10-3 in the first three and a half minutes of the game. The Utes cut their deficit down to three on back-to-back jumpers in the paint by Katie King, but the Aztecs then reeled off six straight points to move ahead by nine at 16-7.
SDSU would lead by as many as 13 points at the 4:49 mark, but Utah, which committed 15 first-half turnovers, went into the break on an 11-0 run to close the gap all the way down to just a pair at 30-28.
Two straight Johnson jumpers put the Aztecs back in the lead by six at 34-28 coming out of the locker room. The Utes, however, continued to stay within striking distance, getting back to a three-point deficit with 11:41 remaining on a three-pointer by Kalee Whipple.
Aztec freshman forward Candace Chambers (Seattle, Calif.) countered Whipple's bucket with a lay-up 14 seconds later, starting a 7-0 San Diego State run to push the lead back into double-figures at 49-39.
The Utes were within seven points on two occasions, including with 37 seconds remaining, but Quenese Davis made the first of two free throws and Johnson snagged the offensive rebound on the second attempt to run more time off the clock, as the Aztecs captured the 55-49 win.
SDSU shot above 40 percent from the field for the sixth-straight game, despite going 0-for-9 from beyond the arc. Utah won the rebounding battle by nine, but had an uncharacteristic 24 turnovers on the night.
The Utes were led by Whipple's 20 points and four steals, while Halie Sawyer had a game-high nine rebounds.
San Diego State heads to Wyoming for a Sunday afternoon match-up with the Cowgirls at 2 p.m. MT at Arena-Auditorium. The outing will be televised live on The Mtn., while Chris Ello will have the audio call on SDSU's official website, www.goaztecs.com.