#AztecWBB Nets Big Road Win at Wyoming, 57-51
Feb. 20, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. - Senior Courtney Clements (Long Beach, Calif.) scored a game-high 22 points and classmate Chelsea Hopkins (Las Vegas, Nev.) added 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead the San Diego State women's basketball team to a gritty 57-51 victory over Wyoming in a Mountain West clash Wednesday at Arena-Auditorium in Laramie, Wyo.
After outscoring their last 10 opponents by an average of 20 points, the Aztecs (20-5, 11-1 MW) found themselves in a tight battle against a formidable Cowgirl squad which was unbeaten at home this season. However, timely baskets and clutch free throws propelled SDSU to its 11th consecutive win, while Wyoming (19-6, 8-4 MW) dropped its second straight.
Coupled with Fresno State's (17-8, 9-3 MW) upset loss at home to Nevada, the Aztecs have opened up a two-game lead in the conference standings with four games to go in the regular season.
Neither side shot the ball particularly well, with SDSU posting a 36.4 field-goal percentage (20-55) for the game, compared to Wyoming's 35.2 percent clip (19-54). After draining a trio of 3-pointers in the first half, however, the Cowgirls came up empty on six tries from long range following the break. Meanwhile, the Aztecs drained four treys on the evening and sank three more free throws than their hosts (13-10).
Although the two teams combined for just 15 turnovers, SDSU maintained an 11-6 edge in points off those miscues and outscored Wyoming in the paint by a 22-18 margin.
Individually, Clements surpassed the 20-point plateau for the 10th time this season, draining two triples to go with a 4-for-4 effort at the free-throw line, while Hopkins notched her 10th double-double of the year and dished out four assists. In addition, sophomore Kiyana Stamps (Moreno Valley, Calif.) provided a huge spark off the bench with a season-high seven points on 3-of-4 shooting, while senior Malia Nahinu (Hayward, Calif.) tallied six points and nine rebounds.
The Aztecs fell behind 11-2 after the first three-and-a-half minutes of the game before fighting themselves off the ropes with a 17-5 outburst over the ensuing 6:41 to grab their first lead of the night at 19-16 by the 9:44 mark. Clements scored nine points during that span; Hopkins added a triple and converted a three-point opportunity, while Stamps hit a tough jumper in traffic to key the run.
The Cowgirls responded with an 11-1 surge of their own, reclaiming a 27-20 advantage following a 3-pointer by Kaitlyn Mileto with 1:54 left in the half. However, SDSU scored the final five points of the period on a Nahinu jumper and another Hopkins and-one conversion to trim the deficit to 27-25 at intermission.
The Aztecs maintained the momentum in the second half, as two clutch baskets by Stamps punctuated a 15-5 blitz to give the visitors in front for good at 40-32 by the 13:28 mark. Still, Wyoming kept within striking distance, pulling to within 42-38 following an Ashley Sickles layup with 9:50 to go. Sensing a shift in the proverbial tide, the Cowgirls were in position to force a turnover on SDSU's next possession. However, sophomore Ahjalee Harvey (Mountain View, Calif.) buried a huge 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to put the Aztecs up 45-38.
Wyoming flashed its resiliency, though, as Chaundra Sewell scored six straight points, while Chelan Landry soon added a pair of free throws to narrow the gap to 48-46 with 1:12 to go. Shortly thereafter, Clements followed with another huge jumper right in front of the Aztec bench, while Hopkins hit two foul shots to give the Scarlet and Black a 52-47 advantage with 28 seconds to go. After Mileto connected on a basket on the Cowgirls' next foray up the court, SDSU sealed the win with five free throws down the stretch, including four by Clements.
Sewell finished with 21 points to lead Wyoming; Mileto added 11, while Sickles notched seven points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
The Aztecs, who clinched their fourth 20-win season in the last five years, continue their road swing on Saturday when they square off against Nevada at Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev. Opening tip is set for 4 p.m. PT.