March 9, 2013
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State women's basketball team celebrated its Senior Day festivities in style with an 86-45 triumph over Boise State in the Mountain West regular-season finale Saturday at Viejas Arena. With the victory, the Aztecs (24-5, 15-1 MW), who captured the outright league title earlier in the week, match the program's second-longest winning streak at 15 games and tie for the second-best conference record ever in MW history.
Fittingly, SDSU's performance was fueled by its four senior starters, including Courtney Clements (Long Beach, Calif.), who drained four 3-pointers en route to a game-high 26 points, while Chelsea Hopkins (Las Vegas, Nev.) logged her incredible fourth triple-double of the season with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. In addition, Malia Nahinu (Hayward, Calif. reached double digits in scoring with 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go with a career-high six blocks, while Gabrielle Clark (Los Angeles, Calif.) chipped in seven points and six rebounds. The Aztec cause was also advanced by sophomore Erimma Amarikwa (Vacaville, Calif.) who tallied 10 points on the afternoon, while fellow classmate Ahjalee Harvey (Mountain View, Calif.) finished with six points and a collegiate-best eight assists.
As a team, SDSU shot 47.9 percent from the floor (35-73), including a blazing 64.7 percent pace (22-34) in the second half, while dishing out a season-high 25 assists. On the flip side, the shorthanded Broncos (11-18, 4-12 MW), who dressed just eight players, connected on 28.3 percent of their field-goal attempts (17-60) and were out-rebounded by a 50-30 margin.
Inspired by the Senior Day ceremony prior to the opening tip, SDSU broke out of the gates quickly, as back-to-back triples by Clark and Clements keyed a 16-4 blitz in the opening 7:19 of the game. Moments later, freshman Aleiah Brandon (Corona, Calif.) added to the momentum with a jumper from the right baseline to provide the Aztecs an insurmountable 24-6 lead with 8:24 remaining.
Boise State never got closer than 15 points the rest of the way, as the Scarlet and Black upped its 32-15 halftime advantage to a comfortable 57-21 spread by the 12:48 mark of the second half following a pair of Hopkins free throws. With victory long-since secured, junior Danesha Long (Long Beach, Calif.) closed out the scoring with a jumper in the waning seconds to give the contest its final outcome.
The Broncos were led by Laura Pelse's 10 points, while Rosalie Cutri finished with nine points and four assists in the loss.
The Aztecs were a perfect 10-for-10 at the free-throw line, marking their highest percentage of the year, while their 50-point second half was a season-best as well. With her performance, Clements moved into sixth place on SDSU's all-time scoring list with 1,406 career points on The Mesa.
SDSU enters the Reese's Mountain West Championship next week as the No. 1 seed and will square off against either Air Force or Nevada in the quarterfinal round on Thursday, March 14, beginning at noon inside the Thomas & Mack Center.