Women's Hoops Erases 16-Point Deficit But Falls At UCLA 78-71
Nov. 30, 2011
LOS ANGELES -
The San Diego State women's basketball team rallied from a 16-point deficit to take a three-point second-half lead, but wasn't able to come out with a victory, as the Aztecs fell 78-71 to host UCLA Wednesday at the John Wooden Center. With the loss, SDSU dropped to 4-2 this season, while the Bruins improved to 4-2 after defeating the visitors for the second year in a row.
Aztec junior Courtney Clements (Long Beach, Calif.) led the team in scoring with 19 points, but made just seven of her 24 field-goal attempts, including a 1-for-8 mark from beyond the arc. Sophomore Melissa Sweat (Bakersfield, Calif.) matched her career high with 14 points, highlighted by 12 in the second half, while freshman Erimma Amarikwa (Vacaville, Calif.) and junior Chelsea Hopkins (Las Vegas, Nev.) both finished with eight points apiece. Hopkins had six of the team's nine assists and she, along with Clements and senior Kalena Tutt (Long Beach, Calif.), all added six rebounds.
The Aztecs got off to a quick start with a 6-0 lead on baskets from three different players, but the Bruins finally got on the board at the 17:35 mark and took their first lead of the night at 9-8. UCLA then utilized some hot shooting and got a number of second-chance buckets, putting together what would later amount to be a 22-0 run to go up by 16 points with the score at 24-8.
San Diego State, however, would battle back, as a jumper from junior Malia Nahinu (Hayward, Calif.) ended a near seven-minute drought to give her team its ninth and 10th points of the contest. Clements then notched 10 of SDSU's next 12 points and received help from three of the squad's freshmen, who contributed a basket apiece to cut the deficit all the way to just four points at 35-31. The Bruins converted on a 3-point play in the final eight seconds by Rhema Gardner to extend the lead back out to 38-31 heading into the locker room.
Coming out of the break, the Aztecs quickly made a dent in their deficit, getting a bucket from Clements and two lay-ups from Hopkins in under a minute. SDSU successfully completed the come back on a 3-point play from Amarikwa to take its first lead since the first half at 40-39 with 17:48 remaining.
The two sides were tied twice and traded advantages three times before UCLA outscored the Aztecs 15-4 to push it once again to a double-figure Bruin lead at 59-49. The home squad reached the double bonus by the 9:45 mark and made good on four of six free throws while adding a wide-open triple from Thea Lemberger to open the gap to 14 points on two occasions.
The Aztecs cut that deficit in half with under 30 seconds remaining before ultimately falling by that same seven-point margin, 78-71.
After being outrebounded by four in the first 20 minutes, San Diego State finished the game with a plus-four advantage on the glass (41-37). UCLA owned a slight lead in field-goal percentage, but was 4-of-7 from 3-point range (57.1 percent) and attempted 17 more free throws, making 24 of them despite entering the contest with a 60.0 season percentage at the stripe.
The Bruins were led by Atonye Nyingifa's 21 points and Rebekah Gardner's 20 points.
San Diego State ends its three-game swing against Pac-12 Conference members on Friday as they travel to Pullman, Wash., for a 7 p.m. PT game against Washington State.