Senior Lexy Thorderson and freshman Najé Murray each made four 3-pointers
Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
November 10, 2017 (San Diego) - San Diego State women’s basketball opened the 2017-18 campaign with a bang, knocking down 12 3-pointers, the most in a season opener in 15 years, to beat Presbyterian 77-50 Friday afternoon.
The season debut for both teams, SDSU moves to 1-0 while the Blue Hose of Presbyterian, which competes in the Big South conference, falls to 0-1. The 27-point season-opening win was the biggest season-debut victory of head coach Stacie Terry’s five-year career at SDSU.
SDSU’s 12 long balls were the most in a campaign opener since at least the 2002-03 season. Both freshman Najé Murray and senior Lexy Thorderson were 4-for-7 from 3-point range. Murray notched 14 points in just 13 minutes on the floor while Thorderson finished the game with 12 points and six rebounds.
Preseason All-Mountain West pick McKynzie Fort led the Aztecs offensively with 16 points on two threes to go alongside seven boards. Senior Geena Gomez dished out six assists, matching a career high, while sophomore Baylee Vanderdoes brought down five rebounds.
Displaying the depth of its 2017-18 team, San Diego State’s bench was a major key to its success. The Aztecs’ bench scored 39 of the team’s 77 total points to Presbyterian’s five bench points.
Said Terry of her team’s depth, “We’re really excited about it. I think our starters are doing a good job getting us off to a good start and when we sub, we don’t lose much. That’s always what you want, is to be able to bring people off the bench to get you going. It’s allowed us to be more competitive in practice, which has raised our level. If we can get 39 points off the bench every game, we’re going to be okay.”
Just 12 seconds into the game, Fort opened scoring quickly for SDSU with a 3-point shot. Less than a minute later, Thorderson knocked down a long ball of her own. Gomez followed suit on the next SDSU possession with a three from the right side for the 9-2 lead just 1:58 into the game.
Fort drilled her second long ball of the night with just two-and-a-half minutes to go in the period for the 16-8 score. Cheyenne Greenhouse floated in a foul-line jumper on the next Aztec possession. Two shot clock violations by the Blue Hose in the first quarter highlighted SDSU’s defensive play, helping San Diego State to an 18-10 lead after 10 minutes of play.
The Aztecs’ offense continued to fire on all cylinders to open the second quarter. Started off by Naomi Ekwedike’s layup 36 seconds in, Gomez put down a left-corner three at 8:51, followed up by a straightaway three by Thorderson at 8:15 and a second long ball just 25 seconds later. Thorderson drilled another shot from beyond the arc at 6:33. SDSU continued to press and closed out the first half with a commanding 42-27 advantage.
As the game progressed, the Scarlet and Black freshmen were entrusted with more playing time and made the most of it. With 50 seconds to go in the third quarter, Te’a Adams’ bounce pass through two defenders to an open Greenhouse at the basket allowed the senior to lift it in and put the Scarlet and Black up, 56-38. In the fourth, Murray hit a trio of threes, the first of her collegiate career, drilling one from the left side of the basket, one from the right and one head-on. The first-year players helped San Diego State dominate in the final frame, 19-11, for the final 77-50 score.
For the game, the Scarlet and Black shot 50 percent from the floor (30-for-60), going 12-for-26 from beyond the 3-point arc. Presbyerian, meanwhile, shot 33.9 percent (21-for-62) and was 4-for-31 (12.9 percent) from range.
SDSU out-rebounded the Blue Hose, 45-26, serving up 22 helpers to Presbyterian’s 12 assists. Second-chance points were 12-5, in favor of the Aztecs.
San Diego State continues its three-game homestand to open the season, welcoming CSUN to Viejas Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m.