Story and photos by Liz Alper
Quotes courtesy Jen Heisel
January 7, 2017 (San Diego) - After getting back on track in conference play with a win against Nevada on Wednesday night, the lady Aztecs took Steve Fisher Court again for a Saturday matinee against Boise State.
The Aztecs were off to a hot start, with junior guard Geena Gomez scoring the first three points and junior guard/forward Lexy Thorderson hitting a big three. But ultimately, poor defense and fouls led to the Broncos pulling away, but the Aztecs stayed close and a big quarter-ending three by Thorderson cut the Broncos’ lead to 20-19 at the end of the first.
In the second quarter, the Aztecs showed that they still have trouble getting defensive boards, as Boise State’s offense, the best in the Mountain West, took advantage, got offensive rebounds and stayed ahead, despite the Aztecs staying close by way of Thorderson’s clutch threes. The Aztecs took their first lead of the game since the first quarter with junior guard McKynzie Fort’s smooth finger roll. Fort was perfect from the free throw line and Thorderson was perfect from beyond the arc and led SDSU in first half points with 15 and the Aztecs went to the locker room up 36-34.
In the second half, after a good start to the third quarter, the Aztecs lost the edge they had at the end of the second and found themselves trailing again. The upsides were that they stayed close and were much better at rebounding defensively. That is, they kept it close until Boise State junior guard Riley Lupfer and senior guard Brook Pahukoa knocked down two big threes and the Broncos took their biggest lead of the game after three, 61-54.
At one point in the fourth, the Aztecs were down 66-54, but midway through the quarter, they found their way back in a big way. Three back to back to back threes by Thorderson, Gomez and senior guard Kymberly Ellison gave the Aztecs a 67-66 lead. Ellison drained three more from beyond the arc and SDSU erased an eight-point deficit in a matter of minutes. SDSU played hard in the final minutes and their epic comeback paid off as they defeated the Broncos 84-77.
“In conference play, it’s going to be a battle every night and we have to make sure we’re prepared,” said head coach Stacie Terry. “I tell the team that we’re shooting the ball really well right now but that won’t always be the case. When we go on the road like we’re about to for these next two games, we have to do a better job defensively. This is a good conference and every night, you’re going to get the other team’s best and we have to do a better job there.”
Said Thorderson, “This conference seems like it’s really wide open. You never know what can happen. Tonight was a good win for us and I think it’ll be good for us to go into conference with this win. We believe in ourselves and know that anything can happen.”
The Aztecs head on the road again, this time to San Jose State for a Wednesday night game. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m.
Play by play
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