Aztecs Kalena Tutt and Sajoyia Griffin Play in Last Home Game
By Ryan Schuler
March 2, 2012 (San Diego)--When the final buzzer hit 00.0 at Viejas Arena on Feb. 29, it was time for the celebration. Fans rushed the court. Music began blaring through the loud speakers. Both teams shook hands before the San Diego State women’s basketball team rushed to midcourt to join the rejoicing mob that had formed.
Coming into the home game against Boise State University, the Aztecs knew they were the Mountain West Conference regular-season champions, regardless of the result on Wednesday night. But with a win, the celebration of the program’s first outright championship in the league’s 13-year history would be that much more special.
The Aztecs would go on to defeat the Broncos, 58-41, to improve the 22-6 overall and 12-2 in Mountain West Conference play, and send seniors Kalena Tutt and Sajoyia Griffin out on a winning note in their last home games of their careers. Boise State, meanwhile, fell to 14-15 overall and 5-9 in the Mountain West Conference.
After the victory, SDSU cut down the net of one of their baskets, as often done in basketball after winning a championship, and watched as their Mountain West 2012 regular-season championship banner was unveiled.
“I didn’t tell them about the banner,” SDSU head coach Beth Burns said. “That was a surprise. Our party would’ve flopped if we lost the game.”
Junior guard Courtney Clements led all scorers with 22 points, while junior guard Chelsea Hopkins contributed 12 points to go along with seven assists.
Defense was the name of the game Wednesday night. The Aztecs held the Broncos to just 17 percent shooting and 14 total points in the first half. The Broncos would finish the game shooting just 29 percent, turning the ball over 26 times and going 0-for-12 on three-point attempts.
The play of the night went to freshman guard Ahjalee Harvey and her fast break, behind-the-back pass to Griffin for the and-one layup. Griffin would convert the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play.
“This team is the most unselfish team I have played with,” Tutt said. “Ahjalee had a layup, but chose to pass it. We kind of got in trouble during practice this year for sharing the ball a little bit too much.”
The Aztecs will now turn their attention to the Mountain West Conference tournament where they are the No. 1 seed. Their first game will be against the No. 8-seeded Air Force Academy at noon on Wednesday in Las Vegas, Nevada.