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SDSU has a 6-2 record at home this season


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January 18, 2017 (San Diego) - San Diego State women’s basketball fashioned one of its most exhilarating games of the season, using a season-high 14 long balls, its most in nearly 13 years, to take down UNLV in Mountain West action, 87-68, Wednesday night at Viejas Arena.

With the win, San Diego State moves to an even 3-3 against Mountain West opponents and is now 8-9 on the season with a 6-2 mark at Viejas Arena. The loss for UNLV snaps a three-game conference win streak and moves the Rebels to 3-3 in Mountain West play, while falling to 12-6 overall.

“I thought we played really well,” head coach Stacie Terry said. “I was really proud of the way we shared the ball. We spent a lot of time since we lost at Utah State watching film on where we missed opportunities to share the ball. When we play together, we play a lot better. I’m excited to see this team have some success with that philosophy and it was fun to watch them share the ball.”

As has been the modus operandi for the Aztecs since conference play began, they continued their incredible play from beyond the 3-point arc, knocking down 14 3-pointers for a season high and their most since Feb. 10, 2005 in a 91-45 win over Utah Valley State College. San Diego State’s ball movement was a major reason for its success, as the team recorded 24 helpers, the most since the 2014-15 season opener against Sacramento State.

“Taking care of the ball was one of our offensive keys,” Terry said. “We knew that we were going to see a lot of pressure. UNLV is one of the best at getting out and denying, so we spent some time this week on different entries getting the ball in. But we did a great job at taking care of the ball and I’m excited for the team.”

San Diego State shot 55.6 percent (30-for-54) from the floor, its second-best shooting performance of the year after shooting 55.8 percent against Boise State (29-for-52). UNLV, which had held its previous three opponents to 55-or-fewer points, connected on 40 percent of its attempts (24-for-60). 

Lexy Thorderson and Kymberly Ellison paced the Scarlet and Black with 21 points apiece. Thorderson drilled a career-best seven treys, while Ellison was 7-for-11 from the floor. Ariell Bostick posted a team-best seven helpers, slightly ahead of Geena Gomez, who matched a career-high with six assists. Khalia Lark got an SDSU-best seven boards alongside 13 points, while McKynzie Fort was 5-for-7 versus the Rebels for 15 points.

SDSU got off to a slower start in the game, trailing 12-5 with 3:37 remaining in the first. But Thorderson and the Aztecs’ first three of the contest got the momentum to swing in the Scarlet and Black’s direction, as the team proceeded to go on a 18-5 run to end the frame. 

After Kymberly Ellison made a pair of free throws, Fort displayed an awesome individual effort at 2:54 when she tapped the ball out of Brooke Johnson’s hands and raced it down the court for a layup.

Thorderson then hit threes on back-to-back possessions to give SDSU its first lead of the game at 18-17 with 1:31 to go in the period. After Fort made a pair of free throws on a technical foul called against UNLV’s Dakota Gonzalez, Lark drilled San Diego State’s fourth 3-pointer of the game with just four seconds remaining in the frame for the 23-17 score after 10 minutes.

In the second quarter, UNLV was able to get the game within three at 33-30 as 3:14 was on the clock. But SDSU out-scored the Rebels, 11-2, to end the first half and take a 44-32 advantage into the intermission.    

The third quarter started with UNLV scoring five unanswered points. The Scarlet and Black, however, was undeterred, going on a 24-9 run for the remainder of the third quarter to snag a 68-46 lead heading into the final frame. 

In the fourth quarter, San Diego State was out-scored, 22-19, but its cushion was too great for the Rebels to overcome for the final 87-68 Aztec victory. 

During the game, Aztecs’ play in transition was promising, as the team out-paced the Rebels on fast break points, 10-2. SDSU utilized its lineup to its full potential, with 10 players recording points and earning the 15-4 advantage on bench points. San Diego State also held margins in steals (6-5), assists (24-9) and points off turnovers (17-16).

The Aztecs are off for a week before returning to Viejas Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 25 with a 6:30 p.m. game against Air Force.

“This league is wide-open and we need to make sure that we protect our home court,” said Terry. “We did our job tonight but now we need to shift our focus to Air Force before we go back on the road and sneak one out at Colorado State.”

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