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Aztecs move to 5-2 on the year


Photo:  McKynzie Fort tallied a season-high 26 points at Arizona on Sunday.  Courtesy

December 3, 2017 (Tucson) - Senior McKynzie Fort scored a season-high 26 points to help the San Diego State women’s basketball team to a 78-67 conquest of Arizona in a nonconference game Sunday at McKale Center.

Fort shot 58.3 percent from the floor on 7-of-12 field-goal attempts and matched her career-best with an 11-for-12 effort at the free-throw line, as the Aztecs won their second straight and snapped a five-game losing streak against Pac-12 schools dating back to December 2012.

With the victory, SDSU sits a 5-2, marking its best seven-game start to a season since the 2007-08 squad went 6-1. Conversely, the Wildcats dropped their fifth straight to fall to 2-5 on the year.

In addition to Fort’s heroics, the Aztecs received double-digit scoring totals from freshman Najé Murray (13 points and senior Geena Gomez (12 points), who tied for game-high honors with seven assists.

Sophomore Baylee Vanderdoes also got into the act with six rebounds to tie Fort for the team lead, while senior Khalia Lark finished with seven points and five boards of her own.

Despite getting outscored 30-18 in the paint, SDSU more than made up for it with an 11-for-21 effort (52.3 percent) from beyond the three-point arc to go with a 21-for-25 display (84 percent) at the charity stripe.

Clinging to a 69-67 lead, the Aztecs cemented the win after sinking seven of eight free throws in the final three minutes of the contest.

The two teams battled through seven ties and three lead changes before SDSU built a 36-25 bulge on a Fort jumper with 2:29 left in the second quarter.

Arizona responded with a 19-8 surge through intermission to tie the score at 44-44 by the 5:09 mark of the third quarter. JaLea Bennett scored 10 points during that span, while Destiny Graham added six.

However, the Aztecs quickly answered with a pivotal 13-2 blitz to vault in front for good. Senior Cheyenne Greenhouse sank two free throws to cap the run, giving the Scarlet and Black another 11-point cushion at 57-46 with 18 seconds to go in the period.

The Wildcats remained within striking distance for much of the fourth quarter, twice narrowing the gap to two, including a 69-67 spread following a Graham basket at the 3:05 mark, but could draw no closer.

Arizona was paced by Bennett’s 23 points, Graham totaled 14 in the loss. The host school also received 12 points from Sam Thomas, while Sammy Fatkin finished with 11, including a trio of three-pointers.

San Diego State opens a three-game homestand on Friday, Dec. 8 when it plays host to UC Irvine in a matinee at Steve Fisher Court, starting at noon PT.


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