San Diego, Calif. - The San Jose State women's basketball team jumped out to an early advantage against San Diego State leading 21-12 after the first period, but hot second-half shooting by the Aztecs sent the Spartans to an 87-70 loss on Saturday afternoon in Viejas Arena.
In the first 10 minutes San Jose State (11-15, 9-6 MW) shot 44 percent (8-of-18) and hit 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Trailing 4-2 just over two minutes into the game, SJSU went on a 16-3 run which was fueled by threes from Ellie Stevens, Nyre Harris and Dezz Ramos and five points from Myzhanique Ladd.
During the run the Spartans held SDSU 0-of-8 from the field and forced two turnovers. Harris drained another three with just over a minute to play in the period to give SJSU a nine-point lead heading to the second quarter.
"When we play our matchup defense," head coach Jamie Craighead said, "we have to play it so tight and low so the only thing they potentially get is a three-point shot. We did that in the first quarter, they struggled and it gave us inside rebounding position."
All that good work started to slip away in the second quarter.
"We started moving out and getting wider on defense," Craighead said. "We gave up the blocks and elbows, which was crucial."
It took San Diego State just under four and a half minutes to erase the Spartans lead and after a pair of Ahjalee Harvey free throws the game was tied 26-26. Harvey led the Aztecs with 18 points and five assists. The majority of the damage SDSU did in the second quarter came at the free throw line, where they went 9-of-10, while the Spartans made two of their three opportunities and by halftime SDSU had forged ahead 39-36.
The third quarter was the pivot point of the game. San Diego State turned its three-point lead into 10 points, 46-36, within the first minute and half. Ramos, who led all scorers with 23 points, hit a jumper with 6:14 left in the period to get SJSU to within six, 51-45. However, the Aztecs closed the third on a 15-to-8 run, took a 13-point lead into the fourth and cruised to the 17-point win.
SDSU (10-15, 5-9 MW) shot 65 percent in the third period (11-of-17) and 47 percent (9-of-19) in the fourth out outscore SJSU 48-to-34 in the final 20 minutes.
"They got more comfortable as the game went on and then started hitting three-pointers (six in the second half)," Craighead said. "We've either struggled on the offensive or the defensive end the past couple of games and haven't been able to put together a complete four quarters. Despite that we've been winning, so perhaps this was coming. As we move closer to the conference tournament you have to be playing well on both ends. Hopefully this is a wake-up call that we needed."
The Spartans also contributed to their own demise by not protecting the ball. They committed 17 turnovers, which SDSU used to score 24 points.
"We really lacked urgency and pop in the second half," Craighead said. "We talked about having it, but just couldn't put it together on both ends of the court."
Harris finished the game with 19 points, seven rebounds and two assists. For the second straight games she hit a career best four three-pointers.
"I'm proud of Nyre," Craighead said. `Everything seemed to come through her. She fought and battled the entire game. We didn't get much out of our trail position and gave up too much on the other end, but Nyre played well the entire game."
With its second bye of conference play, San Jose State has Wednesday off, but returns to action on Saturday, February 27. The Spartans host Utah State in the Event Center. Tip off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Walt McPherson Court.
San Jose State vs San Diego State
02-20-16 2:00 pm PST at Steve Fisher Court (San Diego, Calif.)
At Steve Fisher Court (San Diego, Calif.)
SAN DIEGO STATE 87, SAN JOSE STATE 70
SAN JOSE STATE (11-15 (9-6 MW))
SAN DIEGO STATE (10-15 (5-9 MW))
HARVEY, Ahjalee 6-12 5-5 18; SMITH, Deidra 5-10 4-6 14; FORT, McKynzie 6-16
2-2 14; GREENHOUSE, Cheyenne 5-9 1-1 11; ELLISON, Kymberly 4-8 0-0 11;
BRANDON, Aleiah 2-3 2-2 6; THORDERSON, Lexy 2-3 0-0 6; BOSTICK, Ariell 2-5
0-0 4; GOMEZ, Geena 1-5 0-0 3; HERD, Kylie 0-1 0-0 0; BROWN, Alli 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals 33-72 14-16 87.
San Jose State................ 21 15 17 17 - 70
San Diego State............... 12 27 27 21 - 87
Ladd, Myzhanique 0-1), San Diego State 7-18 (ELLISON, Kymberly 3-7;
THORDERSON, Lexy 2-2; GOMEZ, Geena 1-3; HARVEY, Ahjalee 1-4; BRANDON, Aleiah
0-1; BOSTICK, Ariell 0-1). Fouled out--San Jose State-None, San Diego
State-None. Rebounds--San Jose State 38 (Byrd, Riana 8), San Diego State 40
BOSTICK, Ariell 5; HARVEY, Ahjalee 5). Total fouls--San Jose State 13, San
Diego State 11. Technical fouls--San Jose State-None, San Diego State-None.
Time of Game: 1:35