Las Vegas, Nev.--For the team that writes new records almost every time they hit the court, the San José State women's basketball team rewrote the record book again, adding an upset to the list. The eighth-seeded Spartans upset top-seed Colorado State, 64-55, in the first quarterfinal game of the day at the Mountain West Tournament at the Thomas & Center in Las Vegas.
"Coming into this tournament, we thought that we were one of the hottest and most dangerous teams in the league," said head coach Jamie Craighead. "I feel we can match up with everyone. This is a tremendous win for our program and our university in only our second year in the Mountain West."
Keeping with the theme of setting new records, the Spartans are the first eight-seed to upset at one-seed in the 16-year history of the Mountain West women's basketball tournament. The team is also the lowest seed to advance to the semifinals since Colorado State did it as a nine-seed in 2008.
San José State advances to the semifinals of the MW Tournament to face the fourth-seeded Boise State Broncos on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. The Spartans reach the semifinals for only the second time in school history - the other time was at the 2005 Western Athletic Conference Tournament in Reno, where the Spartans fell to Rice, 76-68.
After back-to-back 99-point performances, San José State's offense was held to just 64 points and 36.6 percent shooting fm the field and shot just 25.7 percent from the floor in the first half (9-of-35).
However, the Spartan defense came through, holding Colorado State to just 55 points and 29 percent shooting from the field (20-of-69). The Rams made just 6-of-33 shots in the first half (18.2 percent).
"I have never gone into a locker room at halftime and talked about how great our defense was playing before today," said Craighead. "It was such a battle for us defensively. We knew the shots would start the fall in the second half."
The Spartans grabbed the lead as Ta'Rea Cunnigan hit the first of her three three-pointers just 27 seconds into the game for the 3-0 lead, and the team never looked back. Colorado State tied the game twice at 14-14 and 16-16, but never took the lead. San José State was ahead for 34:07, and tied with the Rams for 5:53.
Cunnigan was one of three Spartans in double figures. She scored 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. With the win, Cunnigan gets to wear the Spartan uniform for another game and add to career games played record. She set the record on Wednesday, playing in her 121st game.
Aniya Baker led the Spartans with 18 points and was 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. She hit a key jumper with 2:58 left in the game as Colorado State had cut the Spartan lead to seven. Baker also grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists.
Becca Woodberry recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 11 points and a team-best 12 rebounds. Nyre Harris dished out a team-high six assists to go with three points and three rebounds. Jasmine Smith came off the bench and added seven points and nine rebounds.
"This was a team effort today," said Craighead. "The kids really stepped up - Aniya hit a big shot, and Nyre had a key steal at the end of the game.
San Jose State vs Colorado State
03/10/15 12:00 pm at Las Vegas, Nev. (Thomas & Mack Center)
At Las Vegas, Nev. (Thomas & Mack Center)
SAN JOSE STATE 64, COLORADO STATE 55
SAN JOSE STATE (15-16)
COLORADO STATE (23-7)
NYSTROM, Ellen 3-8 5-6 13; RYDER, Gritt 4-12 0-0 10; NEWTON, AJ 3-16 0-0 9;
MESTDAGH, Hanne 3-6 0-0 8; GUSTAVSSON, Elin 3-5 0-0 6; PATRICK, Jamie 2-11
0-0 5; WHARRY, Keyora 1-2 0-2 2; ARIAS, Alana 1-7 0-0 2; HESSELDAL, Emilie
0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-69 5-8 55.
San Jose State................ 25 39 - 64
Colorado State................ 18 37 - 55
Baird, Paris 0-1), Colorado State 10-30 (NEWTON, AJ 3-10; NYSTROM, Ellen
2-2; MESTDAGH, Hanne 2-5; RYDER, Gritt 2-5; PATRICK, Jamie 1-7; HESSELDAL,
Emilie 0-1). Fouled out--San Jose State-None, Colorado State-None.
Rebounds--San Jose State 50 (Woodberry, Rebecca 12), Colorado State 45
(NYSTROM, Ellen 20). Assists--San Jose State 12 (Harris, Nyre 6), Colorado
State 13 (RYDER, Gritt 6). Total fouls--San Jose State 10, Colorado State
13. Technical fouls--San Jose State-None, Colorado State-None.
2015 Mountain West Women's Championships Quarterfinals
Winner advances to Wednesday's semifinals at 6 pm