San Jose, Calif. - Despite one of their poorest shooting games of the year, the San Jose State women's basketball team swept its three-game home stand with a 51-50 over the New Mexico State Aggies on Walt McPherson Court.
"We won this one with defense," said head coach Tim LaKose. "We got the ball in good scoring position, but just couldn't get them to fall."
The Spartans (7-11, 4-3 WAC) hit just 21-of-72 field goal attempts (29.2 percent) and 7-of-14 from the free throw line (50 percent). It was the third worst shooting percentage this season and the first time the team has won a game without hitting at least 70 percent of their attempts from the line.
DOWN TO THE WIRE
San Jose State had a seven-point lead 50-43 with five minutes to play. After the Aggies' Shay Young hit a pair of free throws, San Jose State's Riana Byrd, who finished with 11 points and nine boards, made one-of-two from the line at the 3:42 mark. The Spartans had a 51-45 lead, but would not score again.
Sasha Weber made one-of two-free throws with one minute to play to cut the SJSU lead to 51-48. Then with 42 seconds left a Danesia Williamson bucket got NMSU to within one at 51-50.
New Mexico State (9-9, 3-5 WAC) had two chances in the last eight seconds to get the go-ahead bucket. The first was swatted away by Byrd and the second came off the iron into the lane where Ta'Rea Cunnigan grabbed it and was fouled with 1.7 seconds remaining.
After Cunnigan missed the front end of the one-and-one, NMSU's Stephanie Gilbreath grabbed the rebound. Her shot from three-quarter court would not have counted if it had gone in.
SHOOTING WOES STARTED EARLY
The teams opened the game a combined 0-for-9 from the field and didn't score the games first field goal, a 3-pointer from Gilbreath who led New Mexico State with 13 points and 15 rebounds, until more than three minutes had elapsed. The lead changed four times before NMSU built a six-point advantage with 1:59 to go in the first 20 minutes.
A Classye James free throw and Cunnigan layup cut the advantage to 22-19 and with three seconds to play, Riana Byrd hit a turnaround jumper in the paint to send the teams to the locker room with the Aggies holding a 22-21 lead. The teams shot a combined 16-for-69 (23 percent) in the half.
"You can't allow a poor shooting effort to get into your head or you are in real trouble," said Cunnigan who led all scorers with 17 points. "We weren't making our shots and had to rely on defensive pressure to make sure the game stayed close."
The Spartans found themselves down by four points, 41-37, with 10:34 to play, but a 13-to-2 run over the next five minutes, capped by a Jayzyl Tauala 3-pointer, turned the deficit into a 50-43 lead.
Byrd's free throw at the 3:42 mark were final points for San Jose State as they out lasted the Aggies down the stretch.
Thomas finished with 10 points and a career-high nine rebounds. Kelsie Rozendaal and Sasha Weber each had 10 points for New Mexico State. Rozendaal also grabbed 10 rebounds.
San Jose State heads out on the road next week traveling to Louisiana Tech and UT-Arlington.
Newspaper Box Score New Mexico State vs San Jose State 1/19/13 2:00 p.m.
At San Jose, Calif. (The Event Center) SAN JOSE STATE 51, NEW MEXICO STATE 50
NEW MEXICO STATE (9-9, 3-5 WAC) Gilbreath, Stefanie 5-19 1-3 13; Weber, Sasha 3-10 3-4 10; Rozendaal, Kelsie3-11 4-4 10; Williamson, Danesia 3-11 0-1 6; Young, Shay 2-5 2-2 6; Scott, Abby 1-6 0-0 3; Rutledge, Jasmine 1-4 0-0 2; Magazzeni, Malia 0-1 0-0 0; Rosen, Camila 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-68 10-14 50.
SAN JOSE STATE (7-11, 4-3 WAC) Cunnigan, Ta'Rea 7-23 3-6 17; Byrd, Riana 5-14 1-2 11; Thomas, Chereese 5-16 0-0 10; Tauala, Jayzyl 2-4 0-0 6; James, Classye 1-9 1-2 3; Hill, Alexis 1-2 0-0 2; Schill, Emily 0-4 2-4 2. Totals 21-72 7-14 51.
New Mexico State.............. 22 28 - 50 San Jose State................ 21 30 - 51
3-point goals--New Mexico State 4-23 (Gilbreath, Stefanie 2-11; Weber, Sasha 1-5; Scott, Abby 1-5; Williamson, Danesia 0-2), San Jose State 2-11 (Tauala, Jayzyl 2-2; Thomas, Chereese 0-3; James, Classye 0-3; Hill, Alexis 0-1; Cunnigan, Ta'Rea 0-2). Fouled out--New Mexico State-None, San Jose State-None. Rebounds--New Mexico State 62 (Gilbreath, Stefanie 15), San Jose State 43 (Byrd, Riana 9; Thomas, Chereese 9). Assists--New Mexico State 10 (Williamson, Danesia 4), San Jose State 9 (James, Classye 3; Cunnigan, Ta'Rea 3). Total fouls--New Mexico State 15, San Jose State 14. Technical fouls--New Mexico State-None, San Jose State-None. A-449