San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Sara Plavljanin hit a 3-pointer with 2:06 to play to give San Jose State a 46-43 lead over the American University, but the Spartans (0-5) couldn't stop the Eagles (5-2) on their last three possessions and fell 49-46 on Saturday night in the Cal Poly Thanksgiving Invitational.
After shooting just 19 percent in the first half and trailing 22-11 at the break, the San Jose State came out in the second 20minutes and slowly chipped away at the lead.
Brittany Johnson led the comeback by sinking 20 of her game and career-high 27 points in the second half. She shot 11-of-16 from the floor and hit her first two 3-pointer of the year. The 11 buckets are the most by a Spartans since Natalie White hit 11 against Oregon in 2008.
"We played well in the second half, but we need to put together two halves in order to win," head coach Tim La Kose said.
San Jose State trailed by as much as 12 points, 35-23 with 13:10 to play, but fought back to take a two-point lead, 43-41, on a Plavljanin 3-pointer with 3:05 to play. After an American bucket tied the game at 43-43 and Plavljanin hit her next three to give the Spartans a 46-43 lead, American got a layup and hit four free throws to take a 49-46 lead.
San Jose State had one last shot. Plavljanin got a clear look as the clock ran out, but her 27-footer rimmed out sending the Spartans to their fifth loss of the season.
San Jose State out rebounded American 43-to-32 including 16-to-10 on the offensive glass which they used in a 19-to-6 advantage in second-chance points, but the Spartans committed 28 turnovers that ultimately led to 16 American University points.
Myesha Broaden had her second double-digit rebounding effort, 11 boards, this season and Johnson led the Spartans in scoring for the fifth time in as many outings. Rachel Finnegan grabbed seven boards and Johnson had six.
American was led by Alexis Dobbs' 11 points and Stephanie Anya's 10.
San Jose State wraps up play in the Cal Poly Thanksgiving Invitational on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. when they face the host Mustangs in Mott Gym.