San Jose, Calif. – The San Jose State women’s basketball team set The Event Center record for points scored by a women’s team with their 98-96 win over the Texas State Bobcats.
The Spartans (4-8, 1-0 WAC) snap a season-long five-game skid and grab a win in their Western Athletic Conference opener for the second year in a row. Texas State (6-5, 0-1 WAC), the highest scoring team in the WAC at 75.5 points, scored a season high in the loss.
“Turnovers, getting to the line and knocking down free throws, that was the big difference tonight,” said head coach Tim La Kose. “We shot 87 percent from the line and were plus-seven on turnovers.”
San Jose State forced 24 Bobcat turnovers while committing 17, which they turned into six-point advantage.
The Spartans went to the line a season-high 31 times knocking down 27 attempts. Ta’Rea Cunnigan tied The Event Center record with 13 makes among her 14 tries and finished with a career-high 30 points.
She was one of five Spartans in double figures. Emily Schill had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Riana Byrd picked 16, Chereese Thomas added 12 and Jayzyl Tauala had her best shooting day of the year, hitting 5-of-8 for a career best 14 points.
“We got contributions from everybody and that’s what we need tonight,” said La Kose. “We knew they like to play up tempo. We’re in good shape. We have no problem playing at that level and we proved it to ourselves against a good scoring team.”
San Jose State came out and quickly on both ends of the floor. They held the Bobcats without a bucked for more than five minutes. At the first media timeout they had an 11-4 lead, which they built into a 27-12 advantage after an Alexis Hill jumper with 9:59 to go before the half.
Ashley Ezeh, who finished with 26 points and a record for a visiting player 17 rebounds, keyed an 18-to-3 Texas State rally. By the 6:04 mark the game was tied at 30-30.
San Jose State would finish the half with a 13-to-6 spurt and take a 43-36 advantage into the locker room.
Back to back 3-pointers by Classye James gave the Spartans a 12-point, 52-40 lead early in the second half. Texas State slowly trimmed the lead and by the 9:26 mark a Diamond Ford 3-pointer cut the San Jose State advantage to 69-67.
Ford would sink five the Bobcats next seven buckets including three more 3-pointers. Her last trey, with 4:23 to play, game Texas State an 86-81 lead.
In the last four minutes San Jose State was 9-of-10 from the line with Thomas nailing all four of her attempts including two with nine seconds to play which proved to be the difference.
“When I got to the line, I visualized my practice sessions with Coach (Brannon) Hays,” said Thomas. “I blocked out the game and the distractions and just relaxed and hit them like I do every day.”
Ford finished with 40 points, The Event Center record for a visiting player. Along with Ezeh, they scored 66 of Texas State’s 96 points.
“(Ford) hit big shot after big shot, even when we played good defense on her,” said La Kose. She and Ezeh are their two big scorers and they showed it tonight, but we did a pretty good job on the rest of their team. Their best player scored 40, but we go the win and that is what is most important.”
“Our preseason didn’t go as well as we had wanted,” said Cunnigan after the win. “So coming out here and getting our conference opener is big. We played well as a team. We’ve shown that we have a lot of weapons and when we are all on the same page, you can’t just key on one person. We can hurt you in a lot of ways.”
The Spartans next action is on Monday, December 31 when they host the UTSA Roadrunners. Tipoff for the game is set for 4:00 p.m. in The Event Center.
Texas State vs San Jose State 12/29/12 2:00 p.m. at San Jose, Calif. (The Event Center) At San Jose, Calif. (The Event Center) SAN JOSE STATE 98, TEXAS STATE 96
TEXAS STATE (6-5, 0-1 WAC) Ford, Diamond 12-25 10-10 40; Ezeh, Ashley 10-22 6-6 26; Anderson, Ayriel 5-6 2-2 15; Baugus, Jasmine 4-11 0-2 9; Peoples, Erin 1-3 1-2 3; McGilbra, Taylor 1-2 0-0 2; Martin, Kaylan 0-5 1-2 1; Burns, Raven 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 33-75 20-24 96.
SAN JOSE STATE (4-8, 1-0 WAC) Cunnigan, Ta'Rea 8-16 13-14 30; Schill, Emily 7-13 3-3 17; Byrd, Riana 6-11 4-5 16; Tauala, Jayzyl 5-8 2-2 14; Thomas, Chereese 4-10 4-4 12; James, Classye 2-8 1-3 7; Hill, Alexis 1-8 0-0 2. Totals 33-74 27-31 98. Texas State................... 36 60 - 96 San Jose State................ 43 55 - 98
3-point goals--Texas State 10-25 (Ford, Diamond 6-12; Anderson, Ayriel 3-4; Baugus, Jasmine 1-1; McGilbra, Taylor 0-1; Martin, Kaylan 0-5; Burns, Raven 0-1; Peoples, Erin 0-1), San Jose State 5-14 (James, Classye 2-3; Tauala, Jayzyl 2-5; Cunnigan, Ta'Rea 1-2; Thomas, Chereese 0-1; Hill, Alexis 0-3). Fouled out--Texas State-None, San Jose State-None. Rebounds--Texas State 43 (Ezeh, Ashley 17), San Jose State 40 (Schill, Emily 10). Assists--Texas State 24 (McGilbra, Taylor 9), San Jose State 23 (Cunnigan, Ta'Rea 6). Total fouls--Texas State 22, San Jose State 19. Technical fouls--Texas State-None, San Jose State-None. A-252